We frequently get requests from couples where one is a Foreign Student marrying or married to a Lawful Permanent Resident of the USA (Green Card Holder). Often to the potential client’s great surprise, the US doesn’t have nearly as attractive a process for these immigrants, as is available for the spouse of a US Citizen.
In cases where the Green Card Holder is eligible or nearly eligible to Naturalize, the solution is for the resident, to Naturalize as soon as possible, so that Adjustment of Status for the spouse of a US Citizen becomes an a readily available option.
If the foreign spouse’s authorized stay as a student will end too long before their Lawful Permanent Resident Spouse with a green card, is able to become a US Citizen through Naturalization, then the remaining available option is for Green Card Holder to start an immigrant spouse visa process for their foreign spouse, which can take several years to complete, depending on the foreigner’s home country.
These cases can be upgraded to “immigrant spouse of US Citizen“, when and if the green card holder Naturalizes more than a few months before the immigrant visa for spouse of a green card holder becomes available.
Lawful Permanent Residents often think the benefits of Naturalization are limited to being able to vote, and avoiding the possibility of deportation for criminal activity, but for those green card holders marrying foreigners, Naturalization offers some significant benefits not otherwise applicable.