Atlanta, GA – You never know where you might find love, but when that special someone is not a US citizen you will have to fight so you can be together. Federal bureaucracy will throw a lot of hurdles your way. To overcome those hurdles you’ll need a fast course in bureaucracy or the help of an experienced Atlanta immigration lawyer who already knows the legal process.
To get your spouse to join you in Atlanta you must be a US citizen yourself or at latest a lawful permanent resident.
Here’s what you need to do:
Submit a petition on Form I-130
The US citizen/ permanent resident must start the process by submitting the I-130 form to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This document must be accompanied by proof of your status as a US citizen or resident. Then, there’s the proof that you are legally married. This depends on the laws of the country where you got married. The USCIS will not take into consideration
- civil unions or domestic partnerships that are not recognized as legal marriages in the country where you got married
- polygamous marriages, where one spouse is already married to another person or persons
- marriages where one party is not present at the ceremony;
Also, your marriage will come under intense scrutiny if there’s any suspicion the only purpose of your union was to commit immigration fraud.
Fill in the forms required by the National Visa Center
You’ll probably have to wait a few months to hear from the USCIS. Once the I-130 is approved, you will receive another set of documents from the National Visa Center (NVC). You will also have to gather more documents and pay the required fees. Make sure you don’t make any mistakes on those forms as this will set you back a few months. Also, be very careful with the fees and always send the precise amount to the appropriate office. You may have to pay various fees to various offices and it’s easy to get confused.
Get ready for the consular interview
Once the NVC approves the submitted documents, your case will be transferred to the US consulate in the country your spouse resides in. Your spouse will have to undergo a medical exam done by an approved local physician. The next step is the interview at the consulate. If everything goes well, your spouse may receive the immigration visa right at the interview, but don’t bet on it. The consular officers may ask a lot of questions to make sure your marriage is legit. Your spouse could use some coaching before the interview, particularly if their English is not all that good. Translators can be provided if necessary. In some cases, your spouse may have to wait a few days or weeks to get the visa.
Get your plane ticket
Once your spouse gets the visa, he or she may catch the next plane to Atlanta. The border officer will examine the visa carefully, but there’s usually nothing to worry about. If your spouse gets a visa granting them permanent residence in Georgia it’s just as good as a Green Card. The actual Green Card will arrive by mail in a few weeks. Keep in mind that the Green Card has a two-year expiration date. To avoid problems, you should send an I-751 petition to USCIS 90 days before the expiration date.
All in all, the whole process may take around 12 months. That is assuming you don’t make any mistakes while filling in the forms or you don’t forget to mail a vital document. To avoid such problems, talk to a marriage-based immigration lawyer in Atlanta and have them review your file.
If you have any specific questions about marriage-based immigration, talk to a trustworthy lawyer at Kuck | Baxter Immigration LLC in Atlanta or their South Georgia office.
Kuck | Baxter Immigration LLC
365 Northridge Road
Atlanta, GA 30350
Tel : (404) 816-8611
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