It’s no secret that getting married can be a very time consuming and costly affair. All kinds of considerations go into planning a wedding: Where will the wedding take place? Who will be attending? Where will they stay while attending the wedding? Who is catering the wedding? And how are we paying for all of this?
When you are marrying an immigrant there are many additional questions that need to be answered: My spouse is currently living overseas, how can s/he move to the US permanently? How long does the process take? Can my spouse visit me in the US while our application is pending at the consulate?
If your spouse is currently living outside of the United States, they will most likely go through consular processing to obtain their permanent resident visa. With consular processing you should first determine if your immigrant spouse has ever lived in the US prior to filing the application. If so, you need to make sure that they didn’t do anything to violate their status when they were in the US. Certain types of violations, like overstaying a visa for a lengthy period could make the immigrant spouse ineligible to enter the US for three or ten years. If they have a deportation order or a criminal history, they could also be barred from entering the US for significant periods of time or even permanently. If you think your spouse has issues in their case, it would be wise to review the matter with an immigration attorney.
Assuming that there are no major immigration issues with the immigrant spouse, you will file an initial set of applications with USCIS. USCIS will issue a receipt notice for the immigrant petition which will verify they have received the application, fees were paid and provide you with a receipt number.
If USCIS approves the initial application, they will forward the application to the National Visa Center (NVC) which is a part of the US State Department. The NVC will acknowledge receipt of the USCIS application and then have you fill out an additional application for the State Department as well as an affidavit of support. You will also have to pay some additional fees online to NVC before they will process these applications for you.
Once NVC has all of the forms and supporting documents from you, they will forward all of the relevant documents to the appropriate US Embassy or Consulate in your spouse’s country. The embassy/consulate will then send additional instructions to your immigrant spouse regarding what to bring to their interview and how to obtain a medical exam. They will also assign a date and time for the immigrant spouse to attend an interview at the embassy/consulate. In most cases, only the immigrant spouse is allowed at the interview. The US citizen spouse is often discouraged, or even prohibited, from waiting at the embassy/consulate while the interview is being conducted.
After the interview is completed the immigrant is told whether the application has been approved. If approved, they are provided with a sealed packet to provide to the US customs officer upon their arrival in the US. A few weeks after arrival in the US the immigrant is issued either a conditional green card valid for two years or an unrestricted green card valid for ten years. If your marriage is less than two years old at the time of your interview the immigrant spouse receives the conditional green card. If the marriage is over two years old at the time of the interview the immigrant spouse will receive the ten-year green card.
Contact Dhanani Law Firm Today
At Dhanani Law Firm, we understand the hopes, fears and frustrations you and your family experience when seeking a visa to the U.S. Many of our own friends and relatives are themselves foreign born and have gone through the immigration process. As a result, we are sensitive to the needs of those seeking an opportunity to work and prosper in the U.S.A.
Call (404) 593-0434 to schedule a consultation with immigration attorney Rahim Dhanani. We are here to help you with your immigration visa needs.