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Ms. DeWald

Jean answers
your questions about
immigration.

Q: I just got married and I want to file papers for my spouse. What do I do?

A: It is a two-step process. The first step is the same for everyone; the second step depends upon whether or not you are a United States citizen or a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR). The rules are different.

The first step is to file an I-130 with the documents necessary to establish the validity of your relationship, and requires birth certificates or naturalization certificates, marriage certificates. You will have to furnish detailed biographical information for both of you. If you are a citizen, after the I-130 is approved, a visa will be immediately available for your spouse and he/she can apply at the consulate chosen in the I-130 application, or can choose to adjust his/her status here in the United States.

Spouses of LPR's must use consulate processing.

A spouse of a US citizen can choose whether or not to "adjust his/her status" in the United States; or decide to do consular processing, which means applying.