So you’ve successfully qualified for United States citizenship and now you want to share that status with your loved ones. But how long will it take to bring your spouse into the country? Once you have achieved U.S. citizenship, bringing your spouse into the country should take a relatively short amount of time. Your spouse falls into the immediate relative category, which means that they may apply for a green card as soon as possible. Once your petition is approved, there will be no wait for a visa number since Congress has placed no limitation on the amount of immediate relatives who may enter the U.S. each year, whereas other relatives may have to wait several years for their petition to finish processing. The first step towards your spouse’s citizenship is filing the I-130 petition, as the I-130 establishes the relationship between you and your spouse. Note that these forms currently cost $420, so be prepared for this investment in your family’s future. As soon as your I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) is approved, the U.S. Department of State will invite your spouse to apply for an immigrant visa. Many articles on this website help simplify this filing process. Please refer to them for more information on the I-130 document.
However, the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) assumes that about half of all marriage cases are fraudulent. It is therefore necessary to prove your marriage’s legitimacy. In other words, you must prove that your marriage was entered into for love and not just for citizenship. With the appropriate documents, this shouldn’t be a problem. First, you must provide a photocopy of your marriage certificate (along with a certified translation if the document is not in English) as well as certificates from any previous marriages. You need to provide proof in the form of a divorce decree that any previous marriages were ended legally in your country. Do not mail any original documents as they could be lost—these original documents should instead be brought to your interview.
To prove your marriage’s legitimacy, you should demonstrate the following: joint obligations for housing/living expenses, joint financial management, joint property ownership, and evidence that you and your spouse hold yourselves out as married. Example documents include your children’s birth certificates, joint bank account statements, joint income tax returns, joint property deed, and health/life insurance policies naming your spouse as the beneficiary. This list is by no means all-inclusive, nor is it necessary to provide all of these documents.
If the USCIS officer suspects that your marriage is a fraud, you and your spouse will be called in to interview separately. You will be placed in separate rooms and asked identical questions, the results of which will be compared to see if they match up. You may be suspect if you and your spouse do not share a common language, if there is a large age gap, if there are differences in class, cultural, religious, or educational background, or if you and your spouse do not live at the same address. Be prepared to answer some very detailed and specific questions about your relationship. Of course, if your marriage is indeed legitimate this interview should not be a problem.
If you are a U.S. citizen with a legitimate spouse, bringing him or her into the country should not take very long if you file all of the appropriate forms and provide all of the necessary documents. The entire process should take about six to twelve months, but of course, the exact amount of time varies on a case-to-case basis.
Eugene Jones is a principal in www.ImmiGreatNow.com.com which provides web solutions for family Immigration. Eugene is also a principal in www.connect4business.com a lotus domino manufacturing solution and www.nauvou.com.com web based solutions for customer support.