U.S. Citizen Abroad Filing an Immigrant Petition for a Spouse

U.S. Citizen Abroad Filing an Immigrant Petition for a Spouse

Are you a U.S. citizen living abroad and looking to sponsor your spouse for a U.S. green card?

The information below will provide some insight into the process you need to follow to sponsor your spouse.

If you are planning to move back to the United States at or around the same time as your spouse, then you may go ahead and file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If you live in a country that has an USCIS field office, you can file your application with that office. You can check out the list of USCIS international immigration offices here. If not, you need to send your application package to the appropriate USCIS facility in the U.S.

Your spouse will have to go through Consular processing to get an immigrant visa if your petition is approved. This application package needs to include Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, completed by you. This is to show the USCIS that your spouse will not become a public charge, which means they will not become dependent on the government for any benefits. You need to prove to the government that you have the funds to support your spouse.

Since you live abroad, to be eligible for file Form I-864, you need to show that you are domiciled in the U.S. This means, you need to show that your residence abroad is temporary and that you plan to return to the U.S. once the reason for your stay abroad is over. For example, if you are a student, you intend to return to the U.S. after your graduation.

You may be able to prove domicile in one of several ways:

  • Showing that you are temporarily abroad - as a student, for work, volunteering for an NGO, etc.
  • Showing that you are abroad, working for a U.S. employer
  • If you aren’t currently domiciled, you can show that you intend to establish domicile in the U.S. at the same time as or earlier than the date on which your spouse is likely to enter the U.S.


If you are planning to sponsor your spouse for a U.S. green card from abroad, it is best that you contact an immigration attorney for the right guidance.

Need Counsel for Immigration? Call Today.

Immigration law can be complicated and this article does not exhaust all the circumstances surrounding petitioning for a green card for the spouse of a U.S. citizen. These issues can be extremely complex, and a single misstep could potentially lead to a rejection of your application or other immigration penalties. If you have any questions regarding this matter, please do not hesitate to contact our office.

Call our law firm for a consultation today at: (949) 478-4936.

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