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Spouse Visa

Immigrant vs. Non-Immigrant Visas:

Applying to enter the country in order to be with you spouse will of course only be a step in the direction of obtaining permanent status in the United States, but depending upon how the government processes your applications you may have to get a non-immigrant visa before applying for permanent residency.

If the I-129F petition is accepted first by the National Visa Center you will continue to apply for a K-3 non-immigrant visa, but if the I-130 petition is accepted first you will have to apply for either an IR-1 or CR-1 immigrant visa.

Spouse Visa Eligibility:

Obviously in order to obtain a spouse visa you must be a spouse, the difficulty behind this is identifying what a spouse is according to the United States government. Generally a spouse is defined as being a legally married husband and wife. Same sex couples are not recognized for immigration purposes in the United States. Depending upon what country the marriage occurs in common-law marriage may be acceptable. In the case of polygamy, only the first spouse is eligible for a K visa.

Spouse Visa (K-3 non-immigrant visa) Process and Documentation:

Making sure that you have all of the required documentation and properly filled out forms is imperative to your being granted a visa. Double checking all of your papers is strongly encouraged and will lead to significantly less frustration during the process.

The citizen filing a petition for their alien spouse must submit both Form I-130 and Form I-129F at the appropriate offices for its eventual review at the National Visa Center.

Then, the visa applicant must prepare the following documentation for their interview at their country's consular office:

  • Two copies of the DS-156 visa application,
  • An Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration form (DS-230). You will only need to fill out the first part of this form.
  • Applicants filing for a visa at the Montreal, Canada or Juarez, Mexico consulate should contact those establishments for clarification of the application process since it is different at those locations.
  • Your passport will have to be valid and an expiration date that extends at least six months past the expiration of your stay in the United States on this particular visa.
  • Your birth certificate.
  • Your marriage certificate to your citizen spouse.
  • Proof that any previous marriages have been somehow ended whether by divorce documents or a death certificate.
  • You are required to have police certificates supplied by each place you have lived in for at least six months since you were 14 years of age.
  • You will need to be examined by a medical professional who has been approved by the United States Department of Homeland Security medical panel. These doctors are called civil surgeons. Getting certain inoculations is optional for getting a K-1 or K-2 visa, but you will have to obtain these vaccines in order to become a citizen, so it might be a good idea to just get them out of the way.
  • An I-134 form may be required by the consular officer in order to prove that you have adequate financial support.
  • Duplicate two inch by two inch photographs will be necessary. A local photographer should be familiar with the photographic requirements.
  • You will likely be required by the embassy or consulate officer to prove that you're married to your husband or wife. This could come in the form of wedding photographs children's birth certificates or other documentation that would indicate that you are indeed married.

Fees Associated with K-3 and K-4 Visas:

  • $420 for a Petition for an Alien Relative (I-130)
  • $340 for an Alien FiancÚ petition (I-129F)
  • $240 for the visa processing fee associated with form DS-156.
  • Cost of medical bills associated with the medical examination and inoculations. These costs vary depending upon where the services take place.
  • Costs accompanying obtaining necessary documentation, photographs and photocopies should also be kept in mind.

Then, when applying for a green card, you will need:

  • $985 to file the Application to Register Permanent Residence for the principal visa applicant.
  • $85 fee for biometrics, although there are some exceptions to this.
  • $635 for each child of the marriage applying for permanent residence.

IR-1 and CR-1 Immigration Visas:

The process for a spouse immigrant visa is different from a spouse non-immigrant visa and it should be noted that for an IR-1 or CR-1 visa:

  • Your passport needs to only be valid for two months after the visa's expiration.
  • You will need to determine an appropriate affidavit of support to submit. Forms available are:
    • Form I-864 or Form I-864EZ which shows the government that you are financially stable enough to not become a burden upon the United States. Your sponsor will also need proof of employment and a transcript of their complete tax return. Upon submittal either an Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien registration (OF-230) or an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (I-485) should also be submitted.
    • Form I-864A which is filled out by someone who is not being sponsored who promises to help support the sponsor with their assets or income. A hypothetical situation: Say that the citizen sponsor does not have the financial means to support their spouse, but the father or mother of their spouse intends to support them both the I-864A would be filled out in fulfillment of this requirement.
    • Form I-864W which establishes that you are exempt from the need to demonstrate that you have the financial means to support yourself. Although you still need either an OF-230 or I-485 form upon submittal in order to become a permanent resident.
  • Both parts of the DS-230 Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration form, or, alternatively, you can fill out the DS-260 Online Immigrant Visa Application and Registration form.
  • Medical examination forms and the two photographs as required by the visa process.
  • Civil documents which include:
    • Birth certificate with your date of birth, place of birth, names of both of your parents and some indication that it comes from an authority such as a stamp or seal.
    • Court and prison records with information about any crimes you may have been charged with and the sentence if you were found guilty.
    • You will need Form I-212 if you have ever been deported from the United States in order to re-enter the country.
    • A marriage certificate from the appropriate authority.
    • Some sort of proof that your previous marriage was terminated if your current marriage is not your first.
    • Your military record if you served in the military of any country.
    • A copy of your passport biography page.
    • Police certificates from any country that you have resided in for six months or more when you were at least 16 years of age or older.
    • Birth records or adoption documentation of any children you wish to bring with you on a K-4 visa.
  • An immigrant visa is conditional (CR-1) if you and your spouse have been married for less than two years and you must apply as a couple to remove the conditional status of your visa within 90 days of your two year anniversary.