Is it possible for me to marry and add my wife to my adjustment process
- Published: Wednesday, 25 April 2007 12:07
My adjustment of status is about to be filed but I may be getting married before the process is complete. Is it possible for me to marry and add my wife to my adjustment process after I have filed the adjustment but BEFORE it has been approved?
Good question! You CAN do this, but ONLY if your spouse is legally in the U.S. BEFORE the filing...in other words, you can't bring your spouse to the U.S. AFTER the petition is filed and add them to it...It's a little complex, so let me explain...
The critical reason you want to include your spouse in the adjustment is simple: if you CAN'T, and you marry them after you have the green card, they will be in the F2A- family second preference- category, which takes a few years. However, there are SEVERAL scenarios to avoid this:
SCENARIO 1 - You marry your spouse, who is abroad, in a brief civil marriage back home, leaving the flowers and ceremony for a later time. You immediately take your spouse to the Consulate, get her the visa (H-4), and return to the U.S. You THEN file BOTH adjustments.
SCENARIO 2 - Your future spouse is in the states, on some kind of visa (H-1B, F-1, B- 2, etc.) and you have your adjustment filed and pending. You marry in the U.S. at the local county court and use that certificate to file a SECOND dependent adjustment and have it joined in the INS. (This is the trickiest part for the attorney, by the way!)
SCENARIO 3 - You have your adjustment pending, travel home on advance parole, marry, return alone, complete your adjustment alone and your spouse "follows to join", meaning they come in under your petition...it can take months, but at least its faster than having to file an F2A spouse petition.
SCENARIO 4 - Your future spouse is abroad, but you have ALREADY filed your adjustment. You COULD go home, marry briefly, and get her an H-4, but here's the problem. In order for you to REENTER the U.S. legally as a person with adjustment pending, you probably have parole. The INS officer at the airport will admit you as a parolee, so your spouse CAN'T use the H-4 to enter, since to do that you would need to be admitted as an H-1B, but if you did THAT, you would have abandoned the pending adjustment by not entering with parole!!!
(Are you guys starting to understand why I often sound stressed on line? This is our LIFE!! (-; )
Clear enough? If not, chant that last paragraph to yourself while staring at a candle for 20 minutes and you will find the True Wisdom in it....
To FURTHER add to the chaos, consider this:
The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) has released an interim rule regarding the regulations for individuals holding H-1 and L-1 visas during the time that they have a pending adjustment of status (I-485 petition pending with the INS). The interim rule went into effect beginning on July 1, 1999. The interim rule allows individuals with valid H-1 and L-1 status to travel outside the United States without advance parole. This also applies to the dependents of these individuals who maintain valid dependent status (H-4 and L-2). According to this rule, the individuals will both leave and re-enter the United States using their valid non-immigrant status. These individuals should have proof of valid non-immigrant status, as well as the receipt notices for the filing of their I-485 adjustment of status, as proof of the pending adjustment of status.