Once my spouse visa case is approved at USCIS and my spouse is overseas, is there anything else that has to happen? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration attorney practicing law here in St. Louis, Missouri. I ran into a young man the other day who I’ve known for a while. He’s a physician and obliviously very well-educated. He married a woman overseas and decided that he wanted to apply to bring her to the United States and to get her a Green Card.
He decided to file it on his own. He didn’t use an attorney, he didn’t use me, didn’t use our law firm. That’s certainly fine. But the thing is he screwed up his case and he didn’t even know it. Here we have someone who is very intelligent, very well-educated, obviously can read and write, can look at the rules, but he thought he could do it on his own and God love him for trying. Now here’s what happened.
He filed his I-130 petition which is the spouse visa form that you file with the Immigration Service when you have a spouse overseas. Paid the filing fee, filled out all the forms correctly, send it in the USCIS. The case was pending for about two or three months and he received an approval notice. Then he waited, and he waited, and he waited some more. In fact he’s been waiting three months since the approval of the USCIS petition, and he doesn’t know where his wife is. I mean he knows physically where she is. He just doesn’t know why she isn’t already in the United States.
I turned to him and I said, “Well, did you pay the fees at the National Visa Center?” He looked at me like a deer in the headlights. He had no idea what I was talking about. He’d never heard of the National Visa Center. He just thought that once the case got approved by USCIS that that was the end of it and that his wife would be arriving shortly.
Now of course if he’d watched our videos he’d understand the process. He would understand that the approval at USCIS is only the first part of the discussion. That after USCIS approves a petition that you have to take affirmative steps to make sure your wife or your husband gets to the United States.
The way you do that is you contact the National Visa Center. Your case is forwarded from USCIS to the National Visa Center and you should receive some kind of notification, but clearly he did not. He did not understand that he had to log in and pay the two fees at the National Visa Center. He didn’t understand that he had to provide original documents including the police certificate from his wife overseas. He didn’t understand there were all these things that he had to do at the National Visa Center before the case even got scheduled for an interview at the embassy.
Now I suppose conceptually he knew there would be an interview, but I think he thought that it would just go from USCIS to the embassy and that was the end of it. Obviously I counseled the man and told him what he needed to do. I also suggested that he contacted us.
It’s really a tragic situation. I mean I guess in one way it’s a good thing that he ran into me, because he might have waited forever. I mean what was he thinking and what was he doing not following up on it after three months. You’d think his spouse would be upset and would want to have her ticket to the United States as soon as she could.
This couple is now been separated for three or four months more than they had to be. In fact it’s going to be a little bit longer because the police certificate is still overseas with the spouse. That’s one of the harder things that document wise you have to get to the National Visa Center. We feel bad for this family and we really wish this hadn’t happened.
Obviously people are free to file for immigration benefits on their own and sometimes it makes sense. But when you’re dealing with something this important and this monumental, why would you waste your time and incur all the headaches and heartbreaks associated with a delay like this? It just doesn’t make good sense.
Now he’ll gather up all his documents, he’ll go online and pay this National Visa fee. Although even after I explained it to him, I’m not entirely sure that he understands this part of the process. I encouraged him to come see us so that we could talk it through. So we’ll see what happens. Hopefully it will get approved and his wife will be here soon.
If you have questions about a spouse visa petition, if you’re wondering what happens after USCIS approves the petition you can feel free to contact us. Give us a call 314-961-8200 or you can email me firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.