Marriage between a US citizen and a foreigner brings into picture the marriage visa. This is an immigration visa and is required for the foreign spouse to immigrate to the US. For this purpose, two types of visas are offered – the Conditional Resident visa (CR 1) and the Immediate Relative visa (IR 1). The difference between the two is in the duration of the marriage. For marriages of less than two years duration, the couple can take the CR 1 visa which grants conditional permanent residency to the foreign spouse. The newlywed must jointly apply to remove the conditional status of the CR 1 visa two years prior to its expiry. This is done to prevent scenarios where marriages happen for the sole purpose of gaining US citizenship. For marriages longer than two years, they can apply for IR 1 visa which gives unconditional permanent residency to the foreign spouse. The Alvarez Law Firm, PLLC with its legal expertise can expedite the process of a marriage visa.
Requirements for a marriage visa
While applying for a marriage visa the couple needs to ensure that certain conditions are met.
- There should be a legal marriage which can be validated by producing a marriage certificate. Live in together relationships are not considered as marriage for this purpose.
- The petitioner should have attained the legal age of 18. He/she is also required to produce an Affidavit of Support proving sufficient income for sponsoring the entry visa.
- The American Citizen should be a resident of the United States.
Procedure to obtain a marriage visa in the US
The process of obtaining a marriage visa begins with filing the I-130 Form with the ‘U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ‘. Along with the form, a list of listed documents will also need to be attached and the important is the marriage certificate. However, the authorities will look into proof substantiating an ongoing relationship for which joint bank accounts, joint properties, travel documents, money transfers, and wedding photos may be required.
After approval, it is forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC) to take care of the remaining procedure and approve the petition. NVC will interview the foreign spouse and also require the foreign spouse to undergo a medical examination from an approved doctor. There are also additional vaccination requirements which the foreign spouse will have to meet. Hepatitis A and B, Polio, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Tetanus, and Influenza are few of the mandatory vaccinations. Once the formalities are done the foreign spouse will be granted US residence.
A few months before lodging the petition, the American citizen applies for a K-3 visa to allow the foreign spouse to stay in the US temporarily to complete the marriage visa process.
The marriage visa usually takes 8-10 months to process provided there are no discrepancies or inaccurate information in the application. In case of discrepancies, the processing might extend to months.If the couple is residing outside the United States, they need to follow a different procedure. The American National should file the petition at the local embassy. It will go through the same channels mentioned above and petitions with accurate information will be processed to grant residency to the foreign spouse. The Alvarez Law Firm, PLLC are experienced immigration attorney to handle your marriage visa requirements smoothly.