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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    1

    Default Overseas Marriage, and Getting Permanent Residency For A Spouse

    1st post here

    I am an American citizen living in Italy and married to an Italian national. We were married 6 & 1/2 months ago. I contacted the American consulate in Milan to ask whether I needed to register our marriage for it to be recognized and was told no. At the point we weren't planning to apply for American citizenship for her.

    Six months on and we've decided to look into the process for her obtaining American citizenship. I spoke to the American Embassy in Rome this past Friday and was told that she would have to first apply for permanent residency, have an interview at another consulate in Naples and than over the course of the next 3 years she would have to live 18 months in the U.S.

    I have a few questions I'm hoping (praying!) you guys can help me with.

    1. What is with this CONDITIONAL permanent residency a.k.a. green card I keep reading about. It seems like this should have been awarded her once we were married and the folks at the American Consulate in Milan didn't mention it. What do I need to do to get this for her AND is it possible they'll back date it?

    OR was I supposed to know about this entire CONDITIONAL permanent residency and have applied for it immediately after the marriage took place (it was performed here in Italy). BLAH!

    2. While reading "A Guide to Naturalization" I'm seeing two different things. One is that my wife must remain in the United States for 18 months of the 3 years for which she will be granted a "green card." I am also seeing that at least in some cases it is possible that the foreign spouse can leave the country for up to 364 days and return. In addition to that it says that those 364 days can be credited towards my wifes continuous physical presence going towards satisfying her permanent residency requirement of 18 months within the 3 years. This would be optimal if possilble because my wife works for the Italian state and we'd prefer to actually move to the U.S. in another year and a half at the earliest. In this case we could come over for a month, leave for 364 days and then return and already have 1 year and 1 month credited to her continuous physical presence in the U.S. I'm sure it's not possible, because it seems they want to make this so complicated especially when I compare it to my requirements for acquiring Italian citizenship. Please tell me it is possible! :unsure:

    Many, many thanks guys!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,846

    Default Re: Overseas Marriage, and Getting Permanent Residency For A Spouse

    Conditional permanent residency is just that - a form of permanent residency that has associated conditions. If those conditions are not met, permanent residency may be lost - in this type of case, most typically, if you divorce while the status remains conditional. (It may nonetheless be possible for the immigrant spouse to find a way to keep a Green Card, or remain in the U.S. lawfully under a visa.)

    Permanent residency is not automatic. You must apply for it. You and your spouse did not, so the only relevant date will be the date of your application.

    You can't get permanent U.S. residency unless you are a resident of the United States (or are applying in conjunction with relocating to the United States). A foreign national who is domiciled in a foreign nation is not a U.S. resident, even if married to a U.S. citizen. Her primarily living and working in a foreign nation, not to mention repeated departures for more than six months, should be expected at a minimum to reset the clock on the removal of conditions from her Green Card, and could be deemed an abandonment of her petition.

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