Securing a marriage-based visa

For many who are living in foreign countries that want to make a new life for themselves in Baton Rouge or elsewhere in the U.S., the first step may be to send one member of the family over to get an education, secure a job, and begin establishing roots in their new homeland. For those that do this who are married, the day that they are able to be reunited with their spouses or secure them residency is undoubtedly an anticipated one. Yet before such a reunion can happen, one should understand the steps required to secure a marriage-based visa.

Many may worry that being approved for a marriage-based visa will be a difficult process. Yet according to the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the U.S. State Department, over 81,400 of such visas were granted in 2016, with an additional 51,979 being granted conditionally. Thus, while the path to getting one’s spouse residency may involve a few twists and turns, it certainly can be completed.

The requirements to gain permanent residency for one’s spouse depend on whether the one petitioning for it is a U.S. citizen or not. The steps are detailed on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ website. For a citizen whose spouse has not yet arrived, he or she needs to submit a Petition for Alien Relative. For those spouses may already be here, they must submit the same document, along with an Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status. The same documents must be submitted by one who is a permanent resident seeking to have his or her spouse granted the same privilege. The only difference is that for one whose spouse is already here, the proposed beneficiary must have maintained a lawful status during his or her entire time in the country.