Those who are current U.S. citizens or have a Green Card can petition the government for a Green Card for their spouse. The process is not always easy, as highlighted by story after story of couples who attempt to navigate the system every year. These couples face administrative hurdles and long wait times, often only to find out the application was missing documents or otherwise incomplete.
You can take steps to help move the process along more efficiently. Some examples include the following.
#1: Get organized.
Get an idea of what you need before you begin the application process. The government requires various forms, such as a Petition for Alien Relative as well as additional documentation to establish citizenship status. Those who are U.S. citizens requesting their spouse get a Green Card can show their citizenship status with a copy of a passport, birth certificate, naturalization certificate, or certificate of citizenship. Green Card holders can provide a copy of their Green Card or copy of a foreign passport with a stamp that shows evidence of permanent residence.
Additional supplemental information is also needed to help establish that the marriage is valid and that you and your spouse intend to have a life together.
#2: Know your options.
It is often possible to bring your spouse to the U.S. while awaiting residency approval. Citizens, for example, may be able to file a Petition for Alien Fiancé for a K-3 visa.
It is also important to note that a denial is not the end of the process. Applicants can appeal a denial. The government should include the information for this process within the denial letter. If you do receive a denial, hang on to this letter to help you decide your next step.
#3: Get help.
The immigration system is a monster to navigate, but thankfully you do not need to do it alone. You can seek legal counsel to help guide you through the process and advocate for your interests, better ensuring you have everything in order when your application finally makes it into the right hands for review.