Can you sponsor your undocumented spouse for a green card?
With the new administration in the White House, there has been a great deal of discussion about new paths to citizenship. But what if you are in the United States lawfully, and you are wed to an undocumented, noncitizen spouse? Are there roads available to an immigrant visa, otherwise known as a green card?
Overcoming immigration restrictions will depend both on the current situations of the U.S. citizen or permanent resident and that of their husband or wife.
U.S. citizen with a spouse who overstayed their visa
When a United States citizen (USC) has married someone who was once in the country legally but overstayed their visa, their spouse may still be able to acquire a green card from the USCIS. Individuals who entered the United States validly, and then married a USC, can become the beneficiary of a marriage-based green card.
In such cases, a USC spouse can sponsor their husband or wife in a petition for lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. Although the couple could fill out the Form I-130 on their own, a skilled green card lawyer can compile the submission with the latest immigration updates in mind.
U.S. citizen sponsor of a spouse who entered America unlawfully
If a United States citizen marries someone who came to America out of necessity, but without permission, they may still be able to sponsor them for a green card. Even so, the length of time that they have spent in the U.S. can make a difference.
Spouses who entered the United States and stayed for less than 180 days can exit the country and then apply for a green card through a U.S. consular office. Alternatively, those who remained longer in America will need to leave the country and could be barred for 3 to 10 years.
Nonetheless, foreign nationals could update their immigration status via an approved Form I-130 and a provisional waiver, if they meet certain criteria. Skilled immigration lawyers can help such individuals understand whether they might meet these standards.
Lawful permanent residents who want to sponsor their undocumented spouse for a green card
Husbands or wives who hold lawful permanent resident status in the United States may wonder whether the latest immigration news includes them among those eligible to sponsor an undocumented spouse for a green card. There is a nice surprise for LPR spouses.
The current immigration policies allow for green card holders to sponsor their undocumented spouses in ways similar to that of U.S. citizens. However, sometimes the process takes longer and involves more steps. Therefore, it can be worth it to discuss the process with a knowledgeable immigration professional who has stayed abreast of the immigration news today, so that those with LPR status can obtain solid information about sponsoring their spouses.