Spouse Visa 101: How to bring your Spouse to the USA
A spouse visa might be called a CR-1 or an IR-1 visa.
CR-1 is when the couple has been married less than 2 years,
IR-1 is if the couple has been married longer.
The following are the eligibility requirements to apply for a Spouse Visa,
And to be approved for the visa by US immigration, you must go beyond just
meeting the eligibility requirements. You must PROVE that the following requirements have been met.
It is the visa needed In order to bring your new spouse to the USA and her to remain here permanently you must apply for a spouse visa.
The spouse CR1 visa will give her permission to come to the USA and stay here permanently.
Spouse currently Spouse visas take about 14 to 18 months, processing time.
Recipients of Social Security Disability (SSD, or SSDI) are financially eligible to sponsor immigration while recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are NOT!.
SSD or SSDI = Eligible to apply
SSI = NOT eligible to apply
While both are administered by the Social Security Administration, the difference between Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income is the fact that SSD is available to workers who have accumulated a sufficient number of work credits, while SSI benefits are available to low-income individuals who have either never worked or who haven’t earned enough work credits to qualify for SSD.
Supplemental Security Income, then is a form of federal welfare, and as such makes the recipient ineligible to sponsor a foreign fiance or spouse, and promise to keep them off of welfare, while the sponsor is already recieving those same benefits. Continue reading “SSI Ineligibility vs SSD”
When applying for Fiancee or Spouse Visas, or Adjustment of Status to Permanent Residency US Immigration requires that the sponsor demonstrate his financial eligibility. For most sponsors the financial proofs required are proof of employment, year to date earnings statements such as pay stubs and the sponsors most RECENT Federal Tax return.
Proof used for Fiancee Visa evidence typically starts with a few well chosen photographs that show a happy and bona fide couple. Below is my video that explains how to choose the “right” photos, and avoid the “wrong” photos to submit with your Fiancee Visa or Spouse Visa Petition. For forms I-129F and I-130
In preparing a fiance or spousal visa petition for USCIS it’s important to include some photos that proves that you and your life partner have met each other.
In addition you have the opportunity here to tell the story about your relationship and to to give the impression how sincere your relationship is. So it is important to choose the right photos and that’s what this presentation is all about. Continue reading “Evidence Photos”
As we know the internet is timeless. Once something is posted online it is there forever. So the exact date of posting is not too important.
But I would like share with you that I am recording and publishing this video just before Veterans Day.
I want to thank all of our Military men and women for their service.
Here at VisaCoach we greatly appreciate everything you do and the sacrifices you make for us and for our nation. I am honored to have personally assisted many military couples unite in the USA
I’m proud that so far 100% of the cases I’ve helped Military Personel with have gotten their visa or green card the first time we applied. This includes all of those unhappy couples who came to me for help to reapply after their “do it yourself”, or JAG assisted cases had been denied.
Because the processing time for fiance and spouse visas and adjustment of status can take quite a long time from 6 months on the short side to over a year and a half, on the long, sometimes it happens that you the military Sponsor receive orders for Deployment while your case is in process but not finally adjudicated.
In such cases we want to push USCIS and the State Department to work faster so that your fiance or spouse can enter the USA faster. That way you could some time before the Deployment starts to make sure your family are settled in before leaving. Continue reading “Military Visa Expedite”
*K3 visas are no longer being offered by Immigration. The CR-1 Spousal Visa replaces the K3.
Click here for info on Spouse Visa Service
The K-3 spouse visa was an invention by Congress to speed the immigration process to bring an American Citizen’s foreign born spouse to the USA for permanent residency. While it served its original purpose 15 years ago reducing processing time from 2 to 1 year, it is no longer a popular choice as regular CR1 and IR1 spouse visas now enjoy processing speeds themselves of 1 year.
In order to bring one’s foreign-born spouse to the USA the American citizen or Lawful permanent resident applies for a spouse visa.
Originally two different spouse visas were available the IR-1 Visa if the marriage had lasted over 2 years, and the CR1 Visa if the marriage was less than two years old.
Around 2001 it came to the attention of Congress that while married couples had to wait for 2 years to get permission to start their lives together in the USA, couples that were not yet married, who only INTENDED to marry, were able to receive their visas much faster.
It seemed to Congress that Americans who had made solid marriage commitments were being penalized, having to wait so much longer than what the fiance visa process offered. Congress suggested a solution, this was a hybrid Visa that was half fiance visa and half spouse visa.
This became the K-3 spouse visa. At that time while regular IR1 and CR1 spouse visas were taking 2 years, the K3 cut the waiting time in half, to about a single year.
The process to obtain a K-3 visa, combined the steps needed to apply for a regular spouse visa AND the steps needed to apply for a fiance visa. Actually, it doubled the work for the applying couple.
First a couple applies for a spouse visa following all of the regular procedures one would use to apply using the I-130 form. They wait until receiving confirmation from USCIS that the I-130 is in process, then submit a second petition this time using the I-129F form which is normally used exclusively for fiance visas. Now two separate but fairly identical petitions have been submitted and are in process at USCIS.
If the two petitions were submitted close upon the heels of each other the I-129f petition would be approved first then passed on to the National Visa center and arrive at the consulate for issuance of the K-3 Visa about a full year faster than a CR1 or IR1 visa. The K-3 visa when issued would allow the foreign spouse to enter and exit the USA for up to two years, and permit the spouse within those two years to apply to adjust status and obtain permanent residency.
The K-3 was a stopgap method that doubled the work, but halved the waiting time.
It became a popular choice.
Fast forward to about 2013.
By 2013 US immigration was doing a much better job in processing regular IR-1 and CR-1 spouse visas. No longer was it taking 2 long years. Instead processing times were reduced to about only 1 year.
And one year, is about the same amount of time that was needed for the hybrid K-3 Visa..
The K3 was invented to compensate for slow processing times of the regular spouse visas. By 2013 the original problem was apparently solved. Regular spouse visas are now being processed in a reasonable time frame of about a year. The K-3 no longer has a speed advantage. In essence that means the K-3 no longer is needed. Basically “Problem solved”.
But, the K-3 visa is still on the books. The Department of State has not removed it as an option from the list of available visas, And who knows, it might be needed later, in case regular spouse visa processing slows down again.
In the mean time, the Department of State doesn’t want to process them, and in 2013 announced an official policy that serves to make the K-3 Visa almost impossible to get.
As described earlier, the K-3 application process requires two petitions submitted to USCIS. Previously the I-129F K-3 petition had a speed advantage over the regular I-130. But no that is no longer the case.
Now both petitions are being processed just as quickly. Department of State’s new policy is they would only process whichever approval was granted first. If I-130 was approved first, then the IR-1 or CR-1 visa would be processed. If the I-129F was approved first then the K-3 would be processed.
But the race is fixed. The new more efficient USCIS processing, virtually always approves the I-130 first, or both, on the same day. And I-130 first or ties result in the regular spouse visa being processed, and the K-3 request being ignored..
This has caused a huge decrease in the number of K-3 visas actually issued. Three years after creation, by 2004, almost 14,000 K-3 visas were issued compared to 44,000 IR-1 and CR-1 visas. In 2015 there were approximately 108,000 regular IR1 or CR1 spouse visas approved, compared to only 182 K3 Visas.
While a handful of K3 visas are still being issued, for most it’s hardly worth the extra effort and cost to apply for the K-3 knowing that the chances of it being eventually issued, are miniscule compared to simply applying for the regular spouse visa.
By Fred Wahl
Two to three times each week I get calls from distraught Americans, who are reeling in shock and disappointment after hearing from their heartbroken fiancee or spouse their visa petition was denied. I am sorry for their distress, but glad to say they were not VisaCoach clients. They attempted this process alone, or used a cheap online form filling service or used an unseasoned attorney or consultant. And now, after disaster, finally are calling VisaCoach. Too bad they did not find me sooner.
“The consular officer treated my partner rudely and unfairly”
“Can we sue the consulate? Can we appeal? “
Yes, all those actions CAN be taken. Unfortunately, none will bring your lover closer to reunion with you in the USA.
What can be done, that is USEFUL?
Don’t get Denied in the first place. The first time you apply should be the ONLY time.
In most cases winning or losing the visa occurs not at the interview, but in what is done before the application is actually submitted and how complete the application is.
The requirements for approval at each consulate are based upon the local culture and societal norms of the country where the consulate is based. Each has their own “sub rosa” (meaning secret and unpublished) guidelines for what a bona fide couple is expected to have done during their courtship and what proofs and evidences they should reasonably have. Some consulates require a formal engagement, multiple trips, a long courtship. Some consulates are hyper suspicious regarding red flags, such as significant age difference, multiple prior marriages, english fluency, how the couple met. A different consulates may not consider these as issues at all.
This is where the higher VisaCoach standard, for crafting “front loaded presentations” wins the day. The consular officer always reviews the case file before the interview starts. To the cursory review, he brings a blank pad of paper, where he plans to list areas that appear suspicious, so he can drill down on those issues during the interview.
The VisaCoach method is to start by advising you on what you should do to satisfy your consulates expectations on what makes a bona fide couple, and showing you how to document what you should do, and finally to include those evidences by “front loading” them into your visa application. I help you write a letter to describe your courtship, relationship and plans for a future together. And if there are any red flags the consulate may be concerned with we explain why they should be ignored.
The final result is that the consular officer during his review of the application, immediately before the interview begins, finds many good reasons why he should be comfortable to say yes, and approve the visa. When we convince him during his quiet review and deliberations that he should say “yes”, and have mentally prepared him to say “yes”, we have prepared the way for a short and friendly interview that ends with “Welcome to the USA”
What REALISTICALLY should be done If Denied?
Answer: Start Over
On denial, USCIS advises “you may appeal the decision”. In practice, appeals are rarely successful, as you must prove that the consular officer made a mistake in procedure, not that his intuition was wrong. Appeals typically take about 6 to 12 months waiting to get the final answer, which is most likely “no”. Filing the appeal costs $630, compared to $340 to refile for Fiance or $420 to refile for Spouse.
Once denied, in general your effective option is to start over, repeating the ENTIRE process again.
This time do a better job with VisaCoach’s help.
On the plus side, you now have hired VisaCoach to keep you on course, avoid mistakes, and to powerfully present your evidences.
What went wrong?
When working to resubmit a denied case, the first thing VisaCoach does is find out what went wrong. I review the evidences and documents that were submitted, the denial letter from the consulate and a detailed account and transcript of the interview.
Upon review of the evidences and interview I usually have a good idea on what was “on the consular officers mind”, and especially important for future success: what his suspicions were. Then I suggest an action plan for you to follow, on what you should do to develop additional evidences, proofs and timeline so that we can win your case.
The issues we can solve by action, we solve. The issues we can’t solve, I help you explain why they are not relevant and should be ignored.
VisaCoach Front Loaded Presentation
Once past mistakes have been corrected, we assemble, a compelling petition much stronger, and more believable than what the consular officer previously based his decision on. This time by telling your improved story in a logical and convincing manner and backing it up with well chosen evidences and proofs, your chances of success are greatly improved.
By Fred Wahl
Lets talk about delays in immigration case processing and answer the question “Why is USCIS taking so long to process my case?.”
The process to apply for fiance or spouse visa or adjustment of status requires submitting applications to USCIS. It can be very frustrating to wait for results. It feels as if the wheels of U.S. immigration grind very very slowly.
Here are the top six reasons why your case might be delayed. Continue reading “Why is my Case Taking so Long?”
Just when we all were getting used to the delays caused by President Trump’s executive orders. He had instructed USCIS to more vigorously vet all cases with an objective to to restrict legal immigration. Just when we finally came to grips with the changes at USCIS that doubled or tripled the length of application forms, and caused most processing times to double.
Now the policy of extreme vetting, and immigration restrictionism has come to the US State Department’s consulate level.
Now either before a consulate interview or worst at the end of a consulate interview (just when you are waiting to hear “visa approved, welcome to USA” now many applicants are handed additional questionnaires asking about their social media, internet and telephone accounts.
These questionnaires often come with a note, saying that perhaps your case may require administrative processing. Continue reading “Social Media Vetting for Fiance and Spouse Visa Applicants”
Today I would like to talk about, how the frequency of your travel to meet your partner, (your Fiance or Spouse) may determine whether your visa application is approved or denied.
Often times, a couple, in the first flush of excitement when they start their courtship, are so eager to spend time together, that they meet pretty often, as often as they can afford. Then once engaged or married, they apply for the K1 or CR1 visa. And sometimes, while their applications are underway, the frequency of in-person meetings, drops way off or even stops.
Usually the reason is to save money for their future, or they hope the next trip will be the one to the USA after the visa is granted. Unfortunately, when the time between meetings, stretches or stops, you are in real danger of having your case denied at the interview.
A real life example. A guy calls me up. First time caller. His case has just been denied. He was not a VisaCoach client. Frankly if he was, I could have saved him from his disaster. Continue reading “In person meeting frequency”
I130 Form: How to complete I130
Petition for Alien Relative
I130 forms may be obtained directly from USCIS Continue reading “How to Fill in i130”
Fiancee Visa proofs are required for visa approval. This video describes how to prove a bona fide, genuine relationship for USCIS when applying for a K-1 Fiancee or CR-1 Spousal Visa, using I-129F or I-130 Petitions
The most common reason Fiancee or Spouse Visa petitions are rejected is that Immigration is not convinced the couple have a genuine “bona fide” relationship.
There are many ways to prove the relationship, photos, phone bills, emails, log files, on and on. Some couples though don’t really think about saving this “paper trail” until they are just about ready to file their I-129F or I-130 petitions. By then it is too late. And they may end up rejected due to lack of planning.
I put together a video that teaches how to prove you have a genuine relationship. It speaks directly to couples who are applying for Fiancee or Spousal visas. And tells them what documents and proof to attach to their K visa petitions.
I think that a new couple who has just found each other, should ALSO view this lesson, so that from the start of their relationship they will know what is needed later on, and so can save from the beginning, what they should have later.
For example: Proof that the couple has regularly communicated with each other is essential. What about the couple that uses Instant messenger every day, but never turned on “logging”? What proof do they have? NONE. !
If they turned on LOGGING, they could print out a page, or pages that show each and every time they communicated, when they logged in, when they logged out. It is not necessary to show the words of each conversation, but is extremely valuable to show the frequency and dates of the conversations.
The same applies for telephone bills or logs. It used to be that everyone got a regular phone bill each month, that showed the numbers called and the duration of each call. Now there are ways to save money by buying pre-paid phone cards or joining discount calling services. Some keep track of your calls, and you could print out statements to prove your calls. But many clients use prepaid phone cards, which don’t provide you any record at all! The time to choose a service that provides you a record of you calls, is at the Start of your relationship.
If you are starting a relationship, or still looking, take a minute to watch this video on “How to prove a genuine relationship for the Fiancee or Spousal visa”. You will be much better prepared in case you find you life partner and hope to live together in the USA.
Of course if you have already found your partner and are applying for a K-1 or K-3 visa, use the suggestions shown on the video to make your petition more believable and thus help to ensure a happy ending to your visa application.
By Fred Wahl
PS: If your fiancée or spouse is not a citizen of the United States and you want her (or him) to enter the US, then you will need to obtain a K1 Fiancée visa or CR-1 Spousal Visa.
Here’s how that’s done…
By Fred Wahl
Hi. My name is Fred Wahl – I am the Visa Coach, known in the field of fiance and spouse immigration for the fast and easy approval,
and personal one-on-one attention, my clients enjoy and for crafting winning “front loaded” petitions that ease approval, while avoiding hi fees, delays or denial
Approval or denial, success or failure, all hinge upon the consular interview. The interview is the final challenge before a visa or green card is approved. The officer must be convinced the couple has a bona fide relationship, and the applicant is of good moral character.
Sometimes even genuine couples, get tripped up during the interview. I ensure my clients success by crafting for them a persuasive “front loaded” petition, that answers all the consular officers questions before he asks any,
To get your FREE COPY of this essential Getting Started tool, plus free monthly emailed updates on marriage based immigration, Just type your name and email below.
See you on the other side.
By Fred Wahl
It was recently reported that Trump administration officials are considering subjecting visitors to a range of invasive measures, including searches of their mobile phones and contacts, mandatory disclosure of their social media passwords, and interrogation about their beliefs and opinions.
Applicants could be asked to do the following:
To be successful to obtain a Fiance Visa the following K1 Eligibility Requirements must be met.
Sponsor is US Citizen
U.S. citizens ONLY, can sponsor an Alien Fiancee. Legal permanent residents are NOT eligible.
Free to Marry
You and your fiancé(e) must both be free to marry, at the time you submit your petition. This means that both of you are unmarried, or that any previous marriages have ended through divorce, annulment or death.g
Face to Face Meeting
You must also have met with your fiancé(e) in person, “face to face” within the last two years before filing.
Planning to Marry
You must affirm that you both intend to marry during your fiancee’s stay in the USA
Bona Fide Relationship
You must be able to convince immigration that your relationship is genuine.
To meet the K1 visa financial eligibility requirements, you must be able to prove your annual income is enough to support your entire household at at lease 100% of the Federal poverty Guidelines..
To be successful to obtain a Spouse Visa the following Spouse Visa Eligibility requirements must be met.
What is a CR-1 Spousal Visa?
If your spouse is not a citizen of the United States and you plan to bring her to live in the United States, then you must file a petition with USCIS on behalf of your spouse. After the petition is approved, your spouse must obtain a visa issued at a U.S. Embassy or consulate abroad. This visa is called a CR-1 visa.
Two departments of the federal government are involved with the processing of Spouse Visas. Continue reading “CR-1 Spouse Visa”