MARRIAGE-BASED VISA LAWYERS WITH 50 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE
Operating for over fifty years with experience in all areas of immigration law, our knowledgeable attorneys at Spar & Bernstein have helped thousands of people come to and remain in the U.S.
WHY HIRE SPAR & BERNSTEIN FOR MARRIAGE-BASED VISAS?
Our knowledgeable and compassionate marriage-based visa lawyers at Spar & Bernstein will work devotedly to help you reunite with your spouse in the U.S. by obtaining a marriage-based visa.
We will provide advice on eligibility requirements, ensure that all necessary documents are prepared and filed, address potential challenges and advocate on your behalf to help you obtain a visa.
WHAT IS A MARRIAGE-BASED VISA?
A marriage-based visa is an immigrant visa that allows the foreign spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident to come to the U.S. to join their spouse and remain in the country as a permanent resident (Green Card holder).
TYPES OF MARRIAGE-BASED VISAS
There are two types of U.S. marriage-based visas:
The Conditional Resident visa (CR-1) is intended for couples who have been married for less than two years at the time of the visa application. The CR-1 visa allows you to receive a conditional Green Card upon entering the country, which is valid for two years.
The Immediate Relative visa (IR-1) is intended for couples who have been married for two or more years at the time of the visa application. The IR-1 visa allows you to receive a permanent resident status (Green Card), which is valid for 10 years.
WHO CAN PETITION FOR A MARRIAGE-BASED VISA?
Except in very limited circumstances, foreign spouses are not permitted to petition for a marriage-based visa on their own behalf.
Only the U.S. citizen or Green Card holder who is known as the sponsor has the ability to file a petition. The foreign spouse in this process is referred to as the beneficiary.
WHO QUALIFIES FOR A MARRIAGE-BASED VISA?
To qualify for a marriage-based visa, you must meet the following requirements:
- You are legally married to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
- You are in a bona fide marriage
- You are eligible for a U.S. immigrant visa
- Your spouse can prove that they can support you financially
HOW TO APPLY FOR A MARRIAGE-BASED VISA
Here are the steps to follow when applying for a marriage-based visa:
Complete Form I-130
Pay the filing fees
Pay your visa application processing fee.
Wait for approval
Once Form I-130 is submitted, you will receive a receipt notice from USCIS. You can then use the receipt number provided to track the status of your application online until you receive an approval notice.
Wait for the National Visa Center (NVC) to process your application
If your Form I-130 is approved, it will be forwarded to the NVC for further processing. You will need to provide additional documents to prove your visa eligibility. Once the NVC completes its processing, your case will be forwarded to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country.
Complete a medical examination
Schedule a medical examination with an authorized physician. The results will be sent directly to the Embassy or Consulate in your country.
Attend the visa interview
Attend the visa interview together with your spouse. You will be asked questions about your relationship and the purpose of your intended stay in the U.S.
Receive your visa
If your visa application is approved, you will receive your passport with the visa stamp specifying the type of visa, whether CR-1 or IR-1.
Enter the U.S. and obtain your Green Card
Once you enter the U.S. with your marriage-based visa, you will be granted conditional permanent resident status (if you applied for a CR-1 visa) or immediate permanent resident status (if you applied for an IR-1 visa).
Experienced Marriage Lawyers Fighting for You
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- Helped 100,000+ people to obtain U.S. immigration benefits
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FAQS ABOUT MARRIAGE-BASED VISAS
How Long Does It Take To Get A Marriage-Based Visa?
The time it takes to get a marriage-based visa can vary depending on whether your spouse is a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident.
For example, a CR-1 visa typically takes between 13 and 15 months if you are married to a U.S. citizen and between 19 and 33 months if you are married to a lawful permanent resident.
Can I Work In The U.S. With A Marriage-Based Visa?
Yes, both CR-1 and IR-1 visas allow you to start work in the U.S. immediately after entering the country. You can apply for a social security number and use it to gain employment.
Can I Travel Outside The U.S. With A Marriage-Based Visa?
Yes, if you have a marriage-based visa, you can travel in and out of the country. However, if you plan to be outside the U.S. for an extended period of time, make sure you maintain your permanent resident status by meeting the residency requirements.
Can I Bring My Children To The U.S. If I Have A Marriage-Based Visa?
Yes, if you are married to a lawful permanent resident, your children are under the age of 21 and unmarried, they can be included in your U.S. marriage-based visa application as derivative beneficiaries. They will receive the same immigrant visa status as you and they can enter the country with you.
If you are married to a U.S. citizen you will have to be processed first or in conjunction with your children, who are unmarried and were under 18 at the time of your marriage, through separate visa applications.
If your children were over 18 at the time of your marriage to your U.S. citizen spouse, then you can file for them immediately upon becoming a lawful permanent resident as long as they remain unmarried until their visa application is processed
Can I Apply For A Marriage-Based Visa If I Am Engaged To A U.S. Citizen Or Lawful Permanent Resident?
No, being engaged does not make you eligible for a marriage-based visa. To be eligible for a marriage-based visa, you must be legally married to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
Can I Apply For A Marriage-Based Visa If I Am In A Same-Sex Marriage?
Yes, same-sex marriages are recognized for immigration purposes in the U.S. The eligibility criteria and application process for a marriage-based visa are the same regardless of the gender of the applicant and sponsor.
Can I Apply For A Marriage-Based Visa If I Currently Live Outside Of My Home Country?
Yes, you can apply for a marriage-based visa from outside of your home country if you meet the eligibility requirements and follow the application process in place by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where you currently live.
What Documents Can Support My Marriage-Based Visa Application?
When applying for a marriage-based visa, you may be asked to provide various documents to support the authenticity of your marriage. These documents could include:
- A marriage certificate
- Joint financial documents, like bank account or credit card statements
- Photographs of you and your spouse together
- Copies of emails, letters or chat logs showing ongoing communication between you and your spouse
- Birth certificates of children you have together
- Travel records showing joint travel with your spouse
What Happens If I Get Divorced After Obtaining A Marriage-Based Visa?
If your marriage ends in divorce after obtaining a marriage-based visa, you may still be able to maintain your lawful permanent resident status. Schedule a consultation with our experienced immigration attorneys at Spar & Bernstein to explore your options.
Can I Renew A Conditional Green Card?
No, a conditional Green Card cannot be renewed — once it expires, you and your spouse must file a joint petition to remove the conditions and obtain the permanent Green Ca
Can I Apply For U.S. Citizenship After Entering The U.S. With A Marriage-Based Visa?
After entering the U.S. with a marriage-based visa and becoming a lawful permanent resident, you are typically eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship after five years, if you meet requirements such as maintaining continuous residence and proving good moral character.
Can I Apply For A Marriage-Based Visa If I Was Denied A Visa In The Past?
If you were denied a visa in the past, it does not automatically mean you cannot apply for a marriage-based visa. Contact our immigration team at Spar & Bernstein for help. We will review the reasons for your previous visa denial and determine your options.
Can I Apply For A Marriage-Based Visa If I Have A Criminal Record?
Having a criminal record does not automatically disqualify you from applying for a marriage-based visa. However, certain criminal convictions may make you inadmissible to the U.S.
Schedule a consultation with our knowledgeable marriage-based visa attorneys at Spar & Bernstein. We will look into the details of your case and determine how your criminal record might impact your eligibility for a marriage-based visa.
Experienced Leader in Immigration and Injury Law
Bradford H. Bernstein, a second-generation leader at Law Offices of Spar & Bernstein, P.C., has helped over 100,000 clients with immigration and personal injury issues. Brad joined the firm in 1993, became a partner in 1997, and assumed leadership in 2000 after Harry Spar retired.