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Marriage-Based  Visas for Spouses of U.S. citizens and U.S Lawful Permanent Residents

Spouses of a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident are eligible to obtain a U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident Status (so called Green Card) if their marriage is bona fide.

 The U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanents residents have two options to reunite with their spouses: through Consular processing of the approved I-130 petition via the U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad or by filing an Application for Adjustment of Status if the foreign spouse is residing in the U.S. 

I-130 Petitions for Certain Family Members

Certain family members of United States Citizens and Permanent Residents are eligible to immigrate to the United States based on the familial relationship with the Petitioner.  This petition must be filed by a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident, and is the first step in the family-based immigration process.

The following family members of the U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent residence are eligible to immigrate:

  •  Spouses, children (under age of 21), and parents of U.S. citizens are considered immediate relatives and their visas are immediately available.

  • Adult, unmarried children of U.S. citizens.

  • Adult, married children of U.S. citizens.

  • Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens.

  • Spouses and unmarried children of U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents

K  Fiancee / Spouse  Visas

The K-1 fiance(e) visa is for the foreign-citizen fiance(e) of a U.S. citizen. The K-1 visa allows the fiance(e) to enter the United States in order to marry his or her U.S. citizen fiancee. The foreign-citizen is eligible for adjustment of status to a permanent resident (Green Card holder) if the couple marries in the U.S. within 90 days of entry of the foreign-citizen to the U.S.

A K-1 visa requires a showing that: There is a fiance(e) relationship between the petitioner and beneficiary, as defined in immigration law; Both parties are free to marry; The petitioner meets certain income requirements; Both parties have met in person within the 2 years immediately preceding the filing of the petition, unless meeting would violate long-established customs, or the required meeting would be contrary to the law of the foreign-citizen's country of residence or nationality.

Consular Processing of Immigrant Visas (Family and Diversity Visas)

Consular processing of an immigrant visa is available for foreign citizens who are eligible to immigrate to the United States based on family, employment, or other grounds. The application process for an immigrant visa generally includes an interview, during which consular officers determine whether the applicant is eligible for an immigrant visa. If the applicant is found to be eligible, the consular officer will issue an immigrant visa. 


LGBTQ-Related Immigration Benefits

Same-sex couples were denied immigration benefits based on marriage until 2013, when the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in the case of United States v. Windsor, 133 S.Ct. 2675 (2013). According to that decision the marriage-based immigration benefits are currently available for same-sex couples.  For example, same-sex couples are able to petition for their partners to obtain a Lawful Permanent resident status.

Moreover,  VAWA’s definition of spouse is expanded to cover LGBTQ couples. Abused spouses of U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents are now eligible to file a self-petition for lawful permanent resident status if they have been subjected to battery or extreme cruelty by their LGBTQ partner. 

Immigration Benefits for Victims of Spousal Abuse (VAWA)

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is a landmark federal law that seeks to end violence against women in the United States. Even though the law has the word “women” in the title, abused men or people of any gender can file a VAWA self-petition as long as they meet the criteria. 

Our office provides legal services for victims of spousal abuse. Certain victims of domestic violence are eligible to self-petition for lawful permanent resident status if she/he can demonstrate that their marriage with the abuser was entered in good faith, that he/she is a person of good moral character, and that he/she has been subjected to battery or extreme cruelty by the abuser. If the VAWA self-petition is approved, the abused spouse will be eligible to obtain a lawful permanent resident status in the U.S.

If the abused spouse is not eligible to self-petition, he or she may still be eligible for a nonimmigrant visa known as a U visa. To be eligible for a U visa, the abused spouse must demonstrate that he or she has been the victim of certain specified crimes, including domestic violence, and that he or she has assisted law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime. If the U visa is approved, the abused spouse will be granted nonimmigrant status for a period of four years, after which he or she may apply for lawful permanent resident status.

Waivers of Grounds of Inadmissibility

The Immigration and Nationality Act sets forth grounds for inadmissibility. The general categories of inadmissibility include health, criminal activity, national security, public charge, lack of labor certification (if required), fraud and misrepresentation, prior removals, unlawful presence in the United States, and several miscellaneous categories. For certain grounds of inadmissibility, it may be possible for a person to obtain a waiver of that inadmissibility. In some cases, no waiver is required to overcome the inadmissibility grounds because the inadmissibility does not apply if the individual meets the exception. Examples include exceptions for aliens who have been battered, abused or subjected to extreme cruelty, who are victims of severe forms of trafficking, and who are minors.


 Over 15 Years of Experience in the Field

Contact us for help today

If you are seeking legal assistance with your immigration status, please contact our office to schedule a consultation. Kristina Ghazaryan can help you navigate the complex legal process and fight for your rights.

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