There are a few ways by which a U.S. citizen or permanent resident (green card holder) can help a spouse get a green card. Further, the options expand a little more if you aren’t yet married.

Here we’ll cover three different ways to get a spouse a green card.

Regardless of which method you use to help your spouse immigrate to the U.S., two forms must always be filed: a petition such as Form I-130 or I-129F and the green card registration form, I-485.

Immigrate with Your Spouse

One of the most frequently used methods of helping a spouse get a green card is to include them on your immigration application.

When you immigrate to the United States, you have the option to include your spouse and children on your immigration applications.

However, this method isn’t much help if you immigrated as a bachelor or if you’re a citizen.

Family-based Green Card Immigration

Citizens or permanent residents (green card holders) who already reside in the United States and who have a spouse who lives outside of the United States can file Form I-130 to request permission from the government for their spouse or husband to join them in the U.S.

This process is called the family-based green card pathway because it can be used for other relatives than a spouse, but the process is mostly the same.

Spouses of U.S. citizens and permanent residents are lucky in that they do not have to wait long for an immigration visa to become available. This significantly reduces their wait time.

Fiance Visa

If you’re a U.S. citizen, and you are not yet married, your spouse can apply for a K-1 fiance visa.

How this process works is that your spouse files Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiance, and when granted they can come to the United States. Then, within 90 days of arriving in the U.S., you will need to get married to maintain your spouse’s status.

After getting married, your new spouse needs to file for adjustment of status with Form I-485 in order to get a green card.