A simple marriage procedure to bring your spouse to the U.S. can take as little as four months if all goes well, or it could take up to four years, depending on your marital status and individual circumstances, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
If you need guided information from our immigration lawyers in US, you can contact us directly using the details given on the website. Here’s what you need to know about the marriage visa process and how long it will take to bring your spouse to the United States after marriage.
Immigration Process Overview
Before we talk about how long it takes, let’s cover what you should expect in general. Your future spouse will need to apply for an immigrant visa, which grants them permission to reside permanently in USA.
If you marry outside of the USA and then decide that you want your partner to move here, they must first obtain:
1) Permanent residence status
2) K-1 visa (for fiance).
The process is similar for both. First, your future spouse needs to be approved for their green card through one of several different types of visas. It’s important to note that these numbers are only estimates and could change depending on your situation and where you live in USA. For example, if you live in a state with more immigration judges than average (i.e., California), it could take longer than normal—and if you live near an international border, there may be increased security checks on applicants which can slow down processing times as well.
Date of Interview in U.S. Embassy
The typical interview timeline for most cases will be between two (2) and three (3) months from filing. Processing times may vary depending on a person’s circumstances. Contact your Embassy in case you require answers about your case. The waiting time depends greatly on what type of visa is applied for and when you applied for it. Most nonimmigrant visas require an in-person interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad prior to travel to the U.S.
Waiting for Visa to be Issued
Once you have filed your petition and supporting evidence, you will receive an appointment notice in the mail with instructions on what documents are required. Before you appear at your appointment, everything should be ready. Have all of your supporting documents gathered and organized, including originals or certified copies of all necessary documents (such as birth certificates, passport pages listing description of the bearer, etc.) as well as photocopies of these same documents; don’t forget to include applicable visa photographs. About 15 to 20 minutes are enough for an appointment. Most people will receive their interview decision within 3-5 business days following their appointment date.
K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa Application
US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) doesn’t list an official processing time for spouse visas. However, there are factors that affect how quickly your application is processed. In 2015, most applications were finalized within 10 months of filing. You can check processing times for Form I-129F here. Before you apply for a K-1 visa, talk with your fiancé(e) about what would happen if USCIS denies their application and how long they’d be able to stay in America before returning home.
Documents Needed by The Applicant
Before applying for an immigration petition, you’ll need to get your marriage certificate, which can be filed along with your petition. The documents below are also generally required: Proof of citizenship (usually a birth certificate or passport) and proof of U.S. residency (utility bills, lease agreement). You will also have to submit fingerprints and photographs at your local USCIS office. For marriage in another country, you will need more documentation. For example, if one partner is not a U.S. citizen—but is legally residing in America on another visa—they will have to leave and re-enter before getting married so that their status can be transferred over to a green card holder.
Documents Needed by The Sponsor (US Citizen/Green Card Holder)
The couple must submit proof of a valid marriage. The standard is in good faith, which means that there must be an intent to stay married for life and that both parties are legally able to marry. Some common documents include: Divorce decrees, death certificates of prior spouses, letters from attorneys or judges testifying that your relationship began before you got married, and sworn affidavits from family members (or friends) who can testify as to when you began your relationship with your new fiancee. For US citizens seeking spouses who are in another country, many countries issue their own marriage certificate; if you don’t have one of these, then additional evidence will be required.
Dealing with Medical Exam, Police Clearance Certificate, FBI Fingerprinting and Other Procedures
If you are sponsoring your spouse, one of your first steps will be obtaining proof that your partner is eligible for a green card. You’ll have to go through police fingerprinting, as well as get some documents from hospitals and health care providers. Your application process may vary depending on whether you’re in or outside of the country, but typically will consist of submitting I-130 Form and supporting documents that prove both parties’ identity and legal status in their current location. If everything goes smoothly with USCIS processing, it takes at least one year after medical exams and interviews for an immigrant visa interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad.
Dating Outside of The Marriage Premise (Validity of K-1 Visa)
If you’re married, you can petition for your spouse to come live with you in America as an immediate relative. But what if one or both of you are no longer married? You can still petition, but under different rules and with less certain outcomes. Spouses who fall into these categories (filing together, separated before marriage) may apply for non-immigrant visas as following-to-join dependents: K1 and K3 visas. Hope this article was helpful for you.
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