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What Is the Process of Applying for a Green Card for My Spouse While Living Abroad?

Green Card for My Spouse While Living Abroad


Many U.S. citizens marry their life partners who are foreign nationals. They want them to obtain U.S. green cards to enjoy the benefits of being green cardholders. Some spouses are too busy in their work-life, family life, or other kinds of stuff that they cannot travel to the U.S. for their green card process. If you think this might be your case, do not worry about your spouse’s green card, USCIS allows your spouse to apply for a green card from outside the U.S. This article will see the process that can help you if you want your spouse to get a green card without coming to the U.S.

The key component: 

You must show that you intend to live in the U.S. with your spouse when she obtains a green card. 

What is the process of applying for a green card for my spouse while living abroad?

If your foreign spouse is seeking a green card from outside the United States, you can apply through consular processing. You can apply for a U.S. immigrant visa through a U.S. embassy or consulate in a foreign country through consular processing. The procedure for applying for your spouse’s green card outside of the U.S. is: 

Filing Form I-130, petition for alien relative

Firstly, you have to file a Family Based green card petition on Form I-130 along with all the necessary documents. You can do this by submitting the petition online or by mailing the form to the USCIS. You can find the mailing address here https://www.uscis.gov/i-130-addresses.

USCIS will send you a receipt notice. 

Once USCIS has received your petition, it will send you a receipt notice (that is the official proof that USCIS has received your petition) along with a case number which you can use to track the status of your petition. 

USCIS will approve your I-130 petition

After USCIS has received your I-130 petition, it will scrutinize the petition along with all the documents. USCIS will approve your petition after being satisfied that you have fulfilled the requirements and transfer your case to the National Visa Center. 

The National Visa Center is responsible for preparing your case for the U.S. embassy or consulate. NVC will transfer your case to the U.S. embassy or consulate after approving your immigrant visa, and after that, you will go for a consular interview.

Once your I-130 petition is approved, your spouse has to complete the immigrant visa procedure through the State Department and attend an interview at a U.S. consulate or embassy in his or her home country.

Applying for a Green Card for My Spouse While Living Abroad

Filing relevant forms

Complete Form DS-261 – In your NVC letter, you will know how to file Form DS-261. It is an online form where you will tell the Department of State how to communicate with you throughout your green card application. This form is free to file, and you can do it by following the instructions that NVC sends you. 

Form I-864, Affidavit of Support – You(Sponsor) have to complete Form I-864. It is the affidavit where you will state that you have adequate means to support your spouse when they arrive in the United States and not become dependent on the U.S. government. 

Complete DS-260 onlineDS-260 is an online form completed by foreign nationals who are applying for a family-based green card from outside the U.S. This form is mandatory and must be completed before appearing for your U.S. embassy or consulate interview. Once NVC approves your DS-260 form, you will be able to move your case forward. 

All the required documents have to be submitted before the consular processing begins. Once the consular processing begins, the immigrant might be required to provide more papers, which may vary depending on the specific requirements of their case.

Interview at U.S. embassy or consulate

The consular procedure begins once the USCIS has accepted the immigrant’s petition and the NVC has approved the immigrant visa. The NVC will transfer your case to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. The first step for consular processing is to submit all the required documents, followed by the necessary medical tests of the applicant, and then end by giving the interview. 

You will be informed about the interview appointment date, time, and venue by the consular office. It is not required for the sponsoring spouse to attend the interview. It would help if you went well prepared for the interview along with all the documents. At the interview, the interviewing officer will assess your spouse’s case and will either approve or reject your immigrant visa. The key determination is whether your marriage is real or not, and you are not doing a fraudulent ploy to get U.S. citizenship.

You will either be informed about the decision on your application after the interview or after some days. Suppose the interviewing officer approves the immigrant visa. In that case, your spouse can travel to the United States on an immigrant visa.


You can apply and get a green card for your spouse even if they live outside the U.S. This article has explained the brief procedure. In the end, if you are trying to get your spouse a green card, you should consult an immigration attorney who will help you throughout the process. 

Sethi and Mazaheri law firm has previously helped several U.S. citizens in getting their spouses a green card. You can always ask us your queries, and our immigration attorneys will reach you to answer them. 

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