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I am a United States Citizen and I am married to a foreign national. I want to bring my spouse and children to the United States. Can I do this? How long will this take? what steps do I need to take?

My spouse is outside the United States? Can I bring then to the United States and what steps would I need to take to bring them to the United States?

Yes, a spouse of a United States Citizen is an immediate relative, and you can petition for your spouse to enter and reside in the United States. If your spouse is outside the United States, you would need to follow a two step process. The first steps involves filing a alien relative petition (I130). This petition establishes your relationship with your spouse. Once approved, your spouse would have to go through step two (consular processing). This step involves your spouse attending an interview at the US consulate in their native country along with providing supporting documents. If approved, your spouse will receive a 6 month visa to enter the Untied States on an immigrant visa. Once your spouse enters the United States on this visa, he/she will soon thereafter receive their green card (permanent resident card). This card with authorize them to work and live in the United States. Processing times vary for completing the two step process. On the average, it can take anywhere from 12-16 months to complete the two step process mentioned above. (This is just an estimated time and can change.)

Also, if you are sponsoring minor children or unmarried children under the age of 21 years, they too would be considered as immediate relatives and would be eligible for the two step process mentioned above. However, if your children were over the age of 21 years, then they would not be considered immediate relatives. You could still proceed with the two step process but they would need to wait until a immigrant visa was available to them. The availability of an immigrant visa for those who are not considered immediate relatives varies on various factors

My foreign national spouse is residing within the United States. Can I petition for them to get their green card while they reside in the United States?

Yes, you MAY be able to petition for your foreign national spouse (who resides within the United States)for adjustment of status. This process is informally called the one step process. Here the petitioner files the I130 (relative alien petition)and I1485 (adjustment of status petition) at the same time.The ability to do so depends on the immigration status if your spouse and also on the type of visa they hold to currently reside in within the United States. Further your ability to petition for them is also based on when and where you got married. Every case is different and you should talk to an immigration attorney. Please feel free to contact me at 630-392-8101 to set up a consultation.


The information provided is of a general nature. No attorney-client relationship has been formed. If you need answers to your specific situation, please contact an immigration attorney.

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