Although we live in a big world with diverse values and laws, it is nearly a universal norm that love conquers all. The power of family and connection among people can transcend borders, classes and nearly any other barrier.
Most countries have specific procedures on how a married couple may come and stay together if one of the potential spouses is a citizen of a foreign nation. Any rights and protections generally apply only to a couple that is legally married; cohabitation or emotional commitment is not enough for the basis of a visa application.
The first step in the United States is to file a Petition for Alien Relative with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), part of the Department of Homeland Security. See the USCIS website for instructions on filing the petition and where it must be sent. This will begin the process of getting a visa for a U.S. citizen’s foreign spouse.
The American spouse in an international marriage must maintain his or her principal residence (also called domicile) in the United States, which is where the couple plans to live for the foreseeable future. This is especially true if the American spouse is also financially supporting the foreign spouse.
Fees, deadlines and other restrictions or specifics often apply to the process of securing a visa for a spouse and building the family home in the United States. An attorney may help navigate these processes in the right order and increase the chances of a successful visa application.
Source: U.S. Visas, “Immigrant Visa for a Spouse of a U.S. Citizen (IR1 or CR1),” accessed Nov. 17, 2017