How to Obtain a Green Card as the Spouse of a U.S Citizen or Permanent Resident

Immigration officials scrutinize spouse relationships more than other visa applications due to high visa fraud rates. They want reassurance that the marriage is legitimate and the foreign spouse is obtaining a green card based on a genuine relationship.

Spouse Visa (IR1/CR1 Visa) Explained

A “spouse visa” refers to an immigrant visa (green card) issued by the U.S. government to foreign national spouses of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. Common types include IR1, F2A, and CR1. IR1 spouses receive a permanent resident card, valid for 10 years, while F2A spouses receive a conditional green card valid for two years. CR1 spouses must remove residence conditions within 90 days to maintain status. Many spouse visa beneficiaries are approved as conditional residents.

Eligibility to File a Visa Petition for a Spouse 

A U.S. citizen or permanent resident must file a petition to establish a qualifying relationship with a foreign national spouse. The petition, which includes Form I-130 and Form I-130A, requests the U.S. government to make a visa available to the foreign national spouse. Same-sex marriages and transgender marriages are treated as opposite-sex marriages.

Filing Your Spouse’s Petition

The I-130 petition package is crucial for a spouse visa application, requiring a complete supporting document package. The package includes a USCIS filing fee, a cover letter, a Form I-130 petition for an alien relative, Form I-130A Supplemental Information for the beneficiary spouse, proof of status, a marriage certificate, proof of previous marriages terminated, passport photos, and evidence of a bona fide marriage. If any information is missing, USCIS may send a Request for Evidence (RFE), which may delay the case and increase the approval time. The package should include a USCIS filing fee, a cover letter, a Form I-130 petition for the alien relative, and passport photos. Evidence of a bona fide marriage is also necessary, including shared financials, assets, insurance, tax filings, and birth certificates.

Your Spouse’s Path to a Green Card

The I-130 petition package is approved by USCIS, which then moves to the U.S. embassy or consulate for visa application and interview, or may be eligible for status adjustment.

𝐶𝑜𝑛𝑠𝑢𝑙𝑎𝑟 𝑃𝑟𝑜𝑐𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑖𝑛𝑔

Family-based green card applications typically require consular processing, with applicants located abroad and interviews at a U.S. embassy or consulate. The process includes filing an I-130 petition, obtaining approval, submitting supporting documents, applying for an immigrant visa, completing a medical exam, and receiving the visa.

𝐴𝑑𝑗𝑢𝑠𝑡𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑜𝑓 𝑆𝑡𝑎𝑡𝑢𝑠

Foreign national spouses of U.S. citizens can adjust their status to permanent residents, applying for a green card without traveling abroad. Eligibility requires physical presence in the U.S. through lawful entry and an immigrant visa immediately available. There is no annual limit on immigrant visas issued to U.S. citizens, but a wait period may occur for permanent residents. The adjustment of status package includes Forms I-130, I-130A, and I-485.

Forms & Expenses for Spousal Immigration

The cost considerations for a spouse visa through consular processing include medical exams, photo submission, postage, and transportation fees. The cost of the exam varies by country, doctor, and vaccinations. There is no fee for the form, but the doctor charges a fee. Couples considering consular processing or adjustment of status should consider all aspects.


After USCIS approves an immigrant visa petition, the foreign national applies for a spouse visa. Immigration officials review the immigrant’s background, excluding those with criminal or terrorist histories, drug abuse, or infectious medical problems.

Processing Time to Get a Spouse Visa

The I-130 petition requests a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to grant a visa to a foreign spouse. Spouses of U.S. citizens are immediate relatives, while spouses of permanent residents are family preference immigrants. Processing times vary by relationship type, workload, and petition preparation.

Getting a Visa Before Mariage

For unmarried couples, a fiancé of U.S. citizen can obtain a K-1 visa for marriage, marry a U.S. citizen within 90 days, and adjust their status to permanent resident.

Removing Conditions from a Spouse’s Conditional Green Card

Immigration issues CR1 visas for less than two years married immigrants. 90 days before expiry, immigrants must remove residence conditions, requiring understanding and supporting documents for a manageable process.


    Pacific Immigration
    VAT: VS123456789
    CIF: BL1247890


    7707 West Lane Dr., #D 2 Stockton, CA 95210

    Get in Touch

    (209) 438-2222

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *