Concurrent Filing for Foreign Spouse
Concurrent filing is for foreigners married to US citizens, who arrived on a non-immigrant visa and who would like to obtain Green Card without leaving the USA.
It is called “concurrent” filing because we need file two petitions at the same time. We file a petition asking for permission to enter the USA, just as if the spouse was overseas and we are were asking for an Spouse Visa AND since the spouse is already within the USA we ALSO apply for adjustment of status.
Two different petitions filed together, at the same time.
Results = Permanent Residency + Green Card without leaving the USA.
What is Concurrent Filing?You met a foreigner who was in the USA visiting on a temporary visa. She was traveling on a visa waiver, tourist, work, or student visa. You fell in love, got married. Your new spouse had no prior intent to remain in the USA when she applied for her visa, and traveled to the USA. And her visa, did not have any hard restrictions, such as a student visa that requiring her to leave the USA for at least 2 years.
Now that you are married. Your foreign spouse is an immediate relative of a US citizen. This makes her eligible to adjust her status to permanent residency.
And Best of All, this can all be accomplished within the USA. Your spouse need not leave your side. She does not need to return to her home country to wait on the results.
This is called “one-step adjustment”, or “concurrent filing.” “one-step” refers to the fact that instead of submitting an immigration petition, waiting for it’s approval, then submitting a second application for adjustment of status, both the immigration petition and the adjustment of status petition are submitted together, concurrently, at the same time.
Two separate petitions filed together, concurrently
Immigration Petition + Adjustment of Status = Permanent Residency
This process typically takes about a year.
The critical question that will come up, probably during an interview with both you and your spouse present will be, whether or not, there had been any intent to misuse the temporary visa she traveled on.
As long as immigration is convinced there was no intent to misuse her temporary visa, then permanent residency should be approved.
Should they believe that there was intent to misuse the temporary visa, then your spouse would be asked to leave the USA. That would leave you to apply for a spouse visa in order to have her return and rejoin you. She would remain outside the USA while the spouse visa application was pending.
In Conclusion: If you meet, fall in love and marry a foreign visitor who is traveling on a temporary visa, as long as there was no intent to “game” immigration, your new spouse does not have to return to her country, instead you may sponsor her for permanent residency and she need not exit the USA while it is in process.
By Fred Wahl