Every year, many couples seek to marry and start their lives together in the United States. In some cases, one member of a couple is a United States citizen or permanent resident while the other is a foreign national. For these couples, obtaining a green card (permanent residency) through an adjustment of status through marriage may be an option.
Adjustment of status through marriage to a U.S. citizen allows a foreign national to apply for permanent residency in the U.S. on the basis of the marriage. It also allows the foreign partner to be classified as an immediate relative for U.S. immigration purposes. The benefit of this classification is that the foreign partner is no longer subject to preference categories for immigration purposes, which may streamline and speed up the immigration process.
In order for a foreign national to apply for a green card based on his or her marriage to a U.S. citizen, he or she must:
- be physically present in the United States,
- have entered the United States lawfully, after an inspection and admission by a U.S. immigration official, and
- be admissible to the United States, with no criminal or immigration history that would bar the person from being admitted.
A foreign partner who does not meet these three criteria may be able to apply for lawful permanent resident status via Consular Processing. Consular processing is an alternate process for an individual outside the United States (or who is in the United States but is ineligible to adjust status) to obtain a visa abroad and enter the United States as a permanent resident).
At Peek & Toland, LLP, our experienced Austin immigration attorneys can help you build or reunite your family in the United States. Contact us today at (512) 474-4445 for a free and confidential consultation.