Legal Question in Immigration Law in California

I am a permanent resident of the United States. I want to petition my wife in a foreign country to be here with me. Could you please tell me how many forms I need to fill out and what document I need to be ready for a first submission to the USCIS???

Asked on 9/12/09, 8:27 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Ellaine Loreto Law Offices of Ellaine Loreto


There are a few ways that you can petition your wife:

1) If you qualify (i.e. you have been a green card holder for 4 years and 9 months), file for your citizenship, using Form N-400, which can take about 6 months. Once you become a US Citizen, you can file for a K-3 visa for your wife, using Form I-129F. This is a temporary visa that allows her to enter the U.S. Some people prefer this visa, since it only takes 5 months to process (at the current time). Once your wife is in the U.S., you can then petition her for an immigrant petition on Form I-130 and she can file for her green card/legal residence on Form, I-485 at the same time. This processing time takes about 6 months (currently). Additional forms, requirements and documents must be submitted, depending on the facts of your particular case. Some examples include whether your wife wants to work or travel. Additionally, if you have been married for 2 years or more before you file the I-130 for her, then she will receive a permanent green card. If you've been married less than 2 years, then she will get a conditional green card, good for 2 years. Then she will have to apply to remove the conditions before her 2 year anniversary on her green card.

2) As a legal permanent resident, you can petition her for an immigrant visa, using Form I-130. Once the I-130 is approved, she will have to fill out consulate forms, including Form DS-156, among others (depending on her case). With this option, she will have to wait in her home country for about 4-7years for this petition to be processed, depending on the country she is from. However, when it's approved, she will enter the U.S. as a legal resident.

3) If you become a US citizen, you can change the petition in 2) above to show you are a US citizen and not a permanent resident anymore. Once this happens, it can reduce her wait time in her home country to 1-2 years, depending on her home country.

Because consulate processing can be complex, it is advisable for you work with an attorney. For more information on visas, you can refer to

To discuss your specific case further, please feel free to call me at 714 288 0610 or email me at [email protected] Our office offers a FREE initial consultation and payment plans.

Note: The above response is provided for information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice, nor to create an attorney-client relationship, which can only be established through payment of consideration.

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Answered on 9/12/09, 8:57 pm

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