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What Visas Are Available When a Spouse Is Immigrating to the U.S.?

DuPage County immigration attorney spouse immigrant visaWhen family members are separated by international borders, they will want to do everything they can to be together. This is especially true for married couples or people who are planning to get married. United States citizens or lawful permanent residents who are planning to have their spouse immigrate to the country should be sure to understand their options for obtaining visas and permanent resident status.

Visas for Spouses of U.S. Citizens

To begin the process of obtaining an immigrant visa, a U.S. Citizen who lives in the U.S. and is legally married to a non-citizen must file a Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130) with the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If the spouse is already living in the U.S., an Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status (Form I-485) must also be filed.

If spouses have been married for more than two years, they are eligible for an Immediate Relative visa (IR1). If they have been married for less than two years, they are eligible for a Conditional Residence visa (CR1). Spouses who receive a CR1 visa are allowed to live in the U.S. on a conditional basis for two years. Within the 90 days before a spouse’s conditional residence expires, the spouses must file a Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence (Form I-751). If they fail to do so, the immigrant spouse may be subject to removal from the country. 

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