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What are Some Basic Guidelines for Marriage Visas in Florida?

Marriage visas can be difficult to obtain without the aid of an experienced immigration attorney.

Florida residents who travel abroad and fall in love need to understand how the laws work in regard to marriage visas and obtaining a marriage visa. U.S. citizens living in Florida who want to bring their foreign spouses to join them in the United States must petition for marriage visas for their spouses. The most common options are CR1 and IR1 immigrant visas.

If a couple has been married for less than two years when applying for a marriage visa, the foreign spouse will receive a CR1 visa, or Conditional Resident visa. The visa will expire two years after the visa is approved unless the couple timely files to remove the conditions on residence and prove that they did not get married solely to obtain lawful status in the U.S. If the couple has been married for longer than two years when applying for a marriage visa, then the foreign spouse will receive an IR1 or Immediate Relative visa. The foreign spouse will receive a green card (I-551 permanent resident card) that is good for ten years.

Obtaining Marriage Visas in Florida

To live happily ever after in Florida with one’s spouse, the U.S. citizen will need to file an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative with USCIS. For a Florida resident to obtain a marriage visa for one’s spouse, the couple must be legally married. Both the U.S. citizen and the foreign spouse will need to prove that any previous marriages were properly terminated and that their current marriage is legally valid in the country where it was entered into. They will also need to prove that the marriage is not just “on paper” for the purpose of obtaining an immigration benefit. The couple should provide evidence of the on-going nature of the relationship, including items such as bank records, credit card records, phone records, proof of travel to see each other, photographs together and their children’s birth certificates as examples.

After the petition for marriage visa is approved, the case will be sent to the National Visa Center in New Hampshire for further processing and additional paperwork. At that time, the U.S. citizen spouse will need to complete an I-864 Affidavit of Support showing sufficient income to qualify as a sponsor. If the U.S. citizen does not make enough money or have the requisite amount of assets, a joint sponsor can help.

Once the National Visa Center has accepted and reviewed the paperwork and supporting documents, the foreign spouse will have to attend an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate where he/she resides. After the consular interview, the foreign spouse’s passport will be returned with an IR1 or CR1marriage visa inside. The foreign spouse may then travel to the United States to join the U.S. citizen spouse.

Know The Law

It’s important that both parties know and understand the laws as they pertain to immigration status, green cards, and marriage visas. Marriage visas are designed to allow United States citizens to bring a spouse into the country for the purpose of living as husband and wife. If a marriage visa is obtained for any other reason, it can be deemed fraudulent and both parties may be prosecuted. For a new marriage where the parties have spent the majority of time living apart, it can be difficult to provide the required supporting documents to demonstrate that the marriage is valid. This is exactly why you should seek legal advice from a Florida immigration attorney to help you navigate the legal process and ensure you are following the letter of the law in terms of obtaining a marriage visa.

Contact Julie Beth Jouben, P.A. For Legal Assistance for Marriage Visas in Florida

Understanding the laws as they pertain to marriage visas and green cards can be somewhat overwhelming. Know your rights and talk to an attorney who handles these types of cases. Call Julie Beth Jouben, P.A. today at 727-449-9929.

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