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How to Bring Your Spouse to the USA Legally as an American Citizen

Bringing your spouse to the United States can be a life-changing event, and understanding the legal process involved is crucial for a smooth transition. This blog will guide you through the steps, requirements, and best practices to bring your husband or wife to the USA legally as an American citizen.

Understanding the Process

The process to bring your spouse to the United States involves several steps and can take time. The main routes are through a spouse visa (CR-1 or IR-1) or a K-3 visa. Here’s an overview:

Spouse Visa (CR-1/IR-1)

  1. Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130):
    • File Form I-130 with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This form establishes your relationship with your spouse.
    • Provide evidence of a bona fide marriage, such as marriage certificates, photos, joint financial records, and affidavits from friends and family.
  2. Approval and Forwarding to National Visa Center (NVC):
    • Once USCIS approves the I-130, the case is forwarded to the NVC for further processing.
    • NVC assigns a case number and requests additional documents and fees.
  3. Submitting Documents and Fees:
    • Submit required civil documents, financial affidavits, and pay the necessary fees to the NVC.
    • Complete the Online Immigrant Visa Application (Form DS-260).
  4. Interview at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate:
    • Once the NVC processes your case, it is sent to the U.S. embassy or consulate in your spouse’s home country.
    • Your spouse will attend an interview, where they will need to bring original documents and undergo a medical examination.
  5. Visa Approval and Entry to the USA:
    • If approved, your spouse will receive an immigrant visa.
    • Upon entering the USA, your spouse will be granted lawful permanent resident status (green card).

K-3 Visa

  1. Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130):
    • File Form I-130 with USCIS as described above.
  2. Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) (Form I-129F):
    • File Form I-129F with USCIS to apply for a K-3 nonimmigrant visa for your spouse to enter the USA while the I-130 is processed.
  3. Consular Processing:
    • The approved I-129F is sent to the U.S. embassy or consulate in your spouse’s country for the visa interview.
  4. Visa Approval and Entry to the USA:
    • If approved, your spouse will enter the USA on a K-3 visa and can apply for adjustment of status to become a permanent resident.

Required Documents

  • Proof of Citizenship: Your birth certificate, naturalization certificate, or passport.
  • Marriage Certificate: To prove the legal marriage.
  • Proof of Termination of Prior Marriages: Divorce decrees or death certificates if applicable.
  • Photographs: Passport-style photos of both you and your spouse.
  • Evidence of Relationship: Photos, joint financial records, correspondence, etc.
  • Affidavit of Support (Form I-864): To prove you can financially support your spouse.

Common Challenges and Tips

  1. Documentation: Ensure all documents are accurate, complete, and translated into English if necessary.
  2. Financial Requirements: Meet the income requirements to sponsor your spouse. If your income is insufficient, a co-sponsor can help.
  3. Evidence of Genuine Marriage: Provide strong evidence to avoid suspicions of a marriage of convenience.
  4. Medical Examination: Ensure your spouse completes the required medical examination by an approved physician.
  5. Legal Assistance: Consider hiring an immigration attorney to navigate complex situations or if your case has unique challenges.

After Arrival

Once your spouse arrives in the USA, there are a few steps to complete:

  1. Green Card: If entered on an immigrant visa (CR-1/IR-1), the green card will be mailed to your address.
  2. Adjustment of Status: If entered on a K-3 visa, file Form I-485 for adjustment of status to become a permanent resident.
  3. Social Security Number (SSN): Apply for an SSN for your spouse.
  4. Employment Authorization: If your spouse does not have immediate work authorization, apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

Start Your Journey

Our experienced immigration attorneys are here to help. Contact Rebecca Black Immigration, PA today for a consultation and let us guide you through every step of bringing your spouse to the USA legally and efficiently. Your journey to reunite with your loved one begins with us!

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The content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Readers should not act upon any information presented on this blog without seeking professional legal counsel. The opinions expressed at or through this blog are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney. Please consult with an attorney regarding your specific legal situation.

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