You may have an employer who agreed to sponsor you for an employment visa, and also have a U.S. Citizen or Green Card Holder spouse, who can petition for you. However, you may be uncertain about which option to pursue or if you should do both. This article will help you to strategize if you have not yet started the Green Card process through either option, based on 4 considerations: 1) time, 2) number of steps in process 3) cost, 4) eligibility and approval, and 5) personal and legal considerations.
- Spouse Petition v. Employer Petition: Time Considerations
- Spouse Petition: If your spouse is an U.S. Citizen, you can complete the entire process of both the spouse petition and Green Card application to get the Green Card in about a year (sometimes less) to a year and a half at most. If your spouse is a Green Card Holder, it will take about 6 months to a year to get the spouse petition approved, and then about a year before the Green Card application is approved.
- Employer Petition: An EB-2 or EB-3 Green Card Based Visa can take about two years to process, assuming there are no delays or issues that arise. Additionally, factor in an additional 2 to 4 months on average just getting the employer on board, finding an attorney, gathering the documents, and getting the visa approval and actually submitting the Green Card application. You can also expedite the visa petition process and get a decision in 15 days by doing premium processing.
- Spouse Petition v. Employer Petition: Number of Steps in Process
- Spouse Petition: If your spouse is an U.S. Citizen, you can complete the entire process of both the spouse petition and Green Card application in one step. If your spouse is a Green Card Holder, there are two steps: 1) the spouse petition and then 2) the Green Card application.
- EB-2 and EB-3: There are three steps: 1) Labor Certification 2) Visa Petition, and then 3) the Green Card application.
- Spouse Petition v. Employer Petition: Cost Considerations
- Spouse Petition: The combined USCIS spouse petition and Green Card application fees are currently $1760.
- EB-2 and EB-3: The employer pays the fees for the Labor Certification process and the Visa Petition. The recruitment fees for the Labor Certification can range from $1000 to $2000. The Visa Petition fee is $700 and and $1440 for premium processing. The Green Card application fee is currently $1225 and to be paid by the Applicant. These costs do not include attorney legal fees.
- Spouse Petition v. Employer Petition: Eligibility and Approval Considerations
- Spouse Petition: The requirements for an approval are very straightforward regardless of whether the spouse is a U.S. Citizen or Green Card Holder. As long as the documents and testimony during the interview can establish a bona fide marriage, there should be an approval on the spouse petition. As long as there are no immigration inadmissibility considerations, the Green Card application should also be approved at the same time. An approval can be obtained without the assistance of an attorney.
- Employment Petition: The requirements are not easily met by every applicant, and getting an approval is not as certain. There are many things that can come up along the way, at any of the three parts of the process that can delay the process or make it difficult to get an approval. An approval can be obtained but this is a process that requires the assistance of an attorney.
- Spouse Petition v. Employer Petition: Personal Considerations
- If you have the money and want to maximize your options for getting a Green Card, you can do both petitions.
- If you have a preference about getting a Green Card based on merit or based on marriage, choose the option that speaks to you.