Spouse Visa Application

How to Process Spouse Visa Application

A United States citizen or a green card holder (lawful permanent resident) can bring a spouse to the US and sponsor the spouse’s green card. A spouse of foreign origin may apply for a green card from the United States for permanent residence at home and work.

Check out this article to learn how to process spouse visa application.

Spouse Visa Eligibility

The spouse who is a U.S. citizen or a green card holder is referred to as the petitioner. The beneficiary or applicant is the spouse who will emigrate and obtain their green card.

Below are the criteria to be eligible for a spouse visa:

  • The petitioner should be at least 18 years of age.
  • The petitioner must have permanent residence in the US.
  • The beneficiary must be legally wedded to the petitioner.

The Process of Getting a Spouse Visa: How long will it take?

The application process for a spouse visa can be time-consuming. Given that the immigration process involves several phases, it might take around a year to complete the entire process.

The length of time of the application process depends on many factors. This includes how well the applicant prepared the documents, as missing and improperly filled-out forms might cause undue delays.

The processing time also depends on whether the petitioner is a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) backlog also serves as a factor.

Because there is no restriction to the number of visas available to immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, their applications are given priority.

Steps of the Visa Process for Spouses

The following are the steps for applying for an immigrant visa:

Filing the Petition

The first step of immigrant visa application is to file a Petition for Alien Relative with USCIS under the Department of Homeland Security.

In some circumstances, a U.S. citizen who is living abroad may file an immigrant visa petition outside of the United States.


You may be charged appropriate fees for the following services:

  • Filing an immigrant Petition for an Alien Relative (Form I-130)
  • Processing an immigrant visa application (Form DS-260)
  • Medical examination and required vaccinations
  • Other expenses may include translations, photocopying fees, fees for obtaining the documents required for immigrant visa application (such as passport, police certificates, birth certificate, etc.), and travel expenses to the US embassy or consulate for the visa interview. Costs can be different from one country to another.

The National Visa Center (NVC) will provide applicants with instructions on where and when to pay the appropriate fees. These non-refundable fees must be paid for each intending immigrant.

Unless otherwise specified, please do not send payments to the NVC’s Portsmouth, New Hampshire address. Similarly, applicants shouldn’t send payment to the United States Embassy or Consulate where they’ll have the visa interview.

Required Documentation

Below is the list of required documentation for spouse visa application:

  • Passport valid for six months beyond the intended date of entry into the United States, unless longer validity is requested by the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in your country
  • Affidavit of Support (I-864, I-864A, I-864 EZ, or I-864W, as appropriate) from the petitioner or US sponsor
  • Form DS-260, Immigrant Visa, and Alien Registration Application
  • Two (2) 2×2 photographs in the required format
  • Civil Documents for the applicant. Bring the original or certified copies of civil documents, such as birth and marriage certificates. Divorce or death certificates are also needed to prove that a previous marriage was officially terminated. Legible photocopies of all original civil documents and any required translations in the immigrant visa interview are also required.
  • Completed Medical Examination Forms from the panel physician after the applicant has completed their medical examination and vaccinations

Medical Examination and Vaccinations

Every applicant must undergo a medical examination performed by an authorized panel physician.

Before the visa interview, the applicant must schedule and complete the medical examination and required vaccinations.

NVC provides applicants with instructions on medical examinations. They also give information about the authorized panel physicians.

Visa Interview

When the NVC determines that the file contains all the required documents, they will schedule the applicant’s interview. The file containing the applicant’s petition and documents is then sent to the United States Embassy or Consulate by NVC.

The applicant, petitioner, attorney, and third-party agent (if applicable) will receive appointment emails or letters with the date and time of the applicant’s visa interview. The email or letter also includes instructions and further information on how to get a medical examination.

Applicants should bring their valid passports to their visa interviews. They should also bring other supporting documents listed above.

During the interview, the official will also take digital fingerprint scans of the applicant without the use of ink. Applicants will receive their original civil documents and translations back at the time of the interview.

If you need help ensuring a smooth process spouse visa application, be sure to contact an immigration attorney.

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