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I-130 Processing Time for a Spouse

I-130 Processing Time for a Spouse

By Julie Sparks in Visas and Green Cards | on 2024-01-30 03:59:56

The term I-130 refers to a family-based immigration visa petition. The government does not limit the number of immediate relatives, like spouses, that can enter the United States. However, that does not mean that your husband or wife’s visa application will be processed overnight. 


If you are a US citizen, that does help speed up the process. For citizen petitioners, the wait can range anywhere from just over a year to four and a half years. If the petitioner is just a green card holder (not a US citizen), you can anticipate a wait of anywhere from two and a half to five and a half years.


Begin the process by consulting our Austin immigration attorneys about your next steps. 


USCIS Service Centers

Each United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) field office regularly posts how long their backlog is for I-130 visa applications. The five field offices that process I-130s are in California, Nebraska, Potomac, Texas, and Vermont. At the moment, each of the five field offices has a 14-month wait for citizen petitioners. For green card petitioners, the wait times are as follows:

  • California Service Center – 38.5 months
  • Nebraska Service Center – 29 months
  • Potomac Service Center – 32.5 months
  • Texas Service Center – 37 months
  • Vermont Service Center – 34.5 months


Proving Your Marriage Is Authentic

It’s pretty easy to prove that your parents or children are blood relatives—a birth certificate will usually do the trick. However, something you’ll face when petitioning for your spouse’s visa is proving that your marriage is not a sham. A “qualifying” marriage means that you and your spouse are genuinely in love and are planning a life together. If the main reason you two got married was for immigration purposes, your spouse will not be awarded a visa


To prove the marriage is legitimate, be prepared to show:

  • Your marriage license
  • Life insurance policies showing your spouse as the beneficiary
  • Joint bank account statements
  • Personal correspondences in which your friends or family acknowledge the authenticity of your relationship
  • Both old and new photos together in a variety of settings
  • Deeds for jointly-owned property
  • Leases you both signed together
  • Joint credit card statements or insurance policies 
  • Birth or adoption certificates showing you have children together
  • School documents for your children showing the family address and both parents as emergency contacts
  • Documents proving that you live at the same address (utility bills in both names, both of your car registration or driver’s license documents showing matching addresses, etc.)


Who Else in my Family Can I Petition? 

If you are legally residing in the United States, you may request for your unmarried child under age 21 and your parents to get a green card, too—not just your spouse. There is no limit to how many immediate relatives of lawfully present immigrants can enter the country annually. Your extended relatives fit in the “family preference” category (grandparents, siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles). Family preference visas are limited each year, and therefore, the backlog is significant, especially if you are only here on a green card. 


How Can an Immigration Lawyer Help with an I-130 Visa Petition?

Navigating the complex world of immigration law can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to spousal visas. This is where an experienced and knowledgeable immigration lawyer can play a crucial role in ensuring the success of your I-130 visa petition. By hiring an attorney who knows immigration law, you can benefit from their experience, guidance, and support throughout the entire process.

Legal Advice You Can Trust

One of the key ways that an immigration lawyer can help with an I-130 visa petition is by providing comprehensive legal advice tailored to your specific situation. They will review your case, assess your eligibility, and advise you on the best course of action. Whether you are a U.S. citizen petitioning for your foreign spouse or a lawful permanent resident petitioning for your spouse, an attorney can guide you through the many requirements, ensuring that you meet all the necessary criteria.

Accurate and Complete Paperwork

Furthermore, an immigration lawyer can assist in completing the necessary paperwork for the I-130 visa petition. This includes filling out the application forms accurately and gathering the required supporting documents. By entrusting this task to an attorney, you can ensure that all the paperwork is completed correctly and submitted in a timely manner, minimizing the risk of delays or denials.

Another area where an immigration lawyer can be invaluable is in preparing for the interview with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The attorney can help you anticipate the questions you may be asked and provide guidance on how to best respond. They can also accompany you to the interview, providing support and representation to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process.

Overcoming Obstacles

In addition to these important aspects, an immigration lawyer can also navigate any potential challenges or complications that may arise during the I-130 visa petition process. Whether it’s dealing with requests for additional evidence, responding to USCIS inquiries, or addressing any issues that may arise, an attorney can handle these matters on your behalf, ensuring that your case is strong and well-presented.

Avoid Delays

Because the process can take a long time, it is important to have an immigration attorney to keep your case on track and avoid any unnecessary delays. This can grant you a spousal visa as soon as possible, giving you peace of mind regarding your family’s future. 

Overall, hiring an immigration lawyer to assist with your I-130 visa petition can significantly increase your chances of a successful outcome. They can provide advice, ensure that all the necessary documentation is in order, and address any challenges that may arise. By having a legal professional by your side, you can have peace of mind knowing that your case is being handled with the utmost care. 

Don’t underestimate the importance of having a skilled Austin immigration attorney on your side when it comes to matters as crucial as obtaining a spousal visa.


We Are Austin Immigration Lawyers Ready to Help

The Austin immigration attorneys at J. Sparks Law can help you bring your spouse to the United States most efficiently and economically. Find out how we can help today! Contact our office for a free immigration consultation now.

Julie Sparks

Julie Sparks is Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Immigration and Nationality Law, one of a few such attorneys in Texas. After 15 years of practice in this field, she has represented immigrants from more than 70 different countries.

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