While in the United States, many aliens wish to bring their alien spouses abroad to the United States to live together. Aliens of both lawful and unlawful status get married in the United States with U.S. citizens, permanent residents, aliens with valid non-immigration status, or aliens out of status. In any case involving marriage, concern may arise surrounding immigration benefits or statuses for those couples who wish to stay together in the United States.
A bona fide marriage with a U.S. citizen is the easiest way to obtain permanent residency in the U.S. While a step towards this process is as easy as filing an immediate relative petition, one must be aware that the foreign national spouse must have entered the U.S. legally or must have been “grandfathered” by way of an application / petition filed prior to April 30, 2001. If this situation applies to you, you could also be required to submit proof of physical presence in the U.S. covering a certain time period.
Generally speaking, a U.S. citizen is able to confer immigration benefits to his or her alien spouse where the spouse is already in the U.S. Similarly a U.S. permanent resident may confer immigration benefits to his or her alien spouse. However, a foreign national who entered the U.S. illegally by crossing the border uninspected, and is not protected under section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act must obtain his / her permanent residency through consular processing at his / her home country. This process could be tricky and professional assistance is highly recommended.
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