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Family immigration: What should I do to bring my spouse to the US

After falling in love and getting engaged, Louisiana couples usually spend significant amounts of time focused on planning the perfect wedding before jetting off to a relaxing honeymoon. However, for U.S. citizens who recently married a foreign national, the focus is usually on obtaining the necessary visa. In terms of family immigration, the process of bringing a spouse to live in the United States is relatively straightforward.

The first of three necessary steps is for the person who is already a citizen to file an immigrant visa petition for his or her spouse. There is a fee associated with this filing -- Form I-130 -- which individuals should be aware of. However, unlike with other petitions, there is no wait list after filing a Form I-130.

Once a person's initial petition for the spouse is approved, the U.S. State Department will then reach out to the spouse. The spouse will be asked to apply for his or her own immigrant visa at that point. The process differs slightly when the individual filing the Form I-130 petition is a permanent resident rather than a citizen. The permanent resident will likely end up on a waiting list before being invited to file his or her own application for an immigrant visa.

Spouses living internationally when their petitions are approved will receive notification of the decision. At that point they can proceed to a U.S. consulate, where they will be guided through the final processing of their immigrant visa. Those already living inside of the United States lawfully can adjust their status using Form I-458.

While people in Louisiana decide to get married for any number of reasons, one of the biggest factors may likely be a deep desire for companionship. When one spouse is a citizen or legal resident and the other is not, it can make this aspect of marriage complicated. Luckily, family immigration makes it relatively easy for individuals to successfully sponsor their spouse's visa to the United States.

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