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Sponsoring a spouse’s immigration to the United States is relatively easy compared to other family members. However, there are still many procedural steps involved, and a small mistake could lead to your application being denied.

If you are trying to help your spouse become a legal U.S. resident, reach out to a San Diego spouse visa lawyer at Hacking Immigration Law, LLC. Our knowledgeable immigration attorneys can walk you through the application process, make sure you include all necessary documentation, and prepare your spouse for their visa interview.

Eligibility for Marriage Visas in San Diego

Current U.S. citizens may sponsor their spouse’s immigration, provided that both parties are married legally and solely to each other. Additionally, the prospective visa recipient must be admissible to the U.S. based on the guidelines set by the Immigration and Nationality Act. Spouses of U.S. citizens are eligible for immediate relative visas, which are available in unlimited numbers each year.

Individuals with green cards may also sponsor their foreign spouses for immigration. However, these spouses would only be eligible for a family visa in the second preference category, and since USCIS only makes a certain number of these permits available each year, it is especially crucial for applicants to have comprehensive and error-free petitions.

Additionally, couples who have been married for less than two years are only eligible for conditional residence in the U.S. through a marriage visa. This means both spouses must apply for a release of those conditions 90 days before the conditional status expires. A San Diego attorney could be an irreplaceable ally for any couple split by international borders looking to apply for a marriage visa.

Requirements for Sponsoring a Spouse as a U.S. Citizen

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) considers the spouse of a U.S. citizen as an “immediate relative,” which means they are eligible for an IR-1 immediate relative visa.  To sponsor an IR-1 application, an American citizen must have a permanent U.S. address, and they must be able to provide financial support for their spouse upon arrival in the United States until their spouse is able to find employment of their own.

Along with Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, a prospective sponsor must also submit a valid marriage certificate to USCIS that shows they have been married to their spouse for at least two years prior to their initial filing date. Individuals who have been married less than two years may be eligible for a Conditional Residence (CR-1) Visa.

Once USCIS approves Form I-130, the prospective visa recipient must fill out Form DS-260, Online Immigrant Visa Application. If they are already within U.S. borders, they must complete Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. After submitting the appropriate form, there are several other steps in the marriage visa application procedure, which typically include:

  • Medical examination
  • Biometric screening
  • An interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate

Once these steps are completed, USCIS renders a final verdict. A lawyer in San Diego could offer clarification and legal support with every aspect of the marriage visa application procedure.

Who Else Could Sponsor a Spouse’s Immigration?

Under a current Trump administration ban, permanent residents can sponsor their spouses for a visa, but the embassy is unable to issue the visa. However, anyone who was granted asylum or refugee status in the United States within the past two years is eligible to sponsor their spouse and any of their unmarried children under age 21 for legal U.S. residency. This can be accomplished through Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition. A spouse visa lawyer could explain in further detail how these processes work and offer support to citizens in San Diego seeking to sponsor their spouse’s immigration.

Talk with a San Diego Marriage Visa Attorney for Legal Advice

Applying for your spouse to receive a marriage visa or having your spouse do so on your behalf can be an exciting and nerve-racking experience. Even if you both meet all the appropriate criteria, submitting an incomplete or slightly inaccurate application could drag the process out for months or years, and it could potentially lead to an outright rejection from USCIS. Getting in touch with a San Diego spouse visa lawyer can be a critical first step toward reuniting you and your spouse as legal U.S. residents. Call Hacking Immigration Law, LLC today to discuss your situation and get the legal advice you need.

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