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When should one start process of obtaining permenant residency? while in US or while still abroad?

Lititz, PA |

I am a US citizen married to a Guatemalan. We both live and work in Guatemala. We are going to move the US this year. My husband holds a US tourist visa. Should we start the permanent residency process now in Guatemala? OR, should we move to the States and then start the process? If we start now while in Guatemala, will my husband be allowed to travel between countries?

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Attorney answers 4


This is a tough question and decision to make without more facts. Although your husband could travel here on his tourist visa, if his intent is to become a permanent resident, the proper thing to do would be to file for his immigrant visa from Guatemala. However, this would cause a delay in processing him and permitting him to immigrate here. Other attorneys might advise to enter on tourist visa, then file the adjustment from the United States. You should consult with an attorney and give more facts about your plans.


Start the process now ... for being processed at the US Consul.

Do not use the tourist visa to do more than enter on VERY SHORT trips ... expect possible problems at the border.

PROFESSOR OF IMMIGRATION LAW for over 10 years -- This blog posting is offered for informational purposes only. It does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Also, keep in mind that this is an INTERNET BLOG. You should not rely on anything you read here to make decisions which impact on your life. Meet with an attorney, via Skype, or in person, to obtain competent personal and professional guidance.


I agree with my colleagues here. You need to consult an experienced immigration attorney. At Brandt immigration we have over 10 years experience successfully representing immigrants.

Chad M. Brandt
Brandt Immigration


Start the process at the Consulate. It is straight forward considering you want to move after one year. Once the petition is approved, he will enter as a permanent resident. Do not use tourist visa to enter if you intend to apply for U.S. residency.

This response is general in nature and cannot be construed as legal advice, given that not enough facts are known. Any comments offered on Avvo are of a general nature only, and are not meant to create an attorney-client relationship. If you would like additional information based on this response, please contact my office at 510 657 7665 or 415 902 0832 to schedule a consultation.

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