Spouse Visa USA Processing Times

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Bringing Your Spouse to the USA

Foreign spouses who marry U.S. citizens or Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) do not automatically gain permanent residency or citizenship. In order to get your spouse a green card, which is a permanent residency card, an application must be made to the U.S. Department of State.

There are several requirements, so it might be hard to understand or figure out the process alone. Hiring the services of a family immigration lawyer could make the immigrant visa process smoother and much less stressful for you.

General Spousal Visa Information

Most petitions require that the petitioner be a U.S. citizen. However, citizens living abroad may also be able to petition their spouses from abroad.

Having lawful permanent resident status, like a green card, makes you eligible to petition the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for a category F2A green card for your spouse.

For citizens, spouse petitions must be filed under the I.R. (Immediate Relative) category. If you were a permanent resident when you filed your petition and became a citizen before it was approved, you would need to update it with the USCIS.

 

Spousal Visa Process

Spousal visas typically follow the following steps:

  • Fill out Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) with the USCIS and wait for approval

  • The form is approved and sent to the National Visa Center

  • NVC instructs you on the necessary fees to pay and required supporting documentation to provide

  • An interview is conducted, and the visa is issued if successful

  • The spouse receives their green card upon arriving in the U.S

How Long Does a Spousal Visa Take?

Generally, U.S. citizens’ spouses receive green cards faster than green card holders’ spouses. This is because LPR spouses are placed on a waiting list and given a priority date after filing their petition, unlike citizen spouses. The immigrant visa application cannot be continued until the priority date becomes current on the visa bulletin.

The spousal green card process can take two to three years for permanent residents, whereas the process can take a year or a year and a half for citizens.

Fiancé(e) Visa vs Spouse Visa

If you and your partner are not yet married, you may initiate a fiancé visa process for them. The processing time is usually shorter and may be concluded in about six months. Instead of form I-130, the U.S. citizen spouse has to fill out form I-129F.

The fiance usually has 90 days from the time they enter the country to get married before they can apply for a green card. However, only a citizen can sponsor their fiancé(e) for a visa.

 

Adjustment of Status for a Foreign Spouse

 

In cases where the alien spouse is already in the United States on a temporary visa, they can apply for a green card without leaving the country through an adjustment of status. An adjustment of status lawyer can guide you through this process.

How Can an Immigration Law Firm Help?

An experienced immigration firm can help you fill and file your forms appropriately to avoid complications that could lengthen the processing time. They will also be able to help you overcome any legal hiccups along the way.

Speak to a Boynton Beach immigration lawyer from the Law Offices of Leonelba Martinez to kickstart your immigration process today!