If you are married to a US criticize or a green card holder and you wish to join your spouse in the US, or if you are a US citizen or green card holder and you wish to bring your spouse to the US, applying for a US spouse visa is the pathway to reunite with your loved ones. The US spouse visa is also known as the marriage-based immigrant visa or the CR-1 or IR-1 visa. The process of applying for this type of visa requires a well-planned careful navigation process and also requires certain documents. In this blog post, we will be providing you with the necessary information on how to apply for a US spouse visa and also the necessary documents that you will need to apply for the visa.
Step-by-Step Guide on How to Apply For US Spouse Visa
Follow these steps to apply for your US spouse visa and enjoy a hassle-free application process:
Step 1: Determine Your Eligibility
Before you begin your visa application, the most crucial thing you need to do is to determine your eligibility. You need to ensure you meet all eligibility criteria. If you apply for the visa without meeting the eligibility criteria, your visa application is most likely to get rejected. To qualify for the US spouse visa, you must be married to a US citizen or a green card holder (also known as a permanent resident). You must be able to provide documents supporting your marriage claims and prove that your marriage is a genuine one and not just for immigration benefits.
Step 2: File an Immigrant Petition (Form I-130)
After confirming your eligibility, the next thing is for your spouse (US citizen or permanent resident) to file the immigrant petition called the Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130) with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The form will establish the relationship between the US citizen or permanent resident and the intending immigrant. Filing this form initiates the visa application process. You will need to proved the necessary documentation to prove your ties with the US citizen or PR such as a marriage certificate and proof of legal status.
Step 3: Obtain Approval from the USCIS
After filing the Form I-130 petition, you need to patiently wait for USCIS to process and approve it. The processing time may vary due to certain factors. You can check the USCIS official website for the current processing time. Once your Form I-130 is approved, the USCIS will forward your petition to the National Visa Centre ((NVC) for further processing.
Sometimes, you might need to apply for an immigrant visa using Form DS-260. When you are filling out the form, you must make sure the information you provide on the form correlates with the information on your passport. The information you provide on Form DS-260 will be used to process your visa application. For this, you must make sure you thoroughly and correctly fill out the form.
Step 4: Complete a Medical Exam
The next step for you is to undergo a medical examination by an authorized physician. The purpose of this is to ensure that the intending immigrant meets the health requirements for US immigration. The list of approved physicians will be provided by the US Embassy or consulate in the applicant’s home country. The embassy or consulate will also provide instructions on how to proceed with the examination and what other steps should follow.
Step 5: Pay the Visa Processing Fee and Submit the Required Documents
Once the USCIS approves your petition and have forwarded it to the National Visa Center (NVC), you will receive a notification regarding the necessary documentation and how much you are to pay. It is essential to pay the required fees as early as possible and ensure to follow the instructions provided. After making the payment, you will need to provide the necessary supporting documents, as requested by the NVC. These documents include
- Recent passport-size photographs of both you and your spouse.
- A copy of your marriage certificate to establish the marital relationship.
- Documentation to verify any legal name changes that occurred after marriage.
- Evidence confirming the termination of any previous marriages for both you and your spouse.
- Two completed and signed G-325A forms, one for each of you and your spouse.
- If you are a U.S. citizen: Provide proof of your citizenship such as a naturalization certificate, a copy of your U.S. passport, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or your birth certificate.
- If you are a green card holder or permanent resident: Include a copy of your green card (Form I-551, front and back), and a copy of your passport showing the admission stamp when you were granted permanent resident status.
Step 6: Attend a Visa Interview
Once you pay the required fees and submit the necessary documents, the NVC will review the documents and confirm their completeness and accuracy. Once they do this, they will schedule an appointment for you at the US embassy or consulate in which the intending immigrant resides. The major reason for this interview is to verify the documents submitted and evaluate the legitimacy of your marriage. You should however ensure to provide nothing but honest answers and be consistent with your answers. If the consular officer notices any suspicion in your answers or believes you are hiding some truths, he may deny your visa application. You should therefore endeavor to be well-prepared for the interview and remain calm and confident throughout.
Step 7: Receive an Immigrant Visa and Travel to the US
If your visa application is approved, you will be issued a US Immigrant visa, which will be fixed inside your passport. You can now travel to the US as a lawful permanent resident. Once you arrive in the US, you will need to file Form I-485 (application to register permanent residence or Adjustment form) to adjust your status.
After filing this form, a green card will be mailed to the designated US address your spouse provided. The green card will provide you with the rights and benefits enjoyed by permanent residents in the US.
The process of applying for a US spouse visa can be quite overwhelming. However, with proper and careful preparation, documentation and sticking to the provided application procedure, you can navigate the process successfully. The application process, requirements or fees can vary from time to time, it is therefore important to stay updated with the USCIS and US embassy or consulate websites for the most accurate and up-to-date information. Good luck with your US spouse visa application.