Are you a United States citizen marrying or already married to a citizen of Mexico? Are you looking to sponsor your new wife or husband to the US for a marriage-based green card? In this article, we have gathered some legal and practical information you need to know about sponsoring a Mexican spouse for a green card.
However, note that this information contains a general overview of how the process works for the majority. Your case may be peculiar and you may need the help of an experienced immigration attorney.
Understanding the United States Immigration Law
There is a popular opinion that once you are married to a US citizen, you automatically become one yourself. However, while being married to a US citizen does provide you with a direct path to US immigration, you don’t automatically become a citizen.
Instead, the foreign spouse of a US citizen becomes their immediate relative and will receive a green card faster than others. This process can take up to six months, a year, or longer, depending on the peculiarity of your case.
If you are not yet married to your Mexican partner, you can petition a fiancé visa for them if you are a US citizen. Your fiancé can enter the US with this nonimmigrant visa and then apply for a green card once in the US.
Conversely, the spouse of a green card holder becomes a preference relative and will only get a visa when it is available. Waiting to apply for the visa makes the entire visa application process even longer, and only citizen spouses can petition for fiancé(e)s.
Obtaining a Spousal Visa in Mexico
If you are married to your United States citizen spouse, they will file a petition with the USCIS in the US. The filing of Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, starts the entire visa application process.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will review your spouse’s petition and make its decision, which can be acceptance or denial. If it approves the petition, you can move forward with processing the visa in Mexico – if your spouse is a US citizen.
However, if you are married to a green card holder or lawful permanent resident, you may be told to wait. If there is a priority date, the USCIS and State Department will direct you to start your visa application process.
Otherwise, you may need to wait up to two years or more before you can start applying. You will process your immigrant visa at the US consulate in Canada; this is called consular processing.
The consular processing requires that you submit your paperwork to the consulate in your city in Mexico. It also involves attending a visa interview, which is the last stage of the application process.
Your United States citizen spouse may attend the interview with you, but they are not under obligation to. There are US consulates in different cities in Mexico, but only the one in Ciudad Juarez handles marriage-based immigrant visas.
Once the USCIS approves your visa, you will enter the United States on an immigrant visa. When you enter the United States with your marriage-based immigrant visa, you will obtain permanent resident status.
That is, you will become a lawful permanent resident and get your green card soon after you enter the US.
What If Your Mexican Spouse is Already in the United States?
If your Mexican spouse entered the US legally and is still in valid visa status, they can adjust their status. Along with Form I-130, they will file Form I-485, Adjustment of Status. Both the Mexican spouse and US spouse will attend the visa interview at the USCIS file office in your jurisdiction.
On the other hand, if your Mexican spouse illegally entered the US or their immigration status is no longer valid. The case is more complicated and they may find it more difficult to obtain a green card. However, difficult does not mean impossible; you will need the help of a good immigration attorney.
Getting the Best Legal Help from Herman Legal Group
The USCIS does not make getting legal help compulsory, but it is necessary if you want a complication-free process. Herman Legal Group has a band of well-versed immigration lawyers in Mexico who can help you with your visa application process. Our lawyers understand how the US immigration system works and can provide the best help navigating through it.
Thus, if you want your spousal visa application process to go as smoothly as possible, we are here for you. Or if you are already facing complications, you can book us online or reach out to us at +1-800-808-4013.
Obtaining a spousal CR1/IR1 visa in Mexico starts with your US citizen spouse filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. The purpose of this form is to prove that there is a valid, existing marital relationship between you and your citizen spouse. If the USCIS is convinced that there is, it will grant the petition and forward your case to the NVC. Then, you will proceed with the application process in Mexico in a process known as consular processing.