How long does it take to bring spouse to USA

What if I am a US citizen and I want to petition my husband? How long does it take to bring spouse to USA? This is a very frequent question our clients ask when they book a professional consultation. 


As expert Los Angeles immigration attorneys, we specialize in all types of family petitions and American visas. 

We have provided legal advice and representation in immigration matters to Hispanic clients for more than 40 years. If you call now we will evaluate your case and help you to bring your spouse to the USA without any obligation to you. 

I am an american citizen and I want to know how long does it take to bring spouse to USA

If you are a US citizen and want to bring your spouse to live in the US as a Permanent Resident, read on. 

Both American citizens and permanent residents can petition for their spouse and obtain the Green Card. 

The procedure for petitioning the foreign wife or husband is as follows: 

  • If the spouse is already in the US and entered with a visa or advance parole, they must:
    • File Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, together with Form I-485 jointly and the documents listed below.
  • If the spouse is outside the US then file only:
    • Form I-130. Once the form is approved,  USCIS sends it to the consular / embassy section of the spouse’s home country. 

What documents do I need to request from my husband?

In addition to the I-130 form and the payment of the corresponding fee, a series of additional documents must be sent:

  • Copy of the civil marriage certificate.
  • Declaration of Economic Sponsorship of the foreign spouse.
  • Copy of the decree of divorce or annulment of marriage or death certificate (if applicable). These documents are requested to prove the termination of previous marriages of one of the spouses.
  • Passport-style photographs of the petitioner and his or her husband or wife. 
  • If you have changed your name, present the respective legal evidence. 
  • Copy of birth certificate in the USA or failing that:
    • Copy of valid US passport; 
    • Copy of the consular report that certifies the birth abroad;
    • Copy of naturalization certificate; or
    • Copy of the American citizenship certificate.

Can my spouse visit me in the US while the visa petition is processed?

Yes. You can do this by applying for a K-3 nonimmigrant visa. This visa allows you to live and work in the United States while the visa application is pending. The processing of this visa is carried out by filing Form I-129F.

Remember that the petition for an immigrant visa for the spouse is made through the consular processing.

Can I appeal if the visa petition to bring my spouse to the USA was rejected?

If it is possible to file an immigration appeal process in these cases. Then, when the Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) responds, it indicates how and when to appeal.

Once you submit the Appeal Form and pay the respective fee, the application is forwarded to the Board of Immigration Appeals. 

bring your husband to the united states

If USCIS denies adjustment of status, the foreign spouse present in the US can be placed in deportation status. This does not mean that the migrant will be deported immediately. 

Aside from immigration appeals, there are other immigration reliefs such as cancellation of removal to avoid it.

How long does Form I-130 take to process?

After receiving the petition for permanent residence by marriage, USCIS responds to the petitioner. It does so through document NOA1 ( Form I-797C, Notice of Action ) which indicates that the application was received. Not that the petition was approved.

Likewise, it informs in which immigration service center the husband’s petition will be processed. The centers that process this type of request in the US are:

  • National Benefits Center
  • California Service Center
  • Texas Service Center
  • Nebraska Service Center
  • Vermont Service Center

The applicant can verify the time it takes to process their application through the official USCIS website. The agency has this tool that calculates the average processing times, according to the petition presented.

Once there you must select the type of form (I-130). Then the office that processes your case (in this case, the California Service Center). The current average time to process the I-130 form in California is 19.5 to 25.5 months. 

How do I know if my petition is approved and what happens next?

It is advisable to check the status of the case through the following USCIS link , writing the receipt number. However, USCIS sends a new NOA2 notification to inform whether the petition was approved or rejected. 

To obtain permanent residence there is still a longer process ahead. If the spouse is in the US, the petitioner (US citizen) applies for adjustment of status for his foreign spouse. The procedure is done in conjunction with Form I-130.

If you are abroad, you will need to carry out the aforementioned consular process. The foreign spouse who is in the United States illegally is asked to leave the country to carry out this process. Right after your request is approved. 

At that time, the citizen spouse can process the work permit and advance parole for her husband . Only then can he leave and re-enter. When USCIS approves the application, it notifies the National Visa Center (NVC) which communicates with the spouses.

Once in their home country, the foreign spouse will have to attend an interview at the US consulate or embassy. To find out more about how long consular processing takes and the necessary documentation read our article on the subject. 

Who can be a sponsor to bring a spouse to the USA?

Those wishing to sponsor a spouse or any other immediate foreign relative must be:

  • American citizens.
  • Legal permanent residents.

Other requirements to be a sponsor of a foreign spouse are:

  • Be at least 18 years of age. 
  • Have residence or principal domicile in the United States.

Only if you meet these requirements can you sign the Affidavit of Economic Sponsorship through Form I-864 / I-864EZ.

What is conditional residence for spouses of citizens?

When the marriage is less than two years old, the foreign spouse is granted conditional or temporary permanent residence. It means that it is subject to revocation if certain legal requirements are not met.

The couple must submit a joint application to remove the conditionality during the 90 days prior to the expiration of the Green Card. The procedure is done through form I-75 . 

Failure to comply with this requirement within the established period may lead to the revocation of the legal residence of the foreign spouse. In addition, you could also face the threat of deportation from the US.

The application for a replacement conditional permanent residence card is made through the I-90 form. Green Card renewal can take up to 9 months before the new card arrives.

How long does the foreign spouse have to enter the United States?

After the consular officer approves the application, the foreign spouse has 6 months to enter the United States.

spouses of american citizens

If I was a legal resident and now I am a citizen, can I update my wife’s petition?

In that case, you should always update your spouse’s petition. The petition will move from the second family preference (F2) to the immediate relative (IR). 

You must first send the documents proving your citizenship to the NVC, including:  

  • Copy of the United States passport showing the biographical data; or
  • Copy of the naturalization certificate.

The NVC then assigns the applicant a case number. Subsequently, it asks you to complete Form DS-261, Choice of Address and Agent. If you already have an attorney this will not be necessary.

Once the corresponding fees have been paid, the NVC asks the applicant to send the required documents for the immigrant visa. It includes:

  • Affidavit of financial sponsorship.
  • Application forms.
  • Civil documents (marriage certificate, divorce or annulment decrees and so on.

How much does it cost to ask my husband?

The fee associated with Form I-130 to apply for the spouse’s green card has a cost of $ 535. However, the total cost of the petition process for a US resident spouse is $ 1,960.

But if the spouse is abroad it is $ 1,400. Here are included the mandatory and non-refundable fees and the payment of the medical exam and vaccinations.

Other costs of the process include: 

  • Translations of documents by an official interpreter.
  • Photocopy payments.
  • Obtaining official documents: passport, criminal records, birth and marriage certificates and others.
  • Travel expenses to attend the interview at the US consulate or embassy.

The NVC indicates in its notice where and how to pay government processing fees.

How much do I need to earn to sponsor my husband?

The minimum annual income to sponsor the husband’s Green Card at 202I is $ 21,550. If the couple has children or has other people under their protection, the income must be higher. About $ 5,675 for each additional person.

How is the interview for the residence card?

If the NVC is satisfied with the documents provided, it schedules the appointment for the interview of the foreign spouse. Whether you go through adjustment of status or consular processing.

The NVC notification specifies the place, date and time of the interview. Likewise, the guidelines for taking a medical exam and receiving vaccinations. It is recommended to be at the consulate or embassy at least one or two hours before.

When presenting, the applicant must bring with him all the required documents. During the interview, the immigration officer will take the applicant’s fingerprints (scan).  

It is convenient to prepare for the Green Card interview by reading the necessary instructions. In our article on questions for marriage residency you will find some clues.

How do I apply for a Social Security Number Card?

You can do this at the time of submitting the immigrant visa application form. Upon admission to the US, you will simultaneously receive the Social Security Number Card. 

Social Security is sent to the address that appears on the application form and takes about six weeks to arrive. If you did not choose to receive your Social Security Card automatically, then you must apply for it upon arrival in the U.S.


Now you have an idea of how long does it take to bring a spouse to USA. So you know also, we can do a lot for you. Just get in touch with us and we can guarantee you a reliable, fast and effective legal service. Call right now!