Please Note: I am not an attorney. This is not legal advice. Do not take this post as legal advice, as each case is unique. This post is a story about my experience with my spouse during the process of getting my husband’s marriage-based greencard in the US.
When my husband and I processed his permanent residency documents, we had to wait over two years before he had his greencard–and we were afraid to travel until then. Please note: I am NOT an attorney, and this post is NOT legal advice! It has been several years since we processed our documents, so laws and processes may have changed. Check the USCIS website or with an attorney for the most current information.
For the spouses of US citizens in the USA who have filed paperwork, it can take a long time before the spouse can safely leave and return to the US depending on the status and visa of the foreign spouse. If you have filed your paperwork with USCIS, try calling their hotline at 1-800-870-3676 to see what the estimated wait time will be. (For information on various types of cases, browse immigration discussion boards on the sites of law firms or ask an immigration attorney online–but remember the information posted often comes from members of the public, only sometimes from attorneys. )
My husband had overstayed his B-2 visa when we were married. Therefore while his documents were processing, had he left the US without permission from USCIS, he would have been barred from re-entering the country. At that time, we could have used Advanced Parole to get permission to travel while his documents were processing–however, we heard of families how had trouble re-entering even WITH Advanced Parole. For us, it was a very easy decision to stay in the US until my husband had his greencard in hand.