On occasion, people can be confused by the complex variations of potential family visa forms and applications. The application process can be time-consuming and daunting, even when the proper forms are identified. For instance, this blog recently discussed the non-immigrant fiancée visa. In family immigration, a fiancée visa has a limited purpose. There are different family visas available under U.S. immigration law for other purposes.
Spousal visas, for example, come in two basic varieties. If a U.S. citizen is legally married to a foreign national and wishes to bring his or her spouse to the U.S. there are essentially two visas that may come into play: the CR1 and the IR1.
The CR1 is a conditional resident-type visa. It is generally available for the foreign national spouse of a U.S. citizen when the couple has been married for less than two-years. If a couple has been married over two years the IR1 visa is generally more appropriate The IR1 visa is considered an immediate relative visa.
The marriage itself must have certain formalities to qualify for consideration for a spousal visa. The marriage must be genuine and legal according to the laws of the country where the marriage occurred. The sponsoring spouse, the U.S. citizen, must meet certain income requirements and have a principal residence in the United States.
Spousal visas should not be confused with fiancée visas which are only valid for 90 days to allow a foreign national to come to the U.S. to marry a U.S. citizen. When considering any type of family visa, individuals should consider contacting a seasoned South Florida family-based immigration attorney for assistance in navigating the complex U.S. immigration laws.
Source: Bureau of Consular Affairs, "Immigrant Visa for a Spouse or Fiancé(e) of a U.S. Citizen."