Thanks for your inquiry Larry. I think that there is a solution to your issue and my recommendation would be to find an attorney who can explain the options to you and your spouse so that you both can make an informed and knowledgeable decision about how best to proceed.
I am guessing that you are a US citizen (USC), but your inquiry does not mention your immigration status. Assuming that you being a USC is correct, there is a process available whereby your spouse can submit a number of forms and application to US Citizenship and Immigration Services and begin a process whereby she would be accorded lawful permanent resident status as the spouse of a USC. The forms that you would be looking to complete are the following :
form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative - this is the application that says that you are a USC and that your spouse is your wife and that you married for the right reasons. Moreover, this is an application for an immigrant visa which would permit your spouse to reside with you in the US
Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status - this is the application that your spouse would file to indicate that she is a foreign national who has an immigrant visa petition available to her and that she would like to become a resident alien in the US. This application is most interested in whether there is anything in your spouse's background (i.e. criminal activity, prior immigration problems, immigration fraud) which may prevent her from being considered as a resident in the US.
Form G-325 - this is a Biographical Information form which both you and your spouse would be required to submit. This form provides certain basic background information about the both of you.
Form I-864, Affidavit of Support - this is an affidavit that you compete to establish that you (or other co sponsors if required) have the financial means necessary and available to ensure that your spouse will not need the resources of the federal, state or local governments to provide for her financial well being in the US.
Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization - to obtain a work permit while the application for adjustment of status is pending.
Form I-131, Application for Travel Document - to obtain permission to depart the US and to return while the application for adjustment of status remains pending.
All of the applications must be completed and submitted with supporting documentation (i.e. birth certificate of the applicant translated into English if need be, evidence of the termination of all prior relationships for both of you (again translated if needed), evidence of the petitioning spouse's immigration status in the US, copies of passport information, tax returns and evidence of current income). These applications are all processed through the National Benefits Center, a USCIS Service Center which is located in Missouri but whose "lockbox" filing location is in Chicago. Generally, a medical examination on Form I-693 must also be provided at the time of initial submission of the paperwork to USCIS.
When the applications are received, filing receipts are issued and sent to you and your spouse. She will be contacted for an appointment to appear at a local Application Support Center where her "biometrics" will be captured (digital photo, digital signature and digital fingerprints). Eventually, an interview will be scheduled before an Immigration Services Officer at the nearest CIS Field Office. At this interview, the applications will be reviewed and the government will ask for you and your spouse to provide documentary evidence that your relationship is a bona fide marriage and not a relationship entered for the sole purpose of evading the immigration laws.
Unfortunately, that is about all of the room I have. Process has more detail to understand and best way to work a case like this is with the help of a competent and experienced attorney. Good luck and find someone who is good to help.
Larry, you may want to start by visiting USCIS.gov and reading the following guide: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.eb1d4c2a3e5b9ac89243c6a7543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=1d383e4d77d73210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=1d383e4d77d73210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD.
The same site will also tell you all about the filing fees.
In the alternative, you can consult and retain an attorney who can help simplify this process for you.
The information offered is general in nature and not meant to be relied upon as legal advice. Please consult an attorney prior to making legal decisions. Visit us at www.tunitskylaw.com. Contact us at 713.335.5505 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Veronica Tunitsky offers in-person, as well as telephone and email consultations.
The process is much smoother and faster to hire an immigration attorney as that is what they do. Mr. Stoller gave a very complete and detailed answer.
This is a general answer only and does not imply that I am your attorney giving advice with full knowledge of all the particulars of your case or that there is any attorney client relationship. I strongly urge you to retain experienced legal counsel who can better advise you once they have reviewed all your documentation and are fully apprised of the details of your case. Rebecca Black Immigration 5800 Beach Blvd. Ste 203-176 Jacksonville, FL 32207 904-999-4928 Tel & Fax
Green card holders and travel Immigration Green cards Adjustment of immigration status US citizenship US visas Immigrant visas Employment Authorization Document Immigrant status Fraud Employment Marriage-based green card Form I-485 (adjustment of status) Form I-130 (alien relative) Birth certificate Marriage