If you are a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident who marries a foreign national, you will likely want to bring your new spouse to the United States as quickly as possible. Getting them the status that they need to live and work in the country indefinitely will require obtaining a green card through the marriage visa process.
Because the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is perpetually suspicious of marriage fraud, obtaining a marriage-based green card can sometimes be especially challenging, especially for newer marriages.
Our Orlando marriage visa lawyers at Angel Law Firm, PL can give you the legal guidance that you need throughout the petitioning process. We can help you avoid common application mistakes, gather the necessary evidence of your marriage, and prepare you for your interview with USCIS.
How the Marriage Visa Process Works
Once you are married and are ready to pursue a green card for your spouse, you will need to complete Form I-130, the Petition for Alien Relative. This application will establish that your marriage is legitimate and therefore your spouse is eligible for a green card.
USCIS heavily scrutinizes marriage-based visa applications for evidence of fraud. “Fraudulent marriages” are those in which a couple marries only to facilitate lawful permanent residency and are not based in any actual union. For this reason, you will also need to provide ample evidence of your marriage with your petition.
Evidence that you should consider including with your marriage visa petition includes:
- Photographs of you and your spouse together
- Estate planning documents naming each other as primary beneficiaries
- Evidence of any children
- Documentation and photographs of your wedding
- Joint credit card statements
- Joint bank statements
- Joint insurance policies
- Joint mortgage, lease, or rental agreements
After submitting Form I-130, you may receive a “Request for Evidence” from USCIS. This can occur if there was an omission in the original petition packet or if the agency is not satisfied with the amount of evidence provided. We can help you efficiently respond to these requests and avoid other common application errors.
Next comes a lengthy waiting period, the extent of which will depend on whether the sponsoring relative is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. U.S. citizens can sponsor their spouses through the “immediate relatives” category, which has no annual cap and consequently enjoys faster processing times.
Lawful permanent residents must sponsor their spouses through the family preference category, which does institute an annual cap. This means you must wait for a visa to become available after your petition has been processed by USCIS.
Once USCIS approves your petition and a visa becomes available, your spouse will need to formally apply for their green card through either adjustment of status or consular processing. Adjustment of status is used if they are already in the United States on a nonimmigrant visa, while consular processing is completed through a U.S. embassy abroad.
Both adjustments of status and consular processing involve submitting additional documentation, application materials, and identifying information. This will include submitting to a medical exam by a USCIS-approved doctor.
Finally, your spouse will need to participate in an in-person interview conducted by a USCIS official. If your spouse is abroad, this interview will take place in their home country’s U.S. embassy or consulate, and you will not attend. Should your spouse already be in the United States, you will attend the interview with them at your local USCIS office. The interview is meant to ensure that your marriage is not fraudulent and will involve reviewing your application materials.
If the USCIS official conducting your interview is satisfied, your spouse’s green card will be approved and promptly issued via mail. Our Orlando marriage visa lawyers can guide you through each step of the process and work with you to overcome any obstacles that you might encounter.
Contact our firm today to schedule your initial consultation.
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