USA

Area of Practise

Fiancé Visa

Fiancé visas are a convenient way for a fiancé of a United States citizen to facilitate their immigration to the United States faster and obtain a work permit while living with their spouse in the United States while they await their green card processing.

The fiancé visa first requires that the United States citizen and their foreign fiancé have the intention to marry and they must agree to do so within ninety days of the foreign fiancé entering the United States on the fiancé visa. There is also a requirement that they have physically met within two years of filing the application and as with any family sponsorship it is important to document the genuine and bona fide nature of the relationship through photographs, affidavits from friends and family, as well as all evidence of correspondence.

Although times vary through United States Citizenship and Immigration Services as well as the Consulates which conduct visa interviews, a fiancé visa is generally more expeditious than applying for a green card through a spouse from abroad.

Once inside the United States the fiancé is required to file an adjustment of status application to a green card and initiate the process of becoming a permanent resident within ninety days. Proof of the marriage will be required at that time.

Spouse Sponsorship

The Spousal Sponsorship category involves individuals who are sponsoring spouses to come to Canada either through the marriage, as common-law spouses, or as conjugal partners.

This process may be conducted inside or outside of Canada depending on the circumstances of the couple. Processing times vary through Citizenship and Immigration Canada depending whether or not the process is handled entirely at Case Processing Centre in Canada or is concluded at a Consulate abroad. For those who have initiated such a process inside Canada, the sponsored spouse is eligible under current regulations to receive an open work permit, which is a major advantage of doing so.

Unlike other family categories, spousal sponsorships do not require a minimum income by the sponsor but the sponsor can become ineligible to sponsor if they are on social assistance for reasons other than disability, if they sponsored in the past individuals who ended up on social assistance, if they have committed violent crimes in the past against family members or if they are undischarged bankrupt. It is important to thoroughly analyze your individual situation with an immigration lawyer before proceeding.

The spousal sponsorship through marriage requires a valid marriage certificate as well as supporting documentation as to the genuine and bona fide nature of the marital relationship. This can be proven in a variety of different ways, including but not limited to, photographs, affidavits from friends and family, telephone records, and other forms of correspondence.

The spousal sponsorship through common law requires the couple have lived together for one year continuously and have co-mingled their affairs through joint bank accounts or leases and otherwise conducted themselves in a way that friends and family believed them to be married.

Finally the conjugal partner classification for a spousal sponsorship is appropriate only in those very limited circumstances when it is not possible to marry or live as common law for a year due to a barrier outside both the sponsor and the sponsored spouse’s control. This can include but is not limited to religious, legal or immigration barriers.

Family Green Card

Family green card applications to the United States are roughly divided into five categories, starting with immediate relatives such as spouses of United States citizens, children (unmarried 21 and under of United States citizens), and parents of United States citizens. Applications in this immediate relative category are processed the fastest and generally within one year.

Other categories includes:

First preference: Unmarried, adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens (adult means 21 or older.)

Second Preference (2A): spouses of green card holders, unmarried children of permanent residents

Second Preference (2B): Unmarried adult sons and daughters of permanent residents

Third Preference: Married sons and daughters (any age) of U.S. citizens

Fourth Preference: Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens.

Although each of these other categories are possible to facilitate sponsorship for green cards to the United States, the processing time is longer in each successive category and can take several years in some instances.