Can a U.S. Citizen Living Abroad Petition for a Green Card for a Spouse?

Nov 12, 2020


If you’re a US citizen living abroad, can you still petition for your spouse to get a green card?

I’m Eric Widman, I’m an Immigration Lawyer.

And if you are a US citizen, or even a green card holder, and you’d like to have your spouse, husband or wife, join you back in the US with a green card. There are ways that you can in fact, do this and successfully get through the process. Even though you’re living outside the US. When you initiate things. By starting I went 30. The key principle that the US State Department’s going to be looking for and us cis, is to confirm that you the US citizen petitioner or green card holder, the petitioner has domicile and residence within the US. So you have to show that ideally, you’ve maintained a domiciled ties and connections to the US.

And if you’re a permanent resident, it’s essential, of course, that you maintain ties and spend enough time in the US, otherwise you will abandon your green card. But putting that issue aside, to be able to petition for your spouse, even though you’re living abroad, you can in fact, proceed as long as you’re prepared to show ties and connections that you’ve maintained residence there, and an address. So for example, one great thing you can show is that, yes, you’ve continued to file tax returns, yes, you still are receiving mail at this address, you have a valid driver’s license, you have bank accounts, all of those factors, those ties and connections will help you show that you’ve maintained ties and connections domiciled with the US.

Now, if you have completely moved abroad and our US citizen who hasn’t kept really any ties to the US, very minimal ones, at least, still don’t give up hope you can proceed by reestablishing your domicile and letting us cis and the State Department know the consulate where consular processing will be happening for your your spouse, you can show that you’re reestablishing your domicile by going back there to get housing setup, going back to the US to establish a lease showing that you’re very security job or you’re in the process of securing a job. So it’s a like so many things in immigration, a fact dependent case by case, totality of the circumstances, approach to determining what you have domicile or not. And there’s a checklist that we give our clients that lays out what are some helpful things that you can pursue to get your domicile established or reestablished. So once that’s done, once, you should be able that that issue will be resolved. And it won’t hold up your green card application for it for your spouse.

Now, this the normal procedures will still apply. You’ll, as a US citizen petitioner, you’ll file. The I 130 petition with USC is after that’s approved is sent over to the National Visa Center sent to the consulate to have an interview set up. Your spouse has to complete an immigrant visa application. And all the paperwork has got to show a number of things. But one of those key things that you as the spouse living abroad has to show is that you’ve maintained your residence, you still have an address, or you’re reestablishing your domicile in the US.

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