Are you looking to join a spouse in the United States?
The United States immigration policy is committed to providing opportunities for family reunification in the country. This includes allowing spouses of a U.S. citizen or valid Green Card holder to join their partner in the U.S., as either a permanent resident or under a non-immigration visa, called a K-3 visa.
The timeframe between submission of your spousal visa application and approval can vary greatly. The optimal process for obtaining a spousal visa can vary by situation. The involvement of a knowledgeable immigration attorney from Greco Neyland can vastly improve the efficiency and success of the spousal visa process.
What Is the Process of Obtaining a Spousal Visa?
Many people mistakenly believe that filing a visa application is the first step in the spousal visa process. However, like many other Green Card categories, a spousal visa requires submission of Form I-130. This form is also called Petition for Alien Relative and must be submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The request in Form I-130 is made by the spouse that has U.S. citizenship or permanent residency, on behalf of the spouse with citizenship in a foreign country. Submission of this petition is mandatory before any immigration-status visa application can be filed with the USCIS.
After submission and approval of Form I-130, a visa application can be filed – but this is hardly the final step in the process. For some couples, the entire process takes a few months, while others could wait over a year. As a visa interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate is required, vaccinations and medical examinations required, and other potential requirements requested by USCIS.
The final approval is often a conditional residency that requires an extension of a previously approved visa and later steps for naturalization as a U.S. citizen.
Are You Eligible?
To obtain either an immigration or non-immigration spousal visa, the applicant couple must meet the definition of spouse. Under U.S. law, a spouse is a legally wedded husband or wife – all other forms of partnership and relationship don’t qualify for these visa schemes. For example, individuals living together or with comingled finances, even for an extended period of time, do not qualify as spouses and the foreign national must apply for permanent residency under a different visa or Green Card category.
In some situations, common law marriage does qualify the couple as spouses, but it isn’t universally accepted. The determination is made based on the country where the common law marriage took place. In many instances, couples in a common law marriage will need to find sponsorship or valid visa opportunities through employment, visitor visas, or study until a legal marriage is performed.
Of course, in addition to verifying your marital status, a couple must also confirm that one partner is a U.S. citizen or U.S. legal resident. This applies to each of the three types of visas available to spousal immigrants or temporary visitors.
|Spousal Visas:||Eligibility Requirements:|
|1. Conditional Residency Visa:
|Visa applicable to individuals married less than two years.
Provides permanent residency to non-U.S. citizen spouse on a conditional basis. After two years of marriage, spouses can apply for Removal Conditions 90 days prior to the expiration of conditional visa to receive a 10-year Green Card.
Often a delay, a couple months, in approval for a spouse to work in the United States.
|2. Immediate Relative Visa:
|Visa applicable to individuals married two years or more.
Results in 10-year Green Card for non-U.S. citizen spouse with an option for renewal. Foreign national can work immediately upon arrival in the United States.
|3. Nonimmigrant Visa for Spouse:
|Available for spouses and children of U.S. citizens and legal residents to reside in the country under nonimmigrant status until an immigrant visa CR1 or IR1 is approved.
Application for K-3 visa must be filed and approved while the applicant is outside the United States.
Can file an application for work authorization while in the United States.
To confirm other eligibility requirements for spousal visas, speak with the immigration legal team at Greco Neyland Attorneys at Law. If you don’t confirm the necessary requirements for each spousal visa scheme, then you’re likely to miss an essential qualification or piece of information on the application – resulting in a rejection by the USCIS.
Was your spousal visa application denied due to lack of documentation or inaccuracies?
Los Angeles Immigration Lawyers
The qualified immigration lawyers at Greco Neyland in Los Angles provide a full range of immigration legal services, from defense to deportation and representation of DACA Dreamers to advocating for asylum seekers. On this broad spectrum, our team has built a strong practice in temporary visa and permanent residency applications. Our knowledge and experience navigating these processes make Greco Neyland one of L.A.’s top immigration law firms.
We are L.A.’s visa lawyers, and we are here to help.
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