Family reunification is a fundamental aspect of U.S. immigration policy. If you are a permanent resident (green card holder) in the United States and wish to bring your spouse to live with you, you can petition for their immigration through a family-based visa category. In this blog, we will explore the steps and requirements for obtaining a visa for your partner
as a permanent resident of the United States.
Understanding Family-Based Immigration
U.S. immigration laws provide for family-based visa categories that allow U.S. citizens and permanent residents to sponsor certain relatives for immigration to the United States. These family-sponsored categories include:
1. Immediate Relative (IR) visas: These are available to the spouses, unmarried children (under 21 years old), and parents (if the sponsoring U.S. citizen is over 21) of U.S. citizens. There is no annual limit on the number of immediate relative visas that can be issued.
2. Family Preference visas: These are for more distant relatives of U.S. citizens and permanent residents. There are four family preference categories, with different preferences for relatives such as adult unmarried children, married children, and siblings of U.S. citizens, as well as spouses and unmarried children of permanent residents.
For spouses of permanent residents, they typically fall under the Family Preference category F2A.
Requirements for Obtaining a Visa for Your Spouse as a Permanent Resident
To bring your spouse to the United States as a permanent resident, you must meet specific eligibility criteria and follow a structured application process:
1. Valid Permanent Resident Status:
– You must be a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) of the United States to sponsor.
2. Marriage Certificate:
– You must be legally married to your spouse, and your marriage must be recognized as valid under U.S. immigration law. Provide a copy of your marriage certificate as proof.
3. Visa Petition (Form I-130):
– File a visa petition on behalf of your spouse by submitting Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This form establishes the qualifying relationship between you and your partner.
4. Supporting Documentation:
– Include supporting documents with your Form I-130, such as evidence of your lawful permanent resident status (copy of green card), marriage certificate, proof of any prior marriages and their termination (if applicable), and evidence of a genuine marital relationship.
5. Visa Bulletin:
– Keep track of the Visa Bulletin published by the U.S. Department of State. This bulletin determines when visas become available for family preference categories, including F2A for spouses of permanent residents.
6. Visa Application (DS-260):
– After USCIS approves your Form I-130, your spouse will need to complete the online visa application form DS-260 and pay the required fees. **
7. Visa Interview:
– Once the National Visa Center (NVC) processes your visa application, they will be scheduled for an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their home country.
8. Affidavit of Support (Form I-864):
– As the sponsor, you will need to submit an Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) to demonstrate that you have the financial means to support and that they will not become a public charge in the United States.
9. Medical Examination and Background Checks:
– Your partner will undergo a medical examination and background checks as part of the visa application process.
10. Visa Issuance:
– If approved, he or she will receive an immigrant visa in their passport, allowing them to travel to the United States.
11. Entry to the United States:
– Upon arrival in the United States, your spouse will be inspected by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers. They will also receive a sealed packet containing important immigration documents.
12. Adjustment of Status:
– After entry, you will need to file for adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident. This process includes submitting Form I-485 and attending a bio metrics appointment and an interview.
Bringing your spouse to the United States as a permanent resident involves a comprehensive process that requires careful documentation and adherence to immigration laws and regulations. Family reunification is an important aspect of U.S. immigration, and with patience and diligence, you can successfully navigate the visa application process and be reunited with your spouse in the United States. Consult with immigration experts or legal professionals for guidance on specific requirements and procedures related to your situation.