U.S. citizens who are living abroad with their non-U.S. citizen spouse and want to relocate back to the United States, must file a Form I-130 Petition for an Alien Relative in order for their spouse and/or children to join them. This is one of the most common immigration petitions that we see at our Orlando immigration law office, and we have helped thousands of families begin their lives together in the U.S.
The process for these petitions is quite long, with processing times taking approximately 1 year from the time of filing to final approval, so you need to plan ahead if you all want to move back to the U.S. at the same time.
Watch a short video about the application process and what to expect by clicking here.
3-Step Process For Family Immigration Applications
The spousal/family immigration process involves 3 steps:
- File Form I-130. This is the first step in your application to bring an eligible relative to the United States. The form is filed with U.S. Customs and Immigrations Services (USCIS). You must file a separate form for each non-citizen family member that you wish to bring the U.S.
- Department of State Review. Once the application has been accepted and approved by USCIS, it is sent to the U.S. Department of State and the National Visa Center for review and processing.
- Interviews at Local Embassy. The Department of State forwards the application to the U.S. embassy located in the country where your family member is currently residing. Family members will be called for in-person interviews.
Tips And Advice For Applicants
Although family immigration applications do not have to wait for visa numbers or participate in the visa lottery, there are still some challenges to the process.
- File separate forms for spouses and children. Each person who is planning to immigrate to the U.S. who is not already a U.S. citizen, must file a separate Form I-130. There are no family applications.
- You’ll Be Asked To Share Your Relocation Plans. During the interview, you will be asked to provide proof that you plan to relocate back to the United States with your U.S. citizen spouse/parent.
- S. Tax Returns Can Help. The U.S. citizen should have been filing their U.S. taxes with the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) every year that they were abroad. You will be asked to share these returns as part of the application process. If you do not have such tax returns, a joint sponsor may be needed.
Professional Legal Help Is Available From Orlando Immigration Attorney Gail Seeram
If you need help filing your petition or have questions about the process, contact Orlando immigration lawyer, Gail Seeram. She has been helping families in all immigration matters for over 20 years, was recently named 2020 Orlando Lawyer of the Year for Immigration Law by Orlando Magazine, and has been named Best Lawyer for Immigration Law from 2016-2020 by U.S. News & World Report & Orlando Magazine.
At The Law Offices of Gail Seeram, you can expect personal service, free consultations, and the attention of an attorney whose practice is dedicated solely to immigration law.