The amount of time and the process it takes to obtain a visa for your spouse can be anywhere from six months to over a year, depending on the circumstances of your case.
There are a variety of situations in which a legal resident or U.S. citizen may wish to obtain a permanent residency in the United States for their spouse. The details involved in your particular case will determine the amount of time it takes to complete the process. In addition to submitting the appropriate documents and getting your request approved, there are always issues which could extend the wait time further. The following provides a general outline of what you can expect, but it is important to seek guidance from an experienced immigration law attorney. This can help avoid problems and the potential for frustratingly long delays that keep you apart from your spouse.
Timeframes for Getting a Visa for Your Spouse
The U.S. Department of State advises that in order to obtain an immigrant visa for your spouse, you must be a lawful permanent resident (a green card holder) or a U.S. citizen. For immigration purposes, a spouse is considered as someone to whom you are lawfully wed and with whom you intend to build a life. Immigration officials are vigilant in screening to ensure these laws are not abused and that a marriage is not for the sole purpose of obtaining immigration benefits or fraud.
The process begins with filing a Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-130. This form must be approved before you may apply for an immigrant visa for your spouse. Approval times can take anywhere between four months to a year. After that, any additional amount of time you are required to wait depends on your situation:
- If your spouse is in the country legally or entered legally: In addition to your petition, you may be able to file an adjustment of status. Your spouse may be able to file for adjustment of status even if he or she is no longer legally in the country (such as if his or her visa expired). If you are a U.S. citizen, depending on the necessity of any waivers, you and your spouse may be able to file your Petition for Alien Relative and Application for Adjustment of Status at the same time, called a “one-step” application. Once the petition is approved, a new green card may be issued in a matter of a few weeks or months.
- If your spouse entered the United States illegally: Unfortunately, your spouse may need to leave the U.S. before being able to apply for a visa. This could extend the process from several months to a couple of years. Check with a qualified immigration attorney to see if your loved one will have to seek a waiver of his or her illegal presence in the country. However, there are some immigrants who entered the country illegally but still do not have to leave the country to obtain their green cards. Some examples of when an immigrant may not be required to leave the country to obtain permanent residence include the families of military veterans and those with applications filed on their behalf before April 30, 2001, to name a few exceptions. A qualified immigration attorney like those at Ozment Law, PLC, will be able to assist.
- If your spouse is an immigrant residing in another country: Once your petition is approved, you will need to send a visa request to the National Visa Center. They will send the request to the U.S. consulate in your spouse’s home country and an interview will be scheduled. The entire process can take anywhere from 10 months to two years. At Ozment Law, PLC, we help prepare our clients for visa interviews at the U.S. embassies or consulates across the world — from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and Amman, Jordan, to Paris, France, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and more.
You may also be entitled to obtain a visa for someone you intend to marry. Generally, a fiancé visa will take an additional four to six months beyond the above time-frames.
You can Trust Our Nashville Immigration Attorneys
Ozment Law, PLC, is your trusted source for legal guidance in immigration matters. Find out how we can help you avoid needless delays and longer wait times when obtaining a visa for your spouse. Call or contact our Nashville immigration attorneys online today and request a confidential consultation.