Spousal Visas (I-130)
Providing Clients with High-Quality Legal Counsel
In the U.S., legal citizens and lawful permanent residents can sponsor their spouses for a green card. As the immigration system and process can be complex and laws and policies are constantly changing, you should retain the services of our esteemed attorneys.
At The Gillispie Law Firm, our attorneys are capable and efficient, and we can help you successfully navigate the spousal visa application process. When you retain our team, you can trust that you will have a dedicated team on your side that will work tirelessly to obtain favorable results.
For help navigating the spousal visa application process, contact our team online or call (571) 200-1556 today. Our immigration attorneys have decades of combined experience and have helped many individuals and families with family-based immigration matters.
Who Is Legally Considered a Spouse?
A spouse is someone you are legally married to. Depending on the laws of the country where you were married, a common-law spouse may also be able to file for a family-based visa. If you are in a polygamous marriage, only your first spouse is eligible for a spousal visa.
Filing a Petition for Alien Relative
To begin the process of helping your spouse immigrate to the U.S., you will need to file a Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-130 with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). To qualify as a sponsor, your primary residence must be in the United States, and you should be at least 18 years of age. Your spouse will need the following documents to complete the application:
- Valid passport
- Affidavit of support (from their U.S. sponsor)
- Two photographs
- Form DS-260, Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application
- Civil documents (i.e. marriage license, birth certificate, etc.)
- Medical examination forms
How Long Will My Spouse’s Immigration Process Take?
On average, a permanent resident’s spouse can expect the immigration processing time to take about 24-36 months. A spouse of a U.S. Citizen, however, may only have to wait about 12-18 months for the process to be completed, and these estimates include the time from the start to the finish (i.e. from the initial filing to the time your spouse has their green card) and are estimates for cases with no aggravating factors. It is important to note that the backlog of cases has greatly increased the wait and processing time. Our attorneys can best advise you of how long the process may be depending on your case specifics and other external factors (such as backlogs, policy changes, the service center, etc.).
What Is Conditional Residence?
Depending on how long you and your spouse have been married, the spousal visa applicant may receive a CR-1 (conditional resident) or IR-1 (immediate relative) visa. IR-1 visas are given to applicants who have been married for over 2 years (at the time their green card is approved), and they will receive a permanent resident card that should be renewed in 10 years. CR-1 visas are given to applicants, entering the U.S. with their green cards, who have been married for less than two years, and as the name suggests they are given on a conditional basis. The conditions can be removed two years after the applicant’s arrival, and if the removal application is successful, they will receive a 10-year permanent resident card.
Are There COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements for Applicants?
Spousal visa applicants (IR-1 or CR-1) preparing to enter the United States are required to submit to a medical exam before the consular officer will approve them. The purpose of the exam is to ensure applicants do not have communicable diseases or other disqualifying conditions. As of October 2021, applicants are also required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine series as a part of the medical exam. However, applicants may be able to receive a waiver if the vaccine is:
- Not easily accessible because of a limited supply as this would result in a delay for the applicant receiving the vaccine
- Unsafe for the applicant because of a medical condition
- Against the applicant’s religious beliefs or moral convictions
Do I Really Need an Immigration Attorney?
Legally, you are not required to retain an attorney when you apply for a visa or green card. However, it is in your best interest to obtain the help of a reliable immigration attorney as this can save you time, money, and frustration. Even if you have a seemingly straightforward case, you should work with an attorney as:
- They can help you understand whether your spouse is eligible or not. Some people are inadmissible and can have their application denied if they have multiple criminal convictions, do not have certain vaccinations, have previously violated immigration laws, etc.
- They can help you properly complete and file the paperwork. If your paperwork is incomplete or inaccurate, the application can be denied or delayed; in some instances, you may be investigated for fraud. Immigration attorneys are very familiar with the paperwork and may also have computer software to streamline the process.
- They have access to more resources and information. While a lot of information is available online, attorneys have access to certain resources that are not publicly accessible.
- They can help you select and obtain evidence. As a part of your petition, you will need to provide proof that validates your relationship with your spouse, and you will need to submit your marriage certificate.
- They can help you if you encounter delays. Your attorney can try to obtain answers as to why there is a delay; while they cannot speed up the process, they can help alleviate your stress by answering or obtaining answers to your questions.
Contact Our Immigration Attorneys
At The Gillispie Law Firm, our attorneys are known for being competent and compassionate advocates for our clients. We prioritize listening to your concerns, objectives, and needs so that we can have a clear understanding of your situation. Every case and every client is unique, which is why our attorneys develop personalized strategies that meet your specific needs.
To schedule a case consultation, reach out to us online or call (571) 200-1556. We provide services in English and French and serve both Northern Virginia and Northern Kentucky.