Couple near ocean getting married overseas

How to get a Marriage Visa for my Spouse?

You made the leap and married your spouse overseas! Now you are back in the U.S. and want to get your spouse into the U.S. on a marriage visa so she can reunite with you. How do you sponsor your husband/wife and bring them into the U.S.? How long will the process take? What requirements are there and do you earn enough to sponsor your spouse? This post will answer these questions for you.

How do I sponsor my husband/wife to come to the U.S.?

How to get a Marriage Visa for my Spouse? First, you need to be either a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident “Green card” holder and already married to your foreign beneficiary spouse. If you married abroad, immigration law recognizes marriages from outside the U.S. so long as you have proof it was registered with the appropriate civil authority. You will need to provide a copy of the marriage certificate and include a certified translation of the certificate before filing your paperwork to USCIS. You will then need to file with the USCIS, form I-130 petition along with the required I-130A for a spouse beneficiary. If it is difficult for your spouse to sign the forms, they are not required to sign I-130A if currently living overseas. However, they will need to provide you two passport-sized photos of themselves that will need to be submitted with the I-130 petition.  Your spouse overseas should also provide a copy of their birth certificate (with certified English translation) and copy of the biographic page of their passport, as well as visa, stamped pages.

If you are a U.S. citizen, you would need to include proof of your citizenship which would be a copy of your U.S. birth certificate, U.S. passport, or Certificate of Naturalization/Citizenship. If you are a permanent resident, you would need to provide a copy of your green card. As a permanent resident sponsoring your spouse, the process can take about a year and a half long because you would need to wait until the priority date is current (the date you filed your initial I-130 petition vs. the current date the petitions are being processed listed on the Department of State monthly bulletin).  The filing fee for the petition is currently $535. This petition is sent to USCIS for processing. Thereafter, the immigrant visa processing fee of $325 and the affidavit of support fee of $120 is due online prior to scheduling the interview. After approval, there is another $220 green card production fee.

How Long will the process take to bring my spouse to the U.S.?

Sponsoring your wife or husband from overseas generally can take about a year to complete. After filing the initial I-130 petition at USCIS, expect a wait time of around 8 to 10 months for the decision. Upon approval, the petition is then transferred to the National Visa Center which takes a month. Thereafter, you will need to submit the required immigrant visa processing fee, affidavit of support fee, and submit additional documents and forms such as the I-864 affidavit of support and the DS-260 immigrant visa online application. Your spouse will also be required to take a medical examination testing for any communicable diseases or illnesses. This process can take several months until the interview is scheduled.

What other requirements are there and do I earn enough to sponsor my spouse?

In addition to the required identity documents and marriage certificate, you will also need to provide documents proving you have been in a marital relationship with your spouse even if they are overseas.  These documents can include photos together, travel itinerary, letters of support from family and friends, and even screenshots of chat messages between you and your spouse. If your spouse had any previous immigration violations or criminal history, that can play a major role in determining their chances of getting a green card at the time of interview. Often times, the officer after the interview will request a waiver to overcome certain grounds of inadmissibility. Having a consultation with an Immigration Lawyer near you in Portland, OR will help you determine if any ineligibilities could risk your spouse beneficiary’s chance of approval.

If you are a two-person household, meaning just you living by yourself and your spouse to join you is a household of two. Current federal poverty guidelines indicate that a 2 person household needs to earn at least $20,575. If you do not earn enough income you can ask a co-sponsor to help so long as they independently meet the minimum salary and are a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident and they would also need to provide the proof of legal status as well as three years tax return and w2 statements.

Our firm has helped reunite hundreds of long-distance international couples. For questions about marriage, visas feel free to contact us online or call us at (866)691-9894.