Based on the information you have provided, it is likely that you can file an immediate relative petition to obtain an immigrant visa for your wife. That would be the first step toward obtaining a work permit, driver's license, green card, and---eventually---citizenship. Which other steps you need to take depend on specific questions about your wife's case, such as when and how she first entered the United States.
The best thing to do would be to contact an experienced immigration attorney in your area.
Emily A. Younger Associate Attorney Eaton & Associates 707 18th Street Bakersfield, CA 93301 Tel.: 661.742.7007 Fax: 661.323.0900 http://federalimmigration.us
To become a US citizen, she must first be a permanent resident.
Please do not confuse legal permanent residence with US citizenship. Confusing the two can result in a false claim to US citizenship. A false claim to US citizenship results in deportation and a permanent bar from the US.
What needs to be done for her to become a permanent resident depends on how she entered the US.
You should retain an experienced immigration lawyer to review all the facts, advise you, and handle the case. You can find one through http://www.ailalawyer.com.
J Charles Ferrari Eng & Nishimura 213.622.2255 The statement above is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice, as not all the facts are known. You should retain an attorney to review all the facts specific to your case in order to receive advise specific to your case. The statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship. Answers on Avvo can only be general ones, as specific answers would require knowledge of all the facts. As such, they may or may not apply to the question.
Prior to citizenship, she needs to become a Lawful Permanent Resident (green card holder). You can assist her by sponsoring her for a visa (via form I-130) and the green card (via form I-485) at the same time. It'll also be important to know whether she entered the US with permission and whether or not she has overstayed that permission to determine whether other issues may arise that complicate your application process for her. You should consider working with a lawyer to make sure your case falls more toward the easier side of the spectrum than the difficult, "oh crap..." side of the spectrum.
Once she has her LPR card, she can get her license just like anyone else (test and all that).
Your question indicates that you have little experience with the U.S. immigration system. This is not necessarily a bad thing - most Americans are not familiar with our immigration system. What this does mean, though, is that you should contact a local immigration lawyer to help you. In this way, you can make sure your wife is protected and will receive all the necessary ID's, etc. as fast as possible.
Lena Korial-Yonan, Esq.