For purposes of immigrating to the United States, a spouse is generally considered to be a lawfully married husband or wife. A common law partner might qualify as a spouse under the laws of the nation where the marriage took place, but merely living together doesn’t qualify. For nations that recognize polygamy, only a first spouse will be considered for purposes of immigration. A same sex spouse is eligible for a spousal immigrant visa. Learn more about the family immigration laws regarding your spouse below.
How Do I Get Started?
In order to begin the immigration process for a spouse to join you in the United States, a Petition for Alien Relative Form I-130 must be filed with U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). The USCIS encourages petitions to be filed online. A Form I-864 Affidavit of Support will also be required. The affiant must be at least 18 years of age and domiciled in the United States.
Petitioner’s Change of Status
If a petitioner was a lawful permanent resident at the time of filing of the I-130, and he or she is now a U.S. citizen, the National Visa Center needs to be updated on that change of status. That notification can expedite processing. Petitioners need only forward copies of their U.S. passport biodata page or their Certificate of Naturalization. If you are a U.S. citizen and have separate, immigration petitions must be filed for each of them. If children were born in another country after a petitioner became a U.S. citizen, they’re likely to qualify for U.S. citizenship and a U.S. passport.
If you intend on obtaining an immigrant petition for your spouse, here’s what USCIS requires you to submit:
- The signed Form I-864 or 864EZ .
- Passports that are valid for six months after the date of entry into the United States.
- Two 2X2 inch photos. See the following link for photo requirements.
- These requirements are best explained in the following link for Documents the Applicant Must Submit.
- Completed medical examination forms.
The Visa Interview
After all necessary paperwork has been submitted, the applicant’s file and all supporting documentation is forwarded to the U.S. embassy or consulate where the spouse is located. A visa interview appointment will be made. The husband, wife and any attorneys that might be involved will be notified of the date, time and location of the interview by email or regular mail if no email is available. Passports and any other documentation not previously submitted should be brought to the interview. Digital fingerprints will be taken at the interview and original documents will most likely be returned at that time.
Certain vaccination requirements apply to any person seeking lawful entry into the United States. Detailed information on them can be found at the attached link. Having appropriate vaccination records ready and on hand will be of great help. If no such records are available, the doctor who examines your spouse for their physical examination will advise as to what vaccinations are needed.
Entry Into the United States
Issuance of a visa allows a spouse to travel to a port of entry, but it doesn’t necessarily allow entry into the U.S. Only an authorized U.S. Customs and Border Patrol official at the port of entry can authorize admission.
Conditional Residence for Marriages of Less Than Two Years
If you’ve been married for less than two years before your spouse arrives in the United States, and all required documentation and paperwork is in order, conditional residence should be granted. Both parties to the marriage must apply together to remove conditional status within 90 days of the two-year anniversary off the spouse’s entry into the U.S.
Full and complete documentation and paperwork is critical in bringing your spouse to the United States as soon as possible. Errors, omissions or failure to provide complete documentation and paperwork can significantly delay processing or even result in refusal to issue a visa. Our objective is to get everything right the first time and have the spousal immigration visa issued as early as possible. Contact us here at Maison Law Immigration Lawyers in Bakersfield with your questions about a spousal visa for your husband or wife.
Contact A California Immigration Lawyer Today
The requirements for the drafting, filing and bringing effective and successful appeals are complex and confusing. Although the law permits it, don’t try to bring an AAO appeal on your own. Contact Maison Law Immigration Lawyers for a consultation on discussing the best course of action for you. We’re in Bakersfield and handle cases throughout the Central Valley. As strict deadlines for bringing appeals exist, it’s critical that you take action on bringing your appeal right away. We want to help you with your dream of living and working in the United States.