Love knows no bounds, and it is not unusual these days for a person in the Chicago-area to fall in love with someone from another country and marry abroad. If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, and you married abroad, you may want your foreign-citizen spouse to live with you in the U.S. as a permanent resident. How you can do so depends on your status in the U.S. and where your spouse is residing.
If you are a U.S. citizen and your spouse is lawfully residing in the U.S., you will file a form I-130 and a form I-485 at the same time. If you are a U.S. citizen and your spouse lives outside the U.S., you will file a form I-130. When it is approved, it will be sent to counsular processing. The foreign-citizen spouse of a U.S. citizen may be able to pursue a K-3 nonimmigrant visa that will permit them to live and work in the U.S. once the U.S. citizen spouse files the form I-130.
If you hold a Green Card and your spouse is lawfully residing in the U.S., you will file a form I-130. Once a visa is available, you will then file a form I-485 to adjust status to permanent residency. Your spouse generally must maintain lawful status in the U.S. to qualify for adjustment of status. If you hold a Green Card and your spouse lives outside the U.S., you will file a form I-130. Once the form is approved and a visa is available, it will then be sent for consular processing. Foreign-citizen spouses of Green Card holders in the U.S. who have filed form I-130 can seek a V visa to live and work in the U.S. as long as at least three years have gone by since the I-130 was filed.
This is only a general overview of how foreign-citizen spouses can apply to live in the U.S. as a permanent resident, and it does not provide legal advice. Those who need more information on this topic will want to seek the assistance they need to understand their rights and options. Falling in love is a beautiful thing, and it is only natural that U.S. citizens and permanent residents will want their spouse to come reside in the U.S. with them. It is important, though, to take all the necessary steps to avoid delays or denials that could slow down the process.