How Spouse and Fiance Cases Work.

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How do I bring my spouse or fiance to the United States? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. I was going to make this video about spouse cases individually, but they’re so similar to fiance cases, I thought that I would just put them all into one video. And this is part of our seven part series on how things work at immigration.

All right. So let’s say that you’re a US citizen and that you fall in love and that the object of your affection lives overseas, let’s say they live in Morocco, and you are married or you’re engaged and that’s going to determine which form that you file. So if you’re engaged, you file an I-129F, that’s an application for a fiance visa. If you’re married, you file an I-130, that’s a petition for an alien relative, that’s for the spouse of a US citizen.

So if you are in love, you have to think first, are we going to do this as a married couple or as an engaged couple? I think marriage based cases are a little bit easier to get approved, but fiance cases are a little bit faster, so usually we just tell people to do what they feel comfortable with, with their life situation. And don’t think too much about trying to do a fiance case, because it’s faster or a marriage case because it’s more stable. It usually is just going to depend on logistics and when you were last with your spouse and is it easier for you to just start the fiance case or is it better to just go over and get married?

So once you make that decision, the application is filed with USCIS. And right now it’s taking months and months. These cases used to go very quickly, but now they’re taking months and months to get approved. And so the first stop is with USCIS. So in this the inquiry is, are both members of the couple of free to marry? Have they been married before? If so were they divorced? If not, are they free to marry? And does this look like a valid legal marriage? And if it’s an engagement, then it’s, does the couple intend to get married within 90 days of the foreign national’s arrival? And have they met each other face to face at some point in the last two years? So those are the main inquiries.

Once USCIS is satisfied, then the case is sent to the national visa center. On the I-130 side, you’re going to pay a couple of fees and you’re going to process your case through the national visa center. On a fiance case you’re going to pay some fees as well, but the case is more quickly sent to the embassy. So there’s a little bit difference there in that part of it.

And then eventually you’re going to be set for an interview and embassy interviews are generally pretty short. And so if the couple has a long history together and the couple can demonstrate their relationship, that should sail right through the embassy. Now in the embassy in Morocco is particularly difficult and they give people a really hard time, but even in Morocco, cases do get approved and your case should get approved and the foreign national should receive the fiance visa or the spouse visa, and be able to come to the United States. If they are doing it the spouse way, they’ll pay one more fee called the ELIS fee and hopefully the green card will follow the foreign nationals to the United States when they come.

Of course, some cases get stuck and we file lawsuits over those. But that’s not the point of this video, but it’s rather just to tell you, sort of, the process. So when you get to the National Visa Center on the I-130 side, you’re going to have to demonstrate that you can support your foreign spouse, that you make enough money. If not, you’re going to need a co-sponsor. And there’s a milder version of that for fiance cases. So there’s a lot of logistics to bringing someone here. It’s gotten a lot more complicated and it takes a lot longer than it used to, but those are the high overseeing principles of how that all works.

If you have questions about a fiance case or a spouse case or about which one’s right for you, or if you get stuck during any part of the process and you need some help, give us a call 314-961-8200. We’d always be happy to help you. You can email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group, which is called Immigrant Home. And if you liked this video, we ask that you please share it out on social and subscribe to the YouTube channel so that you get updates whenever we make videos, just like this one. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.

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