A U.S. citizen who is married with a foreign spouse has two ways to bring in the U.S. his wife, or her husband. The first option refers to the immigrant visa for a spouse (IR1 or CR1) and the second one is the non-immigrant visa (K-3).
If you need to apply for a spouse visa, our team of immigration lawyers in USA can provide all the legal support, in order to bring your spouse in USA. We can also help you apply for a residence permit in USA.
|Visa types for family members||
Non-immigrant visas, immigrant visas
|Non-immigrant visa purpose
Immigrant visa purpose
|Permanent stay, citizenship|
Spouses must be legally married, the US spouse must be an American permanent resident or citizen
|Requisites for the American spouse||Have a minimum income to sponsor
the foreign spouse
The minimum income is imposed at state level. It depends on the number of persons living in the household.
|Marriage registration requirements||
The spouses must be legally married in the US or in the foreign spouse’s home country
|Documents required to obtain a spouse visa||I-130 – Petition for Alien Relative, DS-260 – immigrant visa electronic form, DS-261 – online address of agent form, I-864 – affidavit of the US spouse|
|Visa application must be done in person (YES/NO)||NO, the US spouse can also file for the visa|
|Timeframe to obtain a spouse visa (approx.)||Approx. 10 months|
|Conditional residence requisites||The spouses are married for less
than 2 years
|Possibility to obtain a Green Card for the foreign spouse (YES/NO)||YES, in approx. 4 weeks from arrival|
|Citizenship requirements for the foreign spouse||Citizenship can be acquired after 3 years|
|Fiance visa availabilty (YES/NO)||Yes|
|Support in applying for a spouse visa (YES/NO)||Yes|
Requirements when applying for a U.S. spouse visa
There are several requirements that need to be fulfilled when interested in obtaining a spouse visa for USA. Our immigration lawyers in USA recommend foreign citizens and their U.S. spouses to first verify the conditions applied in their situation.
The U.S. spouse is required to prove the following:
- that he or she is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident;
- that he or she is legally married to the foreign citizen applying for the visa;
- that he or she meets the income requirements for sponsorship (each U.S. has specific income conditions).
With respect to the sponsorship requirements, it should be noted that several criteria are established when imposing the minimum threshold. Among these, the number of persons living in the household, the home state of the sponsor, and the total number of foreign citizens the person intends to sponsor.
If you intend to sponsor a person for obtaining a spouse visa for US with the purpose of coming to Florida, our immigration attorneys in Miami can help you. They will then help your spouse apply for USA citizenship.
We invite you to read about obtaining a spouse visa for United States in the infographic below:
The two options for obtaining a spouse visa for USA
U.S. citizens who want to bring their wives or husbands to this country have two options with respect to the visas their spouses must apply for. The first one is the Immigrant Visa (IR1 or CR1) and the second one is the Non-Immigrant Visa (K3).
The main differences between the two types of spouse visas for USA reside in the fact that the immigrant visa is issued to foreign citizens seeking to come to the U.S. and live with their spouse who is a U.S. permanent resident or citizen, while the non-immigrant visa serves as a temporary resident visa for the foreign spouse of a U.S. citizen which needs to be readjusted with the purpose of obtaining a Green Card.
It should be noted that the Non-Immigrant Visa implies more steps when being applied for and is more expensive in terms of costs. Also, the immigration authorities have abolished this option of obtaining a spouse visa for US, therefore, any applicant seeking to immigrate to this country under the K3 visa will be automatically rerouted to the IR1 or CR1 visa, where IR stands for immediate relative (when the couple has been married for more than 2 years), and CR comes from conditional relative (the CR1 visa is issued when the couple has been married for less than 2 years).
If you plan on bringing your spouse to Florida, our immigration lawyers in Miami can guide you. They can assist you in numerous immigration matters, including marrying a Cuban in USA.
You can also count on us if you want to obtain a residence permit in USA.
The Immigrant Visa for a spouse in the U.S.
A person who applies for an immigrant visa (IR 1) has to fill the Form I -130, Alien Relative Petition Form I -130. These are the first steps in this procedure and they are processed with the Homeland Security Department by the husband or the wife of a U.S. citizen.
Form I-130 must be completed by the American citizen in order to help the immigrant relative to relocate to USA. The Form I-130 can have other purposes, besides the one through which spouses can enter the U.S..
The U.S. citizen has to be at least 18 years old and needs to have a residence in any city located in America. After all these are proven, the sponsor can sign for an official declaration of support. In case you want to apply for a spouse visa, our immigration lawyer in USA can help you ease the application procedure.
The video below offers more information on the spouse visa in Miami, USA:
The Non-Immigrant Visa for a spouse in the U.S.
The second possibility to bring your spouse in USA is to apply for a non-immigrant visa. Same as for the immigrant visa, in this situation, it is also required to fill in the Alien Relative Petition. This category shortens the separation between the spouse and the U.S. citizen because it is a type of visa that can be obtained previously the immigrant one.
You can apply for the K-3 permit and enter the state to wait for the approval of the immigrant visa. The spouse must fill out all the documents required in order to apply for a non-immigrant visa, but only when the immigrant visa process is on the role.
Furthermore, when a spouse applies for this type of visa, he/she should know that this application will be made in the country where the marriage took place.
Usually, when a U.S. citizen wants to bring his spouse in USA, the logical step is to fill in the immigrant visa documents and after that, until this visa is approved, the foreign spouse can move further on and apply for a non-immigrant visa to cut down the period of separation.
It is important to know that there are two main situations for applying for a spouse visa:
• the spouse is already on the American territory and had received the lawful admission on parole;
• the spouse is living outside the U.S.
In the first situation, the applicant will need to submit the following documents:
• Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relatives and the Form I- 485;
• Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status.
In the second case, only the first document is required to be submitted for verifications. It is necessary to fill in all the sections of the document:
• Part A – Relationship;
• Part B – Information About You;
• Part C – Information About Your Relative.
The document contains fields on the names, address, place of birth, and marital status of the parties involved in the procedure. It is also necessary to complete Part E, Signature of Petitioner, and it is important to know that the signature is compulsory and if the applicant does not complete it, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will not be able to process the document.
In case you want to bring your spouse in USA and he or she needs to apply for a spouse visa, our local immigration lawyers can provide complete legal assistance.
Steps of applying for a U.S. spouse visa
Those who are married to U.S. citizens and want to apply for spouse visas must complete a few steps which are enumerated below:
- filing the petition with the USCIS should be completed as soon as possible in order to obtain a reply;
- once the petition is received, the USCIS will issue a Notice of Action (NOA1);
- when the petition is approved or denied, the second Notice of Action (NOA2) is issued;
- if the petition is approved, the USCIS forwards the application to the National Visa Center (NVC) to collect the documents and fees;
- the NVC will then forward the case to the U.S. Embassy in the applicant’s home country;
- the Embassy will then contact the applicant with instructions on the next steps;
- a medical exam must be passed by the foreign citizens requesting the spouse visa for the U.S.;
- the Embassy Interview will follow, and the visa is issued under the form of a sticker.
If you are interested in immigration to USA, our lawyers can explain in detail the steps and what to expect during the procedure. We can also guide you in applying for USA citizenship.
Documents that need to be filed when applying for a spouse visa
As mentioned above, the foreign spouse is recommended to apply directly for the immigrant spouse visa for the United States in order to benefit from a speedy procedure. The documents he or she must consider are the I-130 (the Petition for Alien Relative), the G-1145 (the electronic notification for the acceptance of the application which is optional), the DS-260 (the immigrant visa electronic application), the DS-261 (an online address of agent) and the I-864 (declaration of support).
Our immigration lawyers in USA can provide more information on the documents that need to be filed when applying for the spouse visa for USA.
Bringing a future spouse to USA
US citizens or permanent residents who are about to be married can bring their future spouses to the country through the fiancé visa. This is not the same as the spouse visa which implies being already married to the foreign wife or husband, as it requires to demonstrate the two persons have a relationship and they will get married once the foreign one enters the United States. However, there is a law that recognizes engagement to be married and a fiancé is defined as a person who can obtain an Alien Fiancé Petition submitted by the American citizen or green card holder and who will be issued a non-immigrant visa in order to enter the country.
The main condition for the fiancé visa is for the couple to get married in the next 90 days from the arrival of the foreign citizen. Also, the future spouses must prove they have been engaged for at least 2 years prior for the foreign person to enter the country.
When the spouse visa cannot be obtained, the fiancé visa can be used by those who want to get married in the US. Our immigration lawyer in Miami is at your service with detailed information on both fiancé and spouse visa requirements. It should be noted that the latter requires a valid marriage license when the foreign spouse enters the US.
Spouse and fiancé visa applications can be filed with the help of our lawyers who can also advise on the documents the foreign husband or wife must prepare. If you are a Canadian interested in how to immigrate to US from Canada along with your fiancé, we can assist you during the application process.
Conditional residence under the US spouse visa
There are several aspects to consider when applying for a spouse visa for the US and the most important one refers to the time the spouses have been married. From this point of view, the foreign citizen must know that if the marriage was registered for less than 2 years at the time he or she is granted the US resident permit, he or she will obtain the conditional resident status. In order to remove this status, the spouses must file Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence. The form must be submitted no later than 90 days before the conditional residence expires.
Foreign citizens who have come to the US-based on spouse visas will also be issued work permits that will enable them to work during the two-year period they are granted conditional residence.
The conditions to have the conditional status removed imply for the spouses to still be married after the 2 years period.
It is also possible for the foreign citizen to apply for removal of the conditional residence status alone under one of the following circumstances:
- the spouse has deceased in the two-year period,
- the spouses have divorced (however, proof of good faith of the marriage is required),
- the foreign spouse has suffered during the marriage which ended in divorce.
Our immigration lawyer in USA can be by your side when applying for the removal of conditional residence status after obtaining the spouse visa.
Sponsorship requirements under the US spouse visa
The American spouse who files for a spouse visa on behalf of a foreign wife or husband will act as a sponsor. This means that he or she must meet certain requirements. Among these, having a minimum income in order to support the other spouse upon arrival. The minimum annual income is set at a little over 21,000 USD, however, one must know that each US state has its own conditions. Also, this amount depends on whether the foreign spouse has children, but also on the living conditions of the American spouse and the number of members in the household.
If you want to immigrate to USA with your spouse, our lawyers here can offer specific information on the requirements applicable in the State of Florida.
Timeframe for obtaining the USA spouse visa
The following timeline should be considered when applying for a spouse visa for the United States:
- the average time for the visa to be issued ranges between 7 and 10 months;
- the visa is granted within 2 to 10 days to be issued by the U.S. Embassy;
- the applicant must then travel to the U.S. within 6 months;
- the Green Card is issued within 2 to 4 weeks after arriving in the U.S..
FAQ on the US spouse visa
The timeframe for obtaining the spouse visa can take between 8 months and 1 year, depending on nationality of the foreign spouse.
Yes, however, it is also possible for the US spouse to file for a spouse visa.
All you need to prove is that you are legally married to a US citizen or green card holder.
In case of refusal, our immigration lawyers can verify the application file and offer assistance, as spouse visas are rarely denied.
It is easier and faster to obtain a fiancé visa, however, the safest way is the spouse visa if you want to come to the United States permanently.
For any other information, please contact our Miami immigration attorneys.