Applying for a spousal visa if married to a green card holder and residing abroad
If you are married to a U.S. lawful permanent resident (green card holder) and you both reside abroad, and you’re seeking to join your spouse in the United States, the process generally involves the following steps:
- File Form I-130:
- The U.S. lawful permanent resident spouse (petitioner) must file Form I-130, “Petition for Alien Relative,” with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This form establishes the qualifying relationship between the petitioner and the foreign spouse.
- Wait for I-130 Approval:
- Once the I-130 petition is approved by USCIS, the petitioner will receive an approval notice.
- Wait for Visa Availability:
- Spouses of green card holders fall into the Family Preference Category (F2A) in the U.S. visa preference system. There is a limited number of visas available in this category each year, and waiting times can vary. You will need to wait for a visa number to become available before proceeding with the visa application.
- National Visa Center (NVC) Processing:
- After a visa number becomes available, the case will be transferred to the National Visa Center (NVC). You will need to pay processing fees, provide additional documentation, and complete Form DS-260, “Immigrant Visa Electronic Application.”
- Consular Processing:
- Once the NVC process is complete, the case will be forwarded to the U.S. embassy or consulate in your country. You will need to attend an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate to determine your eligibility for an immigrant visa.
- Medical Examination:
- As part of the visa process, you will need to undergo a medical examination by an approved physician.
- Attend Visa Interview:
- Attend the visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate. The consular officer will evaluate your eligibility and ask you questions about your relationship and intention to live in the U.S.
- Receive Visa:
- If your visa is approved, you will receive an immigrant visa stamped in your passport, allowing you to travel to the U.S.
- Travel to the U.S.:
- Once you arrive in the U.S., you will go through the immigration inspection process at the port of entry.
- File for Adjustment of Status (if applicable):
- If you enter the U.S. on an immigrant visa, you will need to file for Adjustment of Status (Form I-485) to obtain lawful permanent resident status (green card) after marriage.
Please note that visa processing times can vary, and it’s essential to follow the instructions provided by the U.S. embassy or consulate in your country. Additionally, immigration policies and procedures can change, so always refer to the most current information on the USCIS and U.S. embassy or consulate websites or consult with an immigration attorney for guidance specific to your situation.
Cost of a spousal visa if married to a green card holder and residing abroad
The cost of obtaining a spousal visa (immigrant visa) for a foreign spouse married to a green card holder and residing abroad can include several fees. Keep in mind that fees are subject to change, so it’s crucial to check the most current fees on the official U.S. Department of State website or the website of the U.S. embassy or consulate where you will be applying. Here are some of the fees associated with the spousal visa process:
- Form I-130 Filing Fee:
- The U.S. lawful permanent resident spouse (petitioner) must file Form I-130, “Petition for Alien Relative,” with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). As of my last update, the filing fee was $560.
- National Visa Center (NVC) Processing Fee:
- Once the I-130 petition is approved, the case is transferred to the NVC. The NVC processing fee was $325.
- Affidavit of Support Fee:
- The petitioner must submit Form I-864, “Affidavit of Support,” as part of the visa application. There is no separate fee for Form I-864 itself, but there might be costs associated with gathering required financial documentation.
- Visa Application Fee (DS-260):
- The foreign spouse will need to complete Form DS-260, “Immigrant Visa Electronic Application,” and pay the visa application fee. The fee was $325 as of my last update.
- Medical Examination Fee:
- The foreign spouse will need to undergo a medical examination by an approved physician. The cost of the medical examination can vary based on the country and physician.
- Biometric Fees (if applicable):
- Some U.S. embassies or consulates require biometric collection, which may involve additional fees.
- Consular Interview Fee:
- The foreign spouse will need to pay a consular interview fee before attending the visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate. The fee varies depending on the embassy or consulate.
- Passport and Travel Costs:
- The foreign spouse will need a valid passport for travel, which may incur additional costs.
Please note that the total cost can vary based on individual circumstances, changes in immigration policies, and the specific embassy or consulate where you will be applying. It’s essential to refer to the most current information on official U.S. government websites or contact the U.S. embassy or consulate for accurate and up-to-date fee information. Additionally, consider consulting with an immigration attorney to ensure that you have a comprehensive understanding of the costs associated with the spousal visa process.
How long does it take to obtain a spousal visa if married to a green card holder and residing abroad
The processing time for obtaining a spousal visa when married to a green card holder and residing abroad can vary depending on a number of factors, including the specific visa category, the country where you are applying, and the current processing times of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the U.S. embassy or consulate handling the application.
The two main spousal visa categories are the IR-1/CR-1 visa and the F2A visa. The IR-1/CR-1 visa is for spouses of U.S. citizens or green card holders, while the F2A visa is specifically for spouses of green card holders. The processing time can vary widely, but it’s important to note that obtaining a spousal visa usually involves several steps, including petition filing, document submission, interview scheduling, and security checks.
The USCIS provides estimated processing times on their website, which can give you an idea of how long the different stages might take. The U.S. embassy or consulate where the interview will be conducted also provides estimated wait times for visa appointments. Keep in mind that these processing times can change over time and can be influenced by factors such as changes in immigration policies, the volume of applications, and staffing levels at the consulate or embassy.
It’s recommended to regularly check the USCIS and the U.S. embassy or consulate websites for the most up-to-date information on processing times and requirements. Additionally, seeking legal advice or assistance from an immigration attorney can provide you with more personalized guidance based on your specific situation.
What documents must be submitted for a spousal visa application if the beneficiary is married to a green card and lives abroad?
When applying for a spousal visa as the beneficiary of a green card holder and living abroad, you will generally need to provide a variety of documents to support your application: https://bwea.com/married-to-a-green-card-holder-living-abroad/
Keep in mind that specific requirements can vary depending on the visa category, the country you’re applying from, and any updates in immigration policies. However, here are some common documents that are typically required for a spousal visa application:
- Visa Application Forms: You will need to fill out the appropriate visa application forms. For example, the DS-260 form is commonly used for immigrant visa applications.
- Passport: A valid passport that will not expire within the next six months is generally required.
- Marriage Certificate: A copy of your marriage certificate is required to prove the validity of your marriage.
- Police Clearance Certificate: Some countries require a police clearance certificate from all the countries you have lived in for a certain period. This is to ensure you don’t have a criminal record.
- Medical Examination Results: You will need to undergo a medical examination by a panel physician authorized by the U.S. embassy or consulate.
- Proof of Relationship: This can include photographs of you and your spouse together, evidence of communication (emails, chats, letters), evidence of joint financial accounts or property ownership, etc.
- Affidavit of Support: The U.S. petitioner (the green card holder) will need to submit an Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) to demonstrate their ability to financially support you.
- Proof of U.S. Petitioner’s Green Card Status: Copies of the green card holder’s green card or other evidence of their permanent resident status.
- Financial Documents: Both the beneficiary and the U.S. petitioner may need to provide financial documents to show financial stability, including tax returns, pay stubs, employment verification, etc.
- Visa Photos: Typically, two passport-sized photos meeting specific requirements are required.
- Fee Payment Receipts: Proof of payment for the visa application and any other associated fees.
- Proof of Legal Entry: If the beneficiary has ever been to the United States before, documentation of their legal entry and departure might be required.
Remember that requirements can change, so it’s crucial to check the official website of the U.S. embassy or consulate where you plan to apply for the most up-to-date information and guidance. It’s also recommended to consult with an immigration attorney to ensure that you’re providing all the necessary documents and meeting all the requirements for your specific situation.