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I just got married to a green card holder. Can I apply/get a work permit, before she gets her US citizenship?

Miami, FL |

The 5 years required for her to order to apply for US citizenship have already passed, and I know that I will be able to apply for adjustment of status after she gets her citizenship. Is there any way to get just the work permit before she gets her citizenship?

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Attorney answers 3


You will probably not be able to get your work permit if you apply for your adjustment of status before she becomes a citizen. People who marry US citizens are eligible for their work permit during the adjustment of status phase because they can submit the application to adjust status at the same time as the I-130 since spouses of US citizens are not subject to quotas. As a spouse of a permanent resident, you are subject to quotas. You have to wait until a visa is available based on your approved I-130 before you can apply for adjustment of status. Then you could get a work permit based on your pending adjustment of status application.

*Please note that this information does not create an attorney-client relationship.


Congratulations on your marriage!
Because your wife is a resident, she can file an I-130 petition on your behalf, but that petition does not permit you to apply for your residency right away. The petition does not give you status. It is only when you apply for your residency or "green card" that you can also request a work permit. As a result, the priority should be for her to naturalize and become a U.S. citizen. The application process in Florida is very quick - most of my clients have been obtaining their citizenship in 3-6 months after filing the application.

Should you need clarification on any of these points, feel free to contact me at

Best regards,

Renata Calderaro, Esq.
The Calderaro Law Group
Immigration Attorneys
12550 Biscayne Blvd., Ste. 800
Miami, Florida 33181
305-938-8391 Telephone
305-938-8392 Facsimile
212-335-4920 Venezuela


Foreign nationals obtain work authorization in various methods. When they are applying for residency based on a petition by a US citizen spouse, they are granted employment authorization.

Petitions by legal permanent resident spouses, however, do not permit filing for adjustment until the priority date becomes current. For this reason, work authorization is also not permitted. If your spouse needs assistance with naturalization or if you need assistance with your adjustment case, please consult an experienced immigration attorney.

This attorney is Board Certified, speaks Spanish and French, and has an office in South Florida. For more information, click through to the Blog or web site.

Elizabeth R. Blandon

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