Marriage Visa Lawyer

Visas For Spouses

Deciding to get married is a big enough step for anyone, but choosing to marry a foreign national will involve additional legal steps you might not have thought about. 

If you are planning to sponsor your spouse, the marriage visa lawyers at Bashyam Global Immigration Law Group can provide guidance through every step of the marriage visa application process. Our team of immigration lawyers is dedicated to helping you achieve your immigration goals and reunite with your loved ones as quickly as possible.

Speaking with an experienced immigration attorney to explain your different options will help put your mind at ease and make the process an enjoyable one! Contact us today for a consultation.

marriage visas for spouses

What is a Marriage Visa Lawyer?

A marriage visa lawyer is a specialized professional who can help you navigate the complex and ever-changing landscape of US immigration laws. These attorneys have experience assisting couples in obtaining marriage visas, which allow one partner to live in the United States while married.

What Are the Benefits of Having a Marriage Immigration Attorney?

There are various advantages to hiring a marriage immigration lawyer, including the following:

Avoiding expensive errors:

Even a tiny mistake in your immigration process can lead to costly delays or application denial. An attorney can help you evade these mistakes and ensure that your application is handled accurately from beginning to end.

Keeping you up-to-date:

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) policies frequently change, and keeping up with the latest developments can be difficult. An attorney can inform you about any changes affecting your case and guide you on the most appropriate course of action.

Simplifying the process:

The family-based immigration application process can be time-consuming and intricate. A lawyer can assist you in navigating the process more efficiently, ensuring that your application is submitted correctly, all necessary documents are included, and all deadlines are met.

Improving your chances of success:

The most significant advantage of hiring an immigration lawyer is that they can significantly increase your chances of success. With their expertise, experience, and comprehension of the laws and regulations surrounding family-based immigration, they can help you present the strongest case possible.

What Are the Benefits of Having a Raleigh NC Marriage Immigration Attorney?

What is A Marriage Visa?

A spousal visa is an immigration document that allows your spouse to enter and remain lawfully in the United States as a Lawful Permanent Resident or green card holder. Both US citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents can petition their spouses.  A marriage visa differs from a fiancé visa because the legal spousal relationship already exists. 

What are the Requirements For A Marriage Visa?

To be eligible for a spousal visa, the following requirements must be met:

– The marriage must be legally valid in the US and in the foreign country where the couple was married.

– Both parties must have been free to marry at the time of the wedding, meaning there were no prior marriages for either partner, or any prior marriage has been terminated through divorce, annulment, or death.

– The foreign partner must meet all eligibility criteria and must be admissible to the United States

– The US citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident spouse must be able to demonstrate they can financially support their foreign spouse at 125% above the poverty guidelines, or find a joint sponsor who can meet this criteria.

– The couple must provide proof of their ongoing relationship throughout the application process.

-The marriage must be bona fide, meaning both parties intend to form a life-long relationship and not just to obtain immigration benefits.

Why Do You Need a Family-Based Immigration Lawyer?

Family-based immigration attorneys have the expertise and experience to help foreign nationals navigate complex US immigration laws and regulations. They can help you understand your options, determine which visa type is best for your situation, complete all necessary paperwork and applications accurately, provide legal counsel on any issues that may arise, and communicate with government agencies on your behalf. In addition, an attorney can provide invaluable advice to ensure the process goes as smoothly and quickly as possible.

Hiring a qualified family-based immigration lawyer can help you increase your chances of success in obtaining a marriage visa and achieving your US resident status. With their guidance and expertise, you can ensure the best possible chance of success. Contact an experienced lawyer today to discuss your marriage visa questions and concerns.

Why Do You Need a Family-Based Immigration Lawyer?

How Can You Apply For A Spousal Visa?

The spousal visa process differs depending on if you are a US citizen or a Permanent Resident, as well as if your foreign spouse resides in the United States or abroad..

The Process For a United States Citizen

Once the US citizen is married to a foreign national, their spouse is considered an immediate relative, meaning there is no visa wait time (aside from standard processing times) to be able to request residency for their foreign national spouse.

Initially, the US citizen spouse will file Form I-130 to establish their citizenship status, that they are legally married to their spouse, and that their marriage is bona fide or legitimate and not just for immigration purposes.

If the foreign national spouse is in the US already:

  • If the foreign national spouse is in the United States already, they may be eligible to file a one-step Adjustment of Status and include the I-485 application for residency while the US citizen spouse files the I-130 petition.
    • You can also file form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and form I-131, Application for Travel Document, which are benefits the foreign national spouse is entitled to while the Adjustment of Status is pending. These two items, once approved, will allow the foreign spouse to work and travel internationally while their form I-485 is pending.

If the foreign national spouse is outside of the US:

  • If the foreign national spouse is outside of the United States, once the I-130 petition is approved, they can immigrate to the US through consular processing in their home country or country of residency while pursuing an immigrant visa.

The Process For a Permanent Resident

If you are a Permanent Resident petitioning your foreign national spouse, they will be placed in the F2A category of the US Department of State’s Visa Bulletin. As there is a numerical limit to the number of spouses of permanent residents who can immigrate to the United States each year, there may be a period of time that the immigrant spouse will have to wait before being able to file for an immigrant visa or an adjustment of status. The Visa Bulletin is a database of priority dates in various visa categories, and you can check it.

To petition the foreign national spouse as a Permanent Resident, the Permanent Resident must first file Form I-130 to establish the relationship and the priority date. Once the priority date is current, the foreign national spouse can immigrate to the United States by either:

  • Filing an I-485 application for residency (if they are in the US and otherwise qualify to adjust status),
  • Or DS-260 application for an immigrant visa (if they are outside the US and consular processing).

Keep in mind, if the foreign national spouse wishes to pursue an adjustment of status in the US with form I-485, they must continually maintain legal status, and not have worked without authorization, among other requirements for residency.

How Can You Apply For A Spousal Visa?

Will You Need To Go Through an Interview?

Yes. If you are applying for a marriage visa, be aware that an interview is typically required for you and your spouse as part of the application process. If your spouse is in the US and adjusting their status, the interview is conducted by a USCIS officer at the Field Office closest to your home. If your spouse is abroad and consular processing, they will have an interview at the US consulate with jurisdiction over their country by a consular officer.  Typically you as the petitioning spouse will not be allowed to attend the consular interview if they are abroad, whereas you will be required to attend the interview if they are in the US pursuing an adjustment of status.  The interview is designed to determine the authenticity of the relationship between the petitioner and the beneficiary and assess the applicant’s eligibility for the status. It’s essential to prepare for the interview thoroughly to increase your chances of a successful application.

The foreign national spouse must go through consular processing if they are outside the US. This involves submitting an application packet to the National Visa Center (NVC) and then going to the nearest US consulate for an interview with a consular officer.

At Bashyam Global Immigration Law Group, we recommend couples applying for a marriage-based visa have a pre-interview preparation session with one of our lawyers. The pre-interview prep session is already included in your legal fee when you work with one of our spousal visa attorneys. This session will provide guidance on how to approach the interview and advice on any additional documents that may be required to increase the chances of a successful application.

What is the Difference Between Conditional Residency and Permanent Residency?

Suppose you and your spouse are married for less than two years when your foreign spouse’s residency is approved. In that case, they will be granted conditional residency, not permanent residency. In this case, their conditional residency card will be valid for two years from the approval date.  Conditional residency only applies to spouses of US citizens, not Lawful Permanent Residents.

To renew a conditional permanent resident status, both spouses must jointly file Form I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence up to 90 days before the expiration date.  If this form is not filed, or if it is denied, then the foreign nationals may lose their conditional resident status. Once approved, the foreign national spouse will receive a 10-year green card and gain lawful permanent resident status.

A married couple smiles at each other while the husband gives their daughter a ride on his shoulders


How Long Does The Marriage Visa Process Take?

As of 2023, the processing time for a marriage-based visa application varies depending on visa type, country of processing, and backlog. The typical processing time for a US citizen sponsoring their spouse is 12-18 months, sometimes longer. As of April 2023, the F2A category regressed for the first time in a few years, creating an approximate 29-35 month wait due to limited visa availability.

These processing times are estimates and can vary based on individual circumstances and changes to immigration policies or procedures. Applicants should regularly check the USCIS and State Department websites for the most up-to-date information on visa processing times.

Bashyam Global Immigration Law Group: Connecting Family Members Across Borders 

If you are interested in sponsoring your foreign national spouse, you should consult with our experienced family visa attorneys, who can perform a thorough screening of your immigrant spouse’s immigration history to ensure a proper filing. As experts in immigration law, we are here to help you and your family navigate the complex US immigration system.

Contact the Bashyam Global Immigration Law Group to schedule your consultation online or call us at 919-833-0840 today.

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