Spouse abroad 

How can you bring your spouse who lives abroad to the US?

Many immigrants have arrived to the US following their dreams in order to provide a decent future for their families. Normally, people decide to arrive alone and then make legal requests to bring their spouse to the country to join them.  

Under the immigration laws of the United States, the term “spouse” refers to a husband or wife who are in a legally recognized marital relationship. Spouses and other direct or immediate relatives of legitimate US residents receive a high priority regarding the issuance of immigrant visas. 

How to sponsor your immigrant spouse to join you in the US?

The first step required to bring your spouse to the United States is to file an immigrant visa petition for a foreign relative (Form I-130). You can file this only if you are a US citizen or a legitimate permanent resident (which means you have your Green Card).  

If you are a US citizen who files a petition for your spouse, it will not be placed on a waiting list. The law gives special consideration to direct or immediate family members of US citizens. The Department of State will ask your spouse to apply for an immigrant visa as soon as the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves the petition using Form I-130. 

Your spouse will receive an immigrant visa number after the Form I-130 has been approved. Due to the large number of applicants and immigration restrictions, waiting times are often two years or more. You can check the visa bulletin of the State Department to find out what the current waiting times are for your spouse to receive a visa number. 

If your spouse is outside the United States when the visa petition is approved and when an immigrant visa number is available (if applicable), your spouse will be notified to go to the local consulate of the United States to complete the immigrant visa process. If, however, your spouse is legally in the United States when the visa petition is approved and when an immigrant visa number is available, you can use Form I-485 to adjust your status and legitimize permanent residence. Spouses of US citizens who are legally in the United States can file their petition using Form I-130 and Form I-485 to adjust their status at the same time. 

Can your spouse live in the United States while your visa application is pending?

If you are a US citizen, once you submit Form I-130, your spouse is eligible to apply for a K-3 non-immigrant visa. This will grant permission for them to come to the US to live and work while the visa petition is pending. If you are only a legal permanent resident (LPR), your spouse cannot come to the US to live or work while your visa application is pending. 

If you filed a petition for your spouse when you were a legal permanent resident (LPR), and now you are a US citizen, you must update the second family preference petition (F2) to immediate family member (IR). You can do this by sending proof of your US citizenship. to the National Visa Center (NVC), by sending the following documents: 

  • A copy of the biographical data of your US passport; or 
  • A copy of the naturalization certificate. 

Do you need help bringing your spouse to the US? If you have any questions about an immigration issue or relating to a case you currently have in progress, then please don’t hesitate to contact us for a FREE Consultation with one of our highly experienced immigration attorneys. Alternatively, simply call Motion Law today at: (202) 918-1799