I Will Go to the Consulate in My Home Country Before Entering the U.S.
If you are outside the US, or cannot adjust status due to an illegal entry and must leave the US, you must process your application through the consulate of your home country. The main steps are:
A. I-130 and supporting evidence to USCIS: This form is used to prove you have a good-faith marriage to a US citizen
B. DS-160 and supporting evidence to National Visa Center: This application is used to apply for an immigrant visa, which allows you to enter the country as a permanent resident.
C. Interview at the consulate
D. Apply for waivers if you are subject to grounds of inadmissibility, such as prior unlawful presence in the US, prior deportations, or certain criminal convictions. Typically, you have to show that your absence from the US will cause an extreme hardship to a US citizen or permanent resident relative. If you need a waiver, its advisable to speak to an attorney to help you prepare your application as this is a high burden of proof that requires the presentation of a compelling argument as well as extensive documentation to be approved.
E. If all of the above is approved, you will be issued either a permanent resident card (if married more than 2 years) or a conditional permanent resident card (if married less than 2 years). If conditional, you must apply to lift the conditions.
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