October 22, 2018

On most occasions, spouses of permanent residents or United States citizens can receive permanent residence themselves. The two processes are very similar but there are some crucial differences that separate them from one another. If you and your partner are seeking United States citizenship in Connecticut, the immigration lawyers at Dehghani & Associates may be able to help.

What The Two Processes Have in Common

The foundation of each process in the same, and they both begin with a petition. The U.S. citizen or resident must file a petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). In this petition, they must acknowledge their status and ask for their spouse to be granted residence.

The initial approval of this petition does not immediately grant their spouse a green card. If the spouse is outside the country, they must first apply for an immigrant visa. Once this is issued, they can then be admitted as a permanent resident.

Along with this petition, both parties must prove that the spouse is not inadmissible through way of being of public charge, having a criminal history, and being a public threat. If this cannot be proven, they need to receive an approved waiver if possible.

What is the Difference Between Citizen vs. Green Card Marriages

These processes have two major differences between them:


  • The spouse of a US citizen can apply even if their visa expired


Under this rule, the spouse of a US citizen can apply for their green card even if they are not considered to be under lawful status. This can include an expired visa or working without some sort of authorization first. The spouse of a resident must be in lawful status, meaning that they must have a long-term non-immigrant visa. If that expires, they must leave and reapply overseas.


  • How quickly they receive their lawful permanent residence


The spouse of a citizen will get their residence as soon as the government approves it whereas the spouse of a permanent resident must wait an additional eighteen months after the petition approval before they can apply for a green card. This discrepancy exists because the government currently has a cap on how many spouses can do this per year.

Immigration Lawyer in Connecticut

If you or a loved one is seeking a green card or have one already and have questions and concerns about the process, it is in your best interest to seek Connecticut immigration legal counsel. The team at Dehghani & Associates LLC can help.

Kevin E. Dehghani is licensed in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Call (203) 773-9513 or contact us online to have our attorney review your case and answer all of your legal questions during an initial consultation.

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