How much does it cost to obtain an immigrant visa for a spouse of a US citizen living abroad?
Obtaining an immigrant visa for a spouse of a U.S. citizen living abroad involves various fees. The total cost includes both government processing fees and other associated costs. The fees are subject to change, so it’s essential to check the official U.S. government websites for the most up-to-date information. Here is an overview of the typical fees involved:
- Form I-130 Filing Fee: As of September 2021, the filing fee for Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, was $535.
- National Visa Center (NVC) Processing Fee: After the Form I-130 is approved, the NVC will charge processing fees, including the Affidavit of Support fee and the Immigrant Visa Application Processing Fee. As of September 2021, these fees were $120 and $325, respectively.
- Medical Examination Fee: The foreign spouse will need to undergo a medical examination by a designated panel physician, and the cost of the medical examination can vary depending on the country and the physician’s fees.
- Police Clearance Certificate Fee: If a police clearance certificate is required, there might be a fee associated with obtaining it in the foreign spouse’s country of residence.
- Passport and Passport Photos: The foreign spouse will need to obtain a passport from their home country and provide passport-sized photos that meet the U.S. visa photo requirements.
- Travel Expenses: Additional costs may include travel expenses for the foreign spouse to attend the visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate.
It’s essential to keep in mind that these are just the government and processing fees and do not include the cost of potential legal representation, document translations, or other miscellaneous expenses that may arise during the application process.
Again, I must emphasize that the fees and costs are subject to change, and it is essential to verify the current fees on the official U.S. government websites, such as the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs websites. Additionally, fees may vary depending on the U.S. embassy or consulate where the visa interview takes place, so it’s best to check with the specific embassy or consulate for any location-specific fees.
What are the minimum income requirements for a spousal visa if the beneficiary is married to a US citizen and lives abroad?
The minimum income requirements for a spousal visa (CR-1 or IR-1) when the beneficiary (foreign spouse) is married to a U.S. citizen and lives abroad are determined by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The U.S. citizen petitioner is required to meet the minimum income threshold to serve as the financial sponsor for their foreign spouse’s immigration.
The income requirements are based on the U.S. poverty guidelines issued annually by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The specific poverty guideline used depends on the petitioner’s household size (the number of people they are financially responsible for), including the intending immigrant spouse.
As of September 2021, the minimum income requirements for the petitioner to sponsor their foreign spouse were as follows:
- For a household size of 2 (U.S. citizen petitioner and intending immigrant spouse): 125% of the federal poverty guidelines.
- For larger household sizes, the income requirement increases based on the number of additional dependents.
It’s important to note that if the petitioner’s income does not meet the minimum requirements, they may need to obtain a joint sponsor who meets the income requirements and is willing to financially support the intending immigrant spouse as well.
Since the U.S. poverty guidelines are subject to change annually, it’s crucial to refer to the most up-to-date information provided by the USCIS and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to determine the current minimum income requirements for spousal visa sponsorship. Additionally, immigration regulations and requirements may change over time, so consulting an immigration attorney or accredited representative for the most current and personalized guidance is advisable.
Am I eligible for a green card if I am married to a US citizen and live abroad?
Yes, you may be eligible for a green card (lawful permanent residency) if you are married to a U.S. citizen and live abroad. As the spouse of a U.S. citizen, you may be eligible for an immigrant visa through a process known as “consular processing.” Consular processing allows certain foreign nationals who are outside of the United States to apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country.
To initiate the process, your U.S. citizen spouse will need to file a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to establish the qualifying relationship between you and your spouse. Once the I-130 petition is approved, it will be forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC), and then to the U.S. embassy or consulate in your country of residence for further processing.
The steps for obtaining a green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen living abroad typically involve the following:
- File Form I-130: Your U.S. citizen spouse files Form I-130 with USCIS to establish the qualifying relationship between you as the foreign spouse and your U.S. citizen spouse.
- Wait for I-130 Approval: After USCIS approves the Form I-130, the petition will be forwarded to the NVC for further processing.
- NVC Processing: The NVC will request the necessary documentation and fees from your U.S. citizen spouse to proceed with the visa application process.
- Consular Processing: You will attend an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country. If the consular officer approves your visa application, you will receive an immigrant visa, which allows you to travel to the United States.
- Entering the United States: Once you enter the United States on the immigrant visa, you will become a lawful permanent resident (green card holder).
It’s important to note that obtaining a green card through marriage involves a complex process, and eligibility requirements may vary depending on individual circumstances. Additionally, immigration laws and regulations may change, so it’s essential to consult with an immigration attorney or accredited representative to understand your specific situation and ensure you meet all the requirements for consular processing and obtaining a green card.