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Understanding Adjustment of
Status for Spouses of US Citizens

People looking at paperwork at desk with gavel and scales

Foreign nationals who get married to U.S. citizens may qualify to get a green card and become permanent residents through the process known as “adjustment of status.” There are many procedural and eligibility requirements that might get in the way when people go through adjustment of status for the spouse of U.S. citizens.

Filing an application for adjustment of status to obtain a marriage-based green card can be complicated, especially if you are not familiar with the process. For this reason, it’s important to seek legal counsel to learn more about the adjustment of status through marriage.

As an immigration attorney at Military Law Group, I guide foreign nationals, U.S. citizens, and lawful permanent residents through the adjustment of status process in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and neighboring areas. My team and I proudly serve the immigration needs of clients throughout the Tulsa metro area.

Adjustment of Status for Spouse of U.S. Citizen

Whether you are a U.S. citizen who has a foreign spouse or a foreign national who got married to a U.S. citizen, you’ve probably heard about adjustment of status for the spouse of a U.S. citizen. If you are planning to file an application for adjustment of status, it is critical that you fully understand the eligibility requirements and procedural processes involved.

Immigration law in the United States permits U.S. citizens to apply for permanent resident status on behalf of their spouses and other family members, including children under the age of 21 (unmarried), children aged 21 and older (if married), as well as parents and siblings (if the applicant is at least 21 years of age). 

When applying on behalf of immediate family members (spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21, and parents), there are no quotas or caps. Other family members are subject to quotas, which may result in long wait times. 

Who Is Eligible to Adjust Status
for the Spouse of a U.S. Citizen?

As a U.S. citizen, you can file for adjustment of status on behalf of your spouse, who is considered an immediate relative. A foreign national who is married to a U.S. citizen is eligible for a green card as soon as the adjustment of status process is complete. Getting through the application process can be difficult, though, due to many procedural and eligibility requirements.

One of the requirements to be eligible for adjustment of status through marriage to a U.S. citizen is that the marriage must be legally valid in the state where the two individuals got married. For example, marriage between first cousins and marriage between people closely related by blood is illegal in many states across the country.

Another requirement for getting a marriage-based green card is that the marriage between a U.S. citizen and a foreign national must be “bona fide.” In other words, spouses may need to prove that they entered the marriage in good faith and that their marriage is not just a sham to get a green card. 

Even if eligibility requirements are not met, there may be other options to obtain permanent resident status. Schedule a consultation with an immigration attorney in Oklahoma to learn more about your adjustment of status options.

The Process of Adjusting Status Through Marriage

The adjustment of status process involves a significant amount of paperwork, forms, and documents. The documentation will need to be submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) so that the federal immigration agency can confirm that the marriage is bona fide and that the parties meet eligibility requirements for adjusting status.

When filing an initial application for adjustment of status, the petitioner will need to fill out and submit two forms: Form I-130 and Form I-485. Other forms may need to be submitted depending on your situation. Once the application for adjustment of status is filed and the application is pending, the foreign national spouse will not be able to leave the United States unless they obtain advance parole to travel abroad.

Going through the adjustment of status process may involve several obstacles. That is why you need to know what to expect every step of the way when applying for a green card through marriage.

Adjustment of Status Interview

After applying for adjustment of status through marriage, USCIS will schedule an interview, which is arguably one of the most complicated and critical parts of the adjustment of status process.

When the application is pending, the applicant will receive an interview notice from USCIS, which will include details about the upcoming interview. USCIS conducts the adjustment of status interview for two purposes:

  1. It is a way for USCIS to confirm that the marriage is “bona fide” and it was not pursued merely for the purpose of obtaining a green card; and

  2. An interview is necessary to confirm that the foreign national spouse’s criminal background does not include records that would make them ineligible for a green card.

After the interview, the U.S. citizen and their foreign national spouse will have to wait for the approval notice. Your future depends on how the adjustment of status interview goes, which is why it is highly advisable to hire an experienced immigration attorney to prepare you for the interview.

Adjustment of Status Attorneys in Tulsa, Oklahoma

As an adjustment of status attorney at Military Law Group, it is my job to help U.S. citizens and their foreign national spouses navigate the immigration process, identify potential issues, and ensure that all forms are filed correctly to seek the desired outcome within the bounds of the law. I handle adjustment of status and other immigration-related matters in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and surrounding areas. Get a case evaluation to discuss the specifics of your situation today.