If you are a United States citizen or permanent resident who is married to a non-citizen, you probably have questions about the immigrant visa process. Below are answers to some of the common questions about the immigrant visa process for spouses.
Who qualifies for an immigrant visa based on marriage?
If you are the spouse of a United States citizen or permanent resident, you may be eligible for an immigrant visa. To qualify, you must show that the marriage was entered into to establish a joint life together as husband and wife. In addition, it is very important to review the grounds of inadmissibility before you apply for an immigrant visa. If any of the grounds of inadmissibility apply, you will not qualify for an immigrant visa unless you are able to get a waiver of the inadmissibility.
How do you apply for an immigrant visa for your husband or wife?
There are two basic steps to applying for an immigrant visa for your husband or wife:
Step 1: Immigrant visa petition
The immigrant visa petition process begins when a United States citizen or permanent resident submits a Form I-130 on behalf of their spouse. This form requests that your spouse be allowed to immigrate to the United States. If you are a United States citizen, your spouse will be classified as an “immediate relative.” This means that you will not have to wait for an immigrant visa to be made available and will be able to move on to the consular processing stage as soon as the petition is approved. If you are a permanent resident, you will need to wait until an immigrant visa number becomes available before moving on to the consular processing stage.
Step 2: Consular processing
The consular processing stage begins after the immigrant visa petition is approved and the petition package is forwarded to the National Visa Center. The National Visa Center will send you instructions for paying the immigrant visa fee and the fee for processing the affidavit of support. You will need to submit the immigrant visa application along with the supporting documents and the affidavit of support to the National Visa Center. After the National Visa Center receives all of the required documents, your spouse will be scheduled for an immigrant visa interview at their local consulate or embassy. Assuming that all goes well at the interview, your spouse will be issued an immigrant visa and will be able to join you in the United States as a lawful permanent resident.