Can I apply for permanent residency with an I visa?

This week in my Consulta Migratoria® column I answer the question of a reader who wishes to obtain permanent residency through her future husband.

Each case is different and the answers vary depending on each person's immigration history.

Here I provide general answers to your questions. Please consult with an immigration attorney to receive personalized legal advice before starting any procedure.

This is the column:

I am legally in the U.S. on an I visa. My fiancé is a permanent resident and he wants to help me obtain my permanent residency without me leaving the U.S. after we get married. Is this possible? - Mariateresa V.

Mariateresa, it is possible that your future husband could file a family petition while you remain legally in the United States on an I visa.

The I visa is for representatives of foreign media, including print, radio and television. Examples of temporary workers under this visa class include reporters, editors and film crews who are in the country to record news events or documentaries.

The I visa allows you to live and work temporarily in the U.S. It is also possible to change from the I visa to another immigration status, including permanent residence.

After you get married, your future spouse will have to file a Petition for Alien Relative with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS will approve the petition if you show that you are legally married and that your marriage is not solely for the purpose of obtaining immigration benefits.

If USCIS approves your future spouse's petition, your case will be assigned to the F-2A family category and you will have as your priority date the date when USCIS initially received your future spouse's family petition. Also, you must wait for an immigrant visa to become available for your category before you can apply for permanent residence.

According to the U.S. Department of State Visa Bulletin December 2014.The Department of State is processing F-2A family category cases that were filed before March 22, 2013. This means that there is currently a wait of approximately two years for an immigrant visa to become available for your case.

When a visa becomes available, your situation will need to be analyzed to see if you can apply for permanent residency inside or outside the US.

If you continue to live and work legally in the U.S. or your spouse becomes a U.S. citizen, you may be able to file an adjustment of status application to apply for your immigrant visa within the country.

If the USCIS or an immigration judge determines that you have been unauthorized in the U.S. before an immigrant visa is available to you and your spouse is still a permanent resident of the U.S., you may have to apply for permanent residence abroad.

You will always have to prove that you are admissible to the country. For example, you cannot have committed certain improper acts in your past and your future spouse must prove that he or she can keep you in the country.

Please consult with an immigration attorney before beginning any immigration proceedings inside or outside the U.S.

For more information and immigration tips, read my blog

Send your questions to Include detailed information about your situation to better answer your questions.

Nelson A. Castillo, Esq. is an immigration attorney and author of La Tarjeta Verde: Cómo Obtener la Residencia Permanente en los Estados Unidos (Green Card: How to Obtain Permanent Residence in the United States). He is a past President of the Hispanic National Bar Association and current President of the Los Angeles Westlake South Neighborhood Council. To contact Mr. Castillo's office, please call (213) 537-VISA (8472).

The purpose of this column is to provide general information. No guarantees or predictions can be made as to what the outcome of the information presented by Dr. Nelson A. Castillo will be. The information should not be taken as legal advice for any individual, case or situation. Consult with an immigration attorney for personalized legal advice before beginning any immigration proceedings.