The path to gaining lawful permanent resident status for a foreign spouse living abroad

The path to gaining lawful permanent resident status for a foreign spouse living abroad

| Oct 14, 2020 | Immigration |

With current backlogs and other restrictions in the immigration process in the United States, an I-30 petition, which is filed by an American citizen seeking to sponsor his or her non-citizen spouse, is taking roughly five months to be approved. On the surface level, that wait time doesn’t seem to be unreasonable. However, I-30 applicants in Florida should be aware that the initial approval is only the beginning of the process.

The National Visa Center

The National Visa Center is at the center of the US immigration process. The NVC’s primary responsibility is to gather all the paperwork that is involved in each and every immigration petition before handing it over to a US Consulate for approval. Tragically, this step of the process can take anywhere from four to six months. That means that almost half a year can go by before a US Consulate brings in the immigrant-spouse for an interview and approval.

Once the American citizen’s I-30 application is approved, the next step requires proof of financial ability to support the non-citizen and completion of background checks and immigrant visa applications. This is a very tedious and time consuming process for the couple and is often where delays occur.

The Overseas Embassy

The last stage of the process requires an in-person interview before a government officer who will ask questions and review the applications and documents, including a medical and police checks submitted by the couple.  Getting the appointment can also take several months at some embassies in the world.  Following a successful interview, the foreign spouse will then have received his or her Lawful permanent resident status and proof of this will be mailed or collected at a designated location in the foreign spouse’s country.  This usually takes up to a few weeks before the foreign spouse can actually travel and be reunited with his or her spouse.

The process of a status change for a foreign spouse can take an additional five months. That means that the initial five month wait for the I-30 application to be approved is doubled by the status change process. A couple looking to gain American citizenship for the spouse should always work with an immigration attorney. This attorney can help guide their client through the piles of paperwork and interviews while helping their spouse achieve their ultimate goal of American citizenship.