Marriage Visa Step by Step Guide:

Definition and Description:

The marriage visa, also known as CR-1 visa, is an immediate relative immigrant visa that grants the applicant permanent resident status immediately upon issuance of the visa. There is no quota or wait time for issuance of a marriage visa to the foreign spouse of a U.S. citizen. The visa will be issued as soon as the applicant completes all the required application steps. Unfortunately there is a quota and wait time for the foreign spouse of a U.S. permanent resident. The current wait time is available by clicking here.

The First Step – the USCIS Petition

The first step toward obtaining a marriage visa for your foreign spouse is filing an I-130 petition with the USCIS. This petition must be supported by the following documentation:

    1. Proof that the petitioner is a U.S. citizen;
    2. Proof that the parties were free to marry at the time of their marriage (widowed, divorced or never married). This can be documented with divorce decrees or death certificates (of former spouses) as applicable;
    3. Proof of valid marriage between the petitioner and the beneficiary;
    4. Proof that the marriage is based on good-faith and legitimate romance and love (not entered into for purposes of immigration).

The Second Step – NVC processing

After the USCIS approves your I-130 petition, it sends the petition to the National Visa Center. The NVC sends out a fee invoice which must be paid to commence NVC processing. The following documents and completed forms need to be submitted to the NVC:

    1. Affidavit of Support (I-864, I-864A, I-864 EZ, or I-864W, as appropriate) from the petitioner/U.S. sponsor;
    2. Supporting financial documentation from the sponsor including tax returns, pay stubs and employer letter;
    3. DS-260 Immigrant Visa Electronic Application;
    4. Copy of applicant’s valid passport biographic data page;
    5. Applicant’s birth certificate;
    6. Marriage certificate;
    7. Proof of termination of marriage for Applicant’s previous marriage(s);
    8. Applicant’s police certificate.

Once the NVC receives all of the above documentation, it schedules your wife’s interview and forwards the file to the American Consulate in her home country.

The Third and Final Step – the Consular Interview

This step is the consular interview. At the interview the consular officer will make the final determination of eligibility for the marriage visa. The interviewer will ask your wife about your relationship and she will need to establish that the relationship is romantic and loving. We prepare all of our clients for the interview to ensure success. After the interview the visa will be issued within 7 – 14 days.


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