A U.S. citizen and a U.S. permanent resident may sponsor their spouse. However, due to the fact that a U.S. citizen and a U.S. permanent resident do not have the exact same privileges, please note that the process is much quicker for U.S. citizen to sponsor his/her spouse than it is for a U.S. permanent resident. The below information is concentrated on the process for a U.S. citizen that wishes to sponsor his/her spouse.
Congress, by conferring permanent residence eligibility upon certain family-based groups, has properly emphasized the importance of family unification in American immigration law. The information below is concentrated on the spousal sponsorship option and should give the reader a general perspective of this category. The following is a succinct description of the group that is entitled for permanent residency under this designation:
Immediate Relatives of United States Citizens - Illustrated by the fact that no annual limit has been placed on the number of these individuals who can become lawful permanent residents each year, this group is "preferred" above all others.
- Spouses - It is important to understand that a "sham" marriage to a U.S. citizen, meaning one entered into for the purpose of facilitating immigration, does not qualify for immigration benefits. While only the couple will know the true intent behind the marriage, certain situations are sure to arouse the suspicion of USCIS. Items tending to prove the existence of a bona fide marriage are joint property ownership, sharing a residence, commingling of finances, children born of the marriage, and so on.
- A foreign individual should not enter the U.S. on a tourist visa with intent to marry a U.S. citizen. This is considered fraud. However, if you came intending to return home and later, in a spontaneous moment, married, then this can be acceptable.
- USCIS immigration authorities take a very traditional view of marriage, therefore be prepared to provide and suffice USCIS with the necessary documents for them to render a favorable decision. Do not assume that, because a foreign individual married an American citizen he/she will automatically be granted the permanent resident status. Also note that, if he/she has been married for less than 2 years upon applying for his/her permanent resident status, the status, once granted, will be subject to a two-year condition. Two years after receiving the approval, it is the couple's responsibility to have this condition removed. Certain conditions must be fulfilled in order for USCIS to remove the condition. (Additional paperwork to complete for this step).
- Please note that once USCIS has completed the review of the application, both the sponsor and the sponsored will be called for an interview.
People generally assume that it is easy to submit this type of application and that they do not need a professional to help them. However, any kind of mistake in completing the forms and/or submitting the appropriate documents may cause major prejudices and delays to the application.