How to Apply for a Spouse Visa: A Step-by-Step Guide

Faraz Shaikh

Understanding the complexities of the spousal green card application process can be difficult, but with the right information and preparation, you can successfully bring your green card spouse to the United States. Whether you’re a green card holder or a U.S. citizen, this guide will provide you with detailed steps, essential tips, and critical insights to ensure a smooth and successful process.

Introduction: Why Apply for a Spouse Visa?

Securing a spouse visa green card is an important step in reuniting families and building a life together in the United States. For many, the journey to obtain a wife’s green card or husband’s application represents the completion of years of planning, dedication, and hope. This guide will walk you through each stage of the process, from initial eligibility to receiving the permanent resident card marriage.

Step 1: Determine Your Eligibility

Before going on the application process, it’s essential to determine if you meet the eligibility requirements for a spousal green card.

For U.S. Citizens:

  • You must be legally married to your green card partner.
  • You have to show that you are a citizen of the United States.
  • Your marriage must be bona fide and not solely for immigration purposes.

For Green Card Holders:

  • Similar to U.S. citizens, you must be legally married to your spouse.
  • You need to provide proof of your green card holder status.
  • Your marriage must be legal and supported with appropriate evidence.

Step 2: File the Petition

The initial step in the process involves filing the appropriate petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Form I-130: Petition for Alien Relative

  • This form establishes the relationship between the petitioner (you) and the beneficiary (your spouse).
  • Gather supporting documents such as marriage certificates, proof of citizenship or green card holder status, and evidence of a bona fide marriage (e.g., joint bank accounts, lease agreements, photos together).

Step 3: Wait for Petition Approval

After filing Form I-130, you will need to wait for USCIS to process and approve the petition. This can take several months, so patience is essential. USCIS may request additional information or documents during this time.

Step 4: National Visa Center (NVC) Processing

Once USCIS approves the petition, the case is forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC) if your spouse is outside the U.S. The NVC will assign a case number and invoice ID number, and you will need to:

  • Pay the required fees.
  •  Fill out the Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application Form (DS-260).
  • Submit supporting documents, including police certificates, medical examinations, and financial documents proving your ability to support your spouse.

Step 5: Consular Interview

The next step involves your spouse attending an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. Throughout the interview, the consular representative will:

  • Review the submitted documents.
  • Ask questions to verify the legality of the marriage.
  • Collect biometric information.

Step 6: Obtaining a Visa and Entering the United States.

If the consular officer approves the visa application, your spouse will receive their spousal visa US. They can then travel to the U.S., where they will be admitted as a US permanent resident spouse.

Step 7: Receive the Green Card

After arriving in the U.S., your spouse will receive their permanent resident card (commonly known as a green card) by mail. This card is proof of their US residency by marriage.

Post-Approval Steps

After your spouse receives their visa and enters the U.S., there are additional steps to ensure their transition to permanent residency is smooth.

Receiving the Green Card

After entering the U.S., your spouse should receive their green card by mail within a few weeks. If it does not arrive, contact USCIS for assistance.

Social Security Number

Your spouse can apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) if they do not already have one. This number is essential for employment, banking, and other legal activities in the U.S.

How to Apply:

  • Visit a local Social Security Administration office with necessary documents, such as a green card, passport, and proof of address.

Updating Records

Update all relevant records with your spouse’s new status. This includes:

  • Employer Records: If your spouse plans to work, provide their employer with their SSN and green card.
  • Bank Accounts: Update joint bank accounts with your spouse’s new status and information.
  • Insurance Policies: Add your spouse to health, life, and auto insurance policies as needed.

Maintaining Permanent Residency

Maintaining permanent resident status requires following to certain rules and regulations. It’s important to be aware of these to avoid risking your spouse’s status.

Continuous Residence

Your spouse must reside continuously in the U.S. Absences of six months or more can disrupt continuous residence and potentially lead to abandonment of permanent resident status.


  • Avoid extended trips abroad. If your spouse must travel for an extended period, consider applying for a reentry permit.

Compliance with Laws

Your spouse must comply with all U.S. laws. Criminal activity can result in deportation and loss of permanent resident status.

Renewal of Green Card

Permanent resident cards are valid for 10 years. Your spouse must renew their green card before it expires by filing Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card.

Path to Citizenship

For many green card holders, the ultimate goal is to become a U.S. citizen. The process involves several steps:

Eligibility for Naturalization

Your spouse can apply for naturalization after being a permanent resident for three years, provided they have been living in marital union with you (a U.S. citizen) for that period.


  • Continuous residence in the U.S. for at least three years.
  • Physical presence in the U.S. for a minimum of 18 months within the three years.
  • Good moral character.
  • Ability to read, write, and speak English.
  • Knowledge of U.S. government and history.

Filing for Naturalization

To apply for naturalization, your spouse must file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, and attend a naturalization interview.

Additional Considerations

Conditional Green Cards

If your marriage is less than two years old at the time your spouse enters the U.S., they will receive a conditional green card. To remove the conditions, you must file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, within 90 days before the card expires.

Adjustment of Status

If your spouse is already in the U.S., you can file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, concurrently with Form I-130 or after the I-130 is approved. This process allows your spouse to adjust their status to that of a permanent resident without having to leave the U.S.

Tips for a Smooth Application Process

  • Double-check all forms for accuracy before submission.
  • Keep copies of all documents and correspondence with USCIS.
  • Any requests for more information from the NVC or USCIS should be answered very soon.
  • Prepare thoroughly for the consular interview by reviewing potential questions and gathering all necessary documents.
  • Consult with an immigration attorney to ensure all legal requirements are met and to address any complications that arise.


Applying for a spouse visa green card involves several detailed steps, from determining eligibility to dealing with the USCIS and NVC processes, attending a consular interview, and finally, entering the U.S. as a US permanent resident spouse. By following this guide, you can simplify the process and increase your chances of a successful outcome. For personalized assistance and expert legal services, visit Passage Law to ensure a smooth and successful application process.

Call to Action

For the best spouse immigration-related services, visit Passage Law today. Our team of experienced immigration attorneys is ready to help you manage the complexities of the immigration process and reunite with your loved one in the United States.

Request a Consultation

"*" indicates required fields

How Can We Help
I Have Read The Disclaimer*
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.