As a U.S. citizen or permanent resident (green card holder) you may be aware that your spouse is eligible for a green card in the U.S. as well, but how is that done?

There are a few different ways to help your husband or wife get a green card and we’ll cover the big ones here. However, don’t stop there! You should both be looking to applying for citizenship when you become eligible.

Family-based Green Card by Marriage

If you got married after you immigrated to the United States, are already a citizen of the United States or your spouse waited to immigrate to the United States for a while, you can go through the family-based green card process. This process begins with filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. Then, after this form is approved, a visa number becomes immediately available to your spouse who can then apply for a green card with Form I-485.

Green Card by Marriage as a Dependent

One of the ways that you can give your spouse a green card through your marriage is by putting them on your initial permanent residence application. They can then come with you when you immigrate to the United States.

Your children can also be included on the green card application.

K-1 Fiance Visa

If you aren’t married yet, but you plan on getting married within 90 days of your spouse arriving in the United States, you can use the K-1 Fiance Visa.

This visa allows your spouse to enter the United States as a nonimmigrant and then adjust status to permanent resident after you get married.

Getting U.S. Citizenship

After you or your spouse have green cards, you may want to consider getting citizenship. Green card holders who have had their green cards for five years may be able to apply for citizenship. However, green card holders who got their green cards through marriage only have to wait three years to start their application for citizenship.