How to Sponsor Your Muslim Spouse for a Green Card in the United States - Adjustment of Status Process Explained
If you are a Muslim living in the USA and looking to sponsor your spouse for a green card who is currently in the United States, you may be facing some unique challenges in the immigration process. As an immigration law firm with extensive experience working with clients from Muslim / Islamic countries and communities, we understand the specific needs and concerns of our Muslim clients. In this article, we will guide you through the process of sponsoring your Muslim spouse for a green card in the USA and provide tips and insights to help you navigate the process with confidence.
Step 1: Establishing Eligibility to Sponsor Your Spouse
The first step in sponsoring your Muslim spouse for a green card is establishing that you are eligible. You must be a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident (LPR) to sponsor your spouse. It is also important to establish that your spouse is eligible to receive a green card. Your spouse must not be inadmissible to the USA for any reason to be eligible. This may include a criminal history, a history of immigration violations, or certain health issues. Additionally, your spouse must not have violated any immigration laws if they have ever been in the United States. Lastly, you must show that your marriage relationship is genuine and not a relationship only to gain immigration benefits. You can show your genuine marital relationship through evidence called "bona fide marriage evidence," which includes your marriage certificate, photographs together (pictures of the happy couple and family members are an extra plus), call logs, samples of chats, joint accounts such as bank and credit cards, joint assets such as lease agreement, cars, etc.
Step 2: Filing the I-130 Petition and I-485 Application
Once you have established that you can sponsor your Muslim spouse for a green card, the next step is to file the I-130 petition. This petition shows the relationship between you and your spouse and serves as the basis for your spouse's green card application. When filing the I-130 petition, it is essential to be accurate and complete in your documentation. Any errors or omissions can cause delays in the immigration process or even result in your petition being denied. If you are a U.S. citizen, you can file the I-130 sponsorship application with your spouse's Adjustment of Status application, Form I-485. The process of filing these two applications together is called a "One-Step" application. If you are a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR), you have to check the Visa Reciprocity Schedule to ensure that the visa category for LPR spouses is current; the category is called F2A. If it is current, you can also file a "One-Step" application like a U.S. Citizen sponsor. If the F2A visa category is not current, you must file an I-130 alone and wait until you receive approval to file your spouse's adjustment of status application (Form I-485).
Step 3: Waiting for USCIS Interview Notification or Approval
Once you have filed the I-130 petition and I-485 form, you must wait for them to be processed and to be notified about the next step. The processing time for the I-130 petition is different for U.S. citizen sponsors and LPR spouse sponsors. There are other factors that affect processing time such as what service center is processing your case. Previously, USCIS required an interview for all marriage green card sponsorship applications. However, USCIS announced recently that it would waive the interview requirement for many marriage green card sponsorship cases if there are no issues regarding the application and the marriage. While you wait to be notified regarding an interview or approval, it is essential to be patient and to prepare for the next steps in the immigration process. You may want to work with an immigration attorney to ensure you are ready for any potential issues during the application process.
Step 4: Conditional Green Card and Removal of Conditions
If you receive an approval on your marriage green card sponsorship application and you have been married for less than two years when you are granted a green card, you will receive a conditional green card. This means that your green card is valid for two years and is subject to certain conditions. To remove these conditions and obtain a permanent green card, you must file a petition called Form I-751. The petition to remove conditions requires additional documentation to establish that your marriage is still ongoing and genuine and that you have been living together as a married couple. You may also need to attend an interview with an immigration officer.
Step 5: Becoming a U.S. Citizen
Once you have obtained a green card, you will become eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship after meeting certain conditions. For example, you must have been a lawful permanent resident for at least five years (or three years if you are married to a U.S. citizen). The other major requirements are your proof of physical presence, continuous residence, and no abandonment of your legal permanent residency. It is best to work with an attorney to ensure that you have met all the requirements for your citizenship application and that there are no red flags in your file that may cause delays or findings of abandonment of your legal permanent residence.
Tips for Sponsoring Your Muslim Spouse for a Green Card
Sponsoring your Muslim spouse for a green card can be complex and challenging, but some tips and insights can help you navigate the process confidently.
Tip #1: It is important to establish a strong and genuine relationship with your spouse. This will be critical in providing the evidence you need to sponsor your spouse for a green card successfully.
Tip #2: It is essential to be patient and persistent. The immigration process can be long and frustrating, but with the proper guidance and support, you can successfully sponsor your Muslim spouse for a green card in the USA.
Tip #3: It is crucial to work with an experienced immigration attorney who can guide you through the process and help you avoid any potential pitfalls. An immigration attorney can also help you understand your rights and options if you encounter any discrimination or bias during the immigration process.
Sponsoring your Muslim spouse for a green card in the USA can be a challenging process, but with the proper guidance and support, it is possible to navigate the immigration system with confidence. As an immigration law firm with extensive experience working with clients from Islamic countries and communities, we understand the specific needs and challenges facing Muslim immigrants. If you are considering sponsoring your Muslim spouse for a green card, we encourage you to contact our firm to learn more about how we can assist you in the immigration process.
--Najmeh Mahmoudjafari, Esq.
Najmeh is the Founder and Lead Immigration Attorney at ImmigraTrust Law (www.ImmigraTrust.com), an immigration law practice in Orange County, California, representing individual and corporate clients in all 50 U.S. States and internationally. Najmeh can be reached at Najmeh@ImmigraTrust.com.
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DISCLAIMER: This article is for general information purposes only. It is not intended and does not constitute legal advice. This article does not create an attorney/client relationship and does not provide an attorney/client privilege. For legal advice about your specific case, please contact an attorney.
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