Why did the USCIS create the spousal visa?


Quick Answer

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services department, or USCIS, created the spousal visa to provide a way for U.S. citzens' and green card holders' spouses to live in the United States as permanent residents, explains USCIS. A U.S. citizen's spouse is eligible for a conditional residence or an immediate relative immigrant visa, notes the U.S. Department of State. The spouse of a lawful permanent resident of the United States is eligible for a family second-preference immigrant visa.

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Full Answer

A U.S. citizen's spouse is eligible for an immediate relative immigrant visa if the couple has been married for two or more years. A spouse that has been married to a U.S. citizen for less than two years is eligible for a conditional residence visa, reports the U.S. Department of State. There is no limit to the amount of immediate relative visas that the U.S. issues each fiscal year.

A limited number of family second-preference immigrant visas are available each fiscal year, according to the U.S. Department of State. When the number of qualified applicants is greater than the number of available visas, there is an immigration wait. When this occurs, the available visas are issued chronologically based on when a petition was filed.

In order to obtain an immigrant visa, the sponsoring relative must first file Form I-130, which is a petition for an alien relative with USCIS, explains the U.S. Department of State. Once the petition is approved, it is sent to the National Visa Center. The National Visa Center informs the applicant of the required fees, and once the fees are paid, the applicant must submit the required documentation. When the applicant's file is complete, he undergoes a visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

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