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The Following-To-Join Benefit for Green Card Holder's Spouse


I received my Green Card about 2 months ago, based on an employment-based Immigration of the 2nd preference (EB2). Four months before my I-485 was approved, I went back to my home country and married my girlfriend. How can I bring her into the U.S.?


A Green Card holder who married or had children before the date of obtaining permanent residency (Green Card ) can get “following-to-join” benefits for his or her family members. Through this process, the spouse and children will be able to receive U.S. Green Cards quickly.

The “following-to-join” is not family based immigration, but it is similar to spouse and/or child receiving derivative immigration benefits based on a primary Green Card holder's immigration petition.

The legal permanent resident must first have adjusted status or obtained an immigrant visa through a preference category, and the permanent resident should married before becoming a U.S. permanent resident, and the relationship between the permanent resident and spouse/child is intact at the time of filing. Children of permanent resident must be unmarried and under the age of 21.

The following-to-join is convenient because it allows primary beneficiaries to avoid filing a separate Form I-130 for their spouse or child, greatly expediting the green card approval process.

This means that the Green Card holder do not have to submit a separate Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, for spouse and child, and the spouse will not have to wait any extra time for a visa number to become available. The Green Card holder can file a Form I-824 with the USCIS and let it notify a U.S. Consulate that you are a lawful permanent resident so that your wife and/or child can apply for an U.S. immigrant visa and receive Green Card.




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