What is the Process of Spouse Visa for USA?

Did you marry a US citizen or a US Green card holder? Congratulations! It’s time for you and your partner to start your new life together in the US. But for that, you’ll need a spouse visa. It will allow you to live and work permanently in the United States. This blog will walk you through the process of obtaining your spouse visa step by step. 

Step 1: Check Your Eligibility 

To qualify for your spouse visa for USA, you need to: 

  • Be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States (age 18 or over) 
  • Be legally married to US Green card holder 

Immigration officials look into the background of the prospective immigrant to see whether there are any grounds of suspicion. Keep in mind that immigration officials do not allow any intended immigrants to enter the US if they have a history of criminal or terrorist activity or infectious medical conditions,.  

Remember that the Scrutinization is Hard!  

Spouse ties are scrutinized harder than other forms of immigrant visa applications.  This is due to a historically high rate of visa fraud in marriages as compared to other types of relationships. As a result, immigration officials demand proof that the marriage is legal and that the spouse visa for USA is applying for a green card on the basis of a genuine relationship. So, keep all your marriage related documents handy! 

Step 2: Check for the Required Documents 

When applying for a spouse visa, it’s critical to compile a complete I-130 petition package with all of the relevant supporting documents. It will prove that you are legally married to a U.S. citizen or Green Card holder. If any information is lacking, USCIS may issue a Request for Evidence (RFE).  The following items will be included in a standard I-130 petition package: 

Status of Proof: Submit a photocopy of a birth certificate, passport, naturalization certificate, certificate of citizenship, or consular report of birth abroad if you are a U.S. citizen. Submit a photocopy of both sides of your green card or other proof of permanent residency if you are a lawful permanent resident.  

Certificate of Marriage: Include a copy of your marriage certificate to demonstrate that you and your spouse are legally married and your marriage is genuine. 

Photographs for Passports: Within 30 days after filing the petition, provide two passport-style color images of yourself and two passport-style color photos of your spouse. 

Proof of Your Genuine Marriage: You’ll need to give copies of documents that show evidence of shared financial liabilities, assets, insurance, tax filings, birth certificates of children born in the marriage, or other documents that you believe will prove your connection is genuine. You may, for example, provide a combined bank account statement, or images of you and your spouse from your wedding or afterward. 

Step 3: Submission of Forms  

Once your Form I-130 has been completed, you must mail it to the appropriate USCIS address. The form has a $535 filing cost that cannot be waived. Regardless of USCIS’s decision on the petition, the filing fee is non-refundable. 

Step 4: Timeline of Visa 

If you file Form I-130 correctly, USCIS will send you a receipt notification acknowledging your petition. The receipt notification, also known as Form I-797C, Notice of Action, usually arrives 2 to 3 weeks after filing. If you do not file your Form I-130 correctly, USCIS will either give you a Notice of Action rejecting your petition or a Request for Evidence requesting additional information. 

Step 4: Get a Unique Identification number   

The case is then sent to the National Visa Center (NVC), which is operated by the US State Department, because the spouse seeking a green card lives abroad. The NVC’s responsibility is to acquire the relevant paperwork and documents and determine whether the spouse is ready for a consular processing interview at a US embassy or consulate abroad. The NVC assigns a unique identification number after receiving the case from USCIS, which is subsequently used to identify the case from that point on. 

Step 5: Filing of the Visa Application  

The NVC will then require you to submit your supporting documentation, which will comprise Form I-864 (formally known as an “Affidavit of Support”) and Form DS-5540 (officially known as the “Public Charge Questionnaire”). Once the NVC gets all of the information they want, they will usually make a decision within 3-5 months. 

You can file the DS-260 once your payment has been processed. From the original welcome message, you received from the NVC, you’ll need your case number, beneficiary ID number, and invoice number. You must print the confirmation page after submitting the DS-260 online so that you can bring it to your visa interview at the US consulate. 

Spouse Visa USA Cost: The total cost of a spouse visa in 2020 was $1,760 if you applied while living in the United States, and $1,200 if you applied from outside the United States. The nonrefundable filing and biometrics fees required by the US government are included in these totals. The average cost of the requisite medical evaluation is also included.  

To cover USCIS’s funding shortage in 2020, filing fees are projected to climb dramatically in the coming years. So, if you’ve been waiting to apply for spouse visa, it’s a good idea to apply soon. 

Step 6: Meet the Requirements for the Pre-Interview 

Your application is subsequently transmitted to the U.S. consulate that accepts green card applications in the applicant spouse’s home country once the NVC has completed its processing of your NVC package. However, there are a few prerequisites that must be met before the interview may take place. Let’s check them out. 

Get Health Examination Done: The spouse seeking a green card must have a medical checkup completed by a State Department-approved doctor before attending the green card interview. Along with your interview notification, the US embassy handling your application will send you a list of these doctors. The cost of this exam varies greatly depending on the region. After the exam, the doctor will give you a sealed envelope including your exam findings and immunization record, which you must bring to the interview. 

Provide Delivery Address of Passport: Prior to the interview, the spouse seeking a green card must register online and provide an address to which the passport can be returned once the visa stamp has been issued. Each consulate’s website has instructions for signing up for passport delivery. 

Complete Biometric Process: Get your biometric done on the appointed date and take one step closer to your spouse visa.  

Step 7: Approval and Interview 

The interview is the most stressful element of the green card application process. After obtaining an appointment notice with the specific time, date, and location, you will need to attend an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate in your native country.   

If the consular officer is confident that the marriage is not fraudulent, then your green card application may get approved on the spot. 

What Happens Next?  

Your passport will subsequently be stamped with a visa permitting you to travel to the United States. If you’ve been married for less than two years when your green card is approved, it will be labelled “CR1,” which stands for “conditional green card.” These green cards are only good for two years, after which you must jointly file another form to “remove the requirements,” giving USCIS another chance to verify the marriage, and then apply for a permanent green card. 

Bottom Line 

Obtaining a spouse visa for USA is a time-consuming process that requires the aid and guidance of an immigration consultant. This is where Immivoyage comes into the picture. We’ll help you relocate to the United States to be with your loved ones. Get in touch with our team of immigration consultants in Mohali and realize your dream of permanently relocating to the US with your spouse. Best of luck!