If you're in a relationship with a foreign national, it can be difficult to secure permanent U.S. citizenship for your loved one. There's a number of different visas for different situations and regardless of the route that you decide to take in obtaining a visa, the process can be long and cumbersome. Fortunately, there's multiple professionals and legal aides that can assist you in expediting the process, while helping to choose the best path forward.
One option to grant your loved one access to the United States is through a K-1 Fiance Visa. This is a twelve-step process that works best through outside assistance in processing the paperwork, and having a liaison to advise you throughout the process. The steps include:
1. You complete and file an I-129F packet with the USCIS.
2. You receive a Notice of Action (NOA) that verifies receipt of your petition.
3. You receive a second Notice of Action (NOA2) that approves your petition.
4. Your case is forwarded to the National Visa Center.
5. Your case is forwarded to the U.S. Embassy.
6. The Embassy sends a package to your fiance, with instructions on scheduling a medical examination and K-1 Visa Interview.
7. Your fiance completes the paperwork and forwards the requested documents.
8. The medical examination is completed.
9. Your fiance, as well as any children involved, attends the interview.
10. The visa is approved and issued.
11. Your fiance can legally enter the United States.
12. You need to get married within three months or your fiance will be forced to leave the country.
Other visa options are the CR-1 Visa or K-3 Visa for couples which have already married. Both involve lengthy visa petition packets and some wait time. Luckily, there's companies that will fill out and process the paperwork for you, only requiring a simple signature on your part. This can save you a tremendous amount of wait time, especially with the understanding that the paperwork will be filled out correctly the first time, by someone who understands the process.
If you meet your spouse in the United States while he or she is working under a conditional visa, you can opt to marry and file for an adjustment status. It's in your best interest to begin the process at least ninety days before the conditional visa expires, (sooner is better) and then enlisting assistance to expedite the process.
A marriage visa can be a complicated process but it's a guaranteed way of securing a green card when done correctly. If you decide to embark on the process without outside assistance, you may run the risk of making mistakes on your paperwork, bogging down the process significantly, and lacking the necessary support and contacts, making it take much longer to bring your loved one home. When choosing your help, make sure the company is accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), as there's plenty of companies seeking to take advantage of you out there. Also, choose a company that offers live help, via the telephone at convenient hours, and is able to send you documents digitally, rather than via snail mail. Time is of the essence.