Immigration can seem like a scary thing to deal with. You have a mountain of forms to fill out and a lot of fees. Applying for immigration for your spouse can be more easy than you first think. You have to take one step at a time so you are not overwhelmed.
In the USA, immigration law and procedures change often so you need to do your research and stay up to date on the required forms and documents needed at that time. Also you need to know what department you need to send your forms to, as well.
You need to decide if you want to do it on our own or pay for an immigration lawyer to assist you. Some people may find the added assistance is helpful to them and much needed. For me, I did it myself to help lower the cost.
Remember to not send originals to the places unless it is required. I had read conflicting information and sent some originals to the USCIS and have to now try to get them back. To save you the trouble of the round about to get the documents back, always send photocopies.
- Fill out I-130 form and send that to the USCIS.
- Gather proper documents
- Make the payment of the fee(s)
- Send all the information to the directed office. Each region has their own office.
The I-130 is not very difficult to complete as long as you follow the instructions too. Do not just fill it out, read the instructions to help understand the information needed.
If you are going to apply for a K-3/K-4 visa then you should also fill out the forms as well and send to the appropriate location. You need to have filled out the I-130 and sent it in for you to apply for the K-3/K-4 visa.
Processing times do change and it can seem that it is taking forever. For us, it took four to five months for it to be processed. Sometimes the officials will approve I-130 first and will send a message that the K-3/K-4 visa is not needed. It all depends on the officials handling your case.
Once you have approval and have been sent the official notice, your case will be transferred to another office, NVC. I received a notice that was very offical with multi colored, watermarked paper. Most legal government documents are prepared with such markings to reveal the authenticity of the document.
Think of this step as the pre-pre-screening for a visa. Remember that it takes time. When I was waiting for the notice I saw wait times as long as 8 months or so.