Are you a non-US citizen married to a US citizen or lawful permanent resident in Chicago? First of all, congratulations; we are happy you found someone you’ve decided to spend the rest of your life with. However, we understand how difficult things might be for you now since you’re separated or have the threat of separation hanging over your heads. The quickest way to get reunited permanently with your beloved is by obtaining a green card based on marriage.

However, while a marriage-based green card is the quickest way to obtain permanent residence in the US, there are risks involved. For instance, if you are not familiar with or do not understand how the United States immigration system works, you may encounter problems.

The USCIS, the government body responsible for awarding this immigration benefit, strictly scrutinizes marriage green card applications. Thus, it is important that you get the application process right from the start; this information may help.

Who Files the Marriage Green Card or Immigrant Visa?

The citizen spouse will file the immigrant visa petition, Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) with the USCIS. The essence of this form is to establish that a qualifying relationship between your spouse and you exists. Also, the form is the way to request that the government reserve an immigrant visa for your foreign national spouse. If and when the USCIS approves the petition, it means they acknowledge the relationship and there’s a visa available.

Meanwhile, the USCIS gives a degree of priority over marriages between US citizens and foreign spouses. This is because spouses of US citizens are considered immediate relatives. There is no limit on the number of immediate relatives that can obtain a green card every year. On the other hand, spouses of green card holders are considered “preference categories,” and may wait several years to obtain a visa.

National Visa Center Processing for US Citizen’s Spouse

The National Visa Center Processing (or NVC Processing) is also called consular processing and applies to foreign spouses outside the US. Once the US citizen files the petition and the USCIS approves, the latter will forward the application to the NVC. The NVC is part of the US Department of State; it handles much of the visa-related administrative duties. At this stage, below are the steps you will be required to take:

#Choose an Agent

The agent is a third party who will receive the information about your immigrant visa application case. This can be anyone, from your spouse to someone else you trust to represent you very well.

#Pay Legal Fees

The immigrant visa consular processing comes with certain fees that the applicant is mandated to pay. These include the Immigrant Visa Application Processing fee as well as the Affidavit of Support fee.

#Submit the Application

You will fill out and submit the DS-260, along with the requested supporting documents. The National Visa Center will request certain supporting and financial documents to compare the information you provided in the form. You will submit the form and documents to the official website of the United States Department of State.

What Is the Difference Between Adjustment of Status and Consular Processing?

There are typically two routes for obtaining a marriage green card: through consular processing or adjustment of status. The difference between both routes is where the foreign spouse is currently residing.

For instance, foreign national spouses who are already in the United States during the application can adjust their status. They already hold a conditional permanent residence status; they only need to remove the conditions and become permanent residents.

On the other hand, the foreign spouse who is living outside the US will have to go through consular processing. Both spouses will file Form I-130, but the spouse residing in the US will file Form I-485 (Adjustment of Status) with theirs. By including Form I-485 with Form I-130, couples give the USCIS everything it needs to decide on their case quickly.

Can Herman Legal Group Help with Consular Processing?

Herman Legal Group can help with consular processing as efficiently as it helps with other immigration-related cases. If you seek legal advice, assistance, or representation for your immigration case, we have highly experienced lawyers who can help. We have lawyers fluent in up to twelve languages, thus we are able to efficiently serve our clients at home and abroad. More so, we help you understand which route is best for you: adjustment of status or consular processing.

We have many offices across the United States, including in Chicago, Illinois; we also have offices outside the US. Booking us online is pretty straightforward, or you can simply call us at +1-216-696-617.

If you have any questions, contact your immigration lawyer in Chicago, Illinois, and read more information about immigration in Chicago now.


If you are applying for permanent residence through marriage in Chicago, you will need to prove that you meet the requirements. These include the continuous and physical presence requirements – such as being married for a certain number of years to be eligible. The basic requirements include the existence of a valid marriage and proof that neither spouse is married to someone else.

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