If you hold a green card, chances are you still have connections in your home country. You may have left behind parents, siblings, old friends and schoolmates with whom you keep in regular contact. However, if you are missing that one special person, you may have decided the time is right to get married and start your life together here in the United States. There is probably no reason to rush the wedding date since obtaining a green card for a potential spouse can be a very long, complicated process.
Quotas and questions
Each year, immigration authorities allow a certain number of family visas sponsored by green card holders. Because of this, the average wait can be up to five years, and that wait can seem long for someone hoping to get married. For U.S. citizens, there are no quotas for green card petitions for immediate family members. A foreigner hoping to obtain a visa to marry a U.S. citizen may have to wait one year or less.
A number of factors can complicate the circumstances surrounding your petition for your loved one's visa. Some of those factors include:
- The type of visa for which you are petitioning: K1 visas are for fiancés, but K3 visas are for spouses. Each has its own requirements and limitations.
- The type of visa you hold: If you have a non-immigrant visa, such as H-1, L-1 or F-1, your loved one's visa will expire when yours expires.
- Any marriages or divorces in your histories: Immigration authorities may become suspicious of fraud if petitioners can't provide thorough documentation of previous relationships.
- Lack of compatibility: If you and your spouse don't communicate often, or if immigration authorities suspect a contrived relationship, they may deny your petition.
There are countless other variables and conditions for a successful petition for a visa. In addition, the numerous types of visas and their requirements for eligibility can be confusing.
Making sense of it all
Trying to undertake a loved one's immigration process on your own is a complicated endeavor. Without a thorough understanding of the system, there is always the potential for making a costly mistake. A simple error, omission or oversight could end up delaying your loved one's visa for years, placing your plans for a new life together on hold.
Fortunately, in Colorado there are attorneys who have focused for years on the changing immigration laws. They understand how to complete the applications, which documentation is required and how to meet those important deadlines. In addition, an immigration attorney will know what to do if your loved one's application hits a snag. Having an attorney to help you will improve the chances that you and your loved one will be walking down the aisle sooner rather than later.