Step One – Preparing the initial visa petition
You will provide us with your fiancé(e)/spouse’s: name, email address, (Line ID, Skype ID, FaceTime ID whichever one he/she uses), and phone number. One of the paralegals in our office will speak with your fiancé(e)/spouse to gather the information required for the visa application process. We prefer to talk with your fiancé(e)/spouse via video chat (if possible) for the following reasons:
1.) Doing so will expedite the processing of the visa application,
2.) Personal contact with the people who will be working on your fiancé/spouse’s behalf will provide your fiancé/spouse with a higher level of comfort,
3.) Allows your fiancé/spouse to ask questions and receive answers to his/her questions and discuss any concerns he/she may have.
4.) Gives us the opportunity to evaluate your fiancé/spouses ability to speak English which will be important at the Embassy interview.
We will start our conversation with your fiancé(e)/spouse by introducing ourselves and explaining how we will be working on her/his behalf. We will provide information about the application process, answer any and all questions your fiancé(e)/spouse may have and also address any concerns he/she may have.
We will then gather information and complete a questionnaire with the information provided by your fiancé/spouse. We will then use this information to construct the visa application.
(Alternatively, we can provide a questionnaire to be completed.)
We will inform your fiancé/spouse of the first tier document requirements and ask that these documents be scanned and emailed to us. In some cases your fiancé/spouse may not be required to provide first tier documents. For example: when processing a K-1 fiance(e) visa if your fiancé(e) has never been previously married and divorce, and has never had a name change, he/she does not need to scan and email any documents to us. All applicants must provide a 2”x2” passport style photo that can be taken using a cell phone app and then emailed to us. We will provide instructions and link for the use of the app.
For your part of the visa application we will send you an email with a questionnaire for you to complete and return via email. We will also ask you to scan and e-mail documents to us. For example: your birth certificate, passport, or certificate of naturalization to prove that you are a U.S. citizen, and any and all final decree(s) of divorce or death certificates to show that any and all previous marriages have terminated.
We will create the visa application with USCIS forms and other supporting documents. The completed USCIS forms and supporting documents will be sent to you and your fiancé(e)/spouse via email as an attachment that can be printed, signed and mailed to our office. We recommend using FedEx or DHL to assure delivery as the postal services in some counties can be unreliable. USCIS forms must contain the original signatures of both you and your fiancé/spouse. Any form requiring a signature, that is submitted without an original signature, will be rejected by USCIS.
Step Two – Final preparation and submission of initial visa petition
When we have received the signed forms and supporting documents from both you and your fiancé/spouse, we will construct a complete and comprehensive visa application package and submit it to the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS).
During these initial stages of visa petition preparation we will inform you and your fiancé(e) or wife (in writing) about the document requirements for the remainder of the process, including but not limited to the evidence of your relationship that must be presented to the Embassy at the time of the interview.
Step Three – USCIS notifications to your email, online case monitoring
We submit an e-notification supplement with the visa application package. This submission enables USCIS to communicate with you via e-mail. The first notification will be to inform you they have received the visa petition. By mail, USCIS will provide a hardcopy I-797C Receipt Notice. Both will contain a receipt number assigned to your visa petition. By accessing the www.uscis.gov website and entering your receipt number you can monitor the progress of your visa petition. You can also sign up for automatic case status updates via the website and receive additional e-notifications.
Step Four – USCIS approval
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s United States Citizenship & Immigration Services approves the visa petition.
Step Five – Approved visa petition transferred to U.S. Embassy
Upon approval your visa petition will be transferred from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s United States Citizenship & Immigration Services to the U.S. Department of State’s National Visa Center in Portsmouth, NH. Within 7 business day the visa application will be forwarded to the U.S. Embassy having jurisdiction, and the consulate that we have stipulated in the visa petition.
The U.S. Embassy will forward a notification to our office that provides the designated Department of State Case Number assigned to your visa application, and Invoice ID numbers for CR/IR visa types. This notification also serves as notice that consular processing of the visa petition may be commenced.
Step Six – Criminal background check
We will inform your fiancé/spouse how to obtain a criminal background check, AKA; certificate of good conduct, police certificate, police report, etc. If your fiancé/spouse will be required to obtain police certificates from countries other than her country of citizenship we will obtain same.
Step Seven – Notification of Applicant Readiness
Upon receipt of the criminal background check, we submit a package of forms and documents to the U.S. Embassy in a submission know as a Notification of Applicant Readiness. This filing of forms, documents and checklist certifies the applicant’s readiness for the final step in the process, the Embassy interview. This submission is done partially via the Department of States’ on line system and partially via mail/FedEx delivery. Upon receipt of the Notification of Applicant Readiness and review of the forms and documents submitted, the Embassy will assign the interview date and notify our office of the date and time of the scheduled interview appointment.
We submit an online application to the consulate and create an Application Confirmation Number that is required for subsequent processing steps, receive communication from the consulate, complete an online profile, and receive documentation for the payment of the Embassy fee. The Embassy fee will be paid to the designated receiver. We will submit to the U.S. Embassy: bar coded forms, receipt of payment, Notification of Application Readiness, checklist, and copies of required supporting biometric and financial sponsorship documentation.
Step Eight – Medical exam and vaccines
We will communicate with your fiancé(e)/spouse regarding the medical exam. We will communicate both before and after the medical exam to explain the process, for example: the name and address of the Embassy approved hospital, names of Embassy certified doctors at the hospital, and what texts and vaccines will be administered. In addition we will discuss with your fiancé(e)/spouse her/his medical history, prior and recent use of recreational narcotics, the questions that will be asked by the doctor and medical team. We will also explain that some people will experience side effects from the vaccines and how to identify mild and severe reactions. We will speak with your fiancé/spouse after the medical exam to see how he/she is feeling and to determine if there were any complications.
Your fiancee/spouse may receive any or all of the following vaccines: Mumps, Measles, Rubella, Polio, Tetanus and Diptheria Toxoids, Influenza Type B, Hepatitis B, Varicella, Pneumococcal, Acellular Pertussis, Hepatitis A, Influenza, Meningococcal, Rotovirus, chicken pox. Blood will be drawn to test for Syphilis, and a chest x-ray will check for TB.
Step Nine – Embassy interview preparation
We employ a three step process for the preparation of the Embassy interview. First, your fiancé/spouse will be provided with a list of questions that could potentially be asked at the interview. There is a blank space next to each question where your fiancé/spouse will be asked to write his/her answers. Second, our staff will review and discuss each of the answers and your fiancé/spouse will then study this document and discuss it with you.
The office manager will prepare the final details of all documentation that will be provided to the Embassy on the day of the interview, and review all questions your fiancé/spouse will be asked at the interview and his/her answers to those questions. We will prepare and supply your fiancé/spouse with a comprehensive package to be hand delivered to the Embassy at the time of the interview.
Step Ten – Embassy interview preparation – video call mock session
During the third and final step in the preparation of your fiancé/spouse for the Embassy interview, he/she will meet with a senior member of our staff via video call. All consular officers at the U.S. Embassy are U.S. citizens and your fiancé/spouse will be rehearsed in a mock session with a U.S. citizen senior member of our firm. The Embassy consular officers ask standard interview questions of all applicants, but thorough preparation doesn’t stop there. Each application, each person, each couple are unique. Your fiancé/spouse will be prepared based on a number of factors unique to him/her, you and your relationship. We will work with your fiancé/spouse until he/she is ready and it can be assured that he/she will pass the interview. There is no time limitation on this process.
Step Eleven – The Interview
Your fiancé/spouse attends the interview. We will provide him/her with instructions relevant to the Embassy location, location of the consular section, Immigrant Visa (IV) Unit, the window number, security protocols, etc. No one other than the applicant is allowed to attend the interview unless the applicant is a minor, over 76 years old or disabled. This includes you the visa petitioner/sponsor. Our clients typically interview for 5-10 minutes. Longer interviews apply when an application or applicant have not been properly prepared.
Visa is issued. Your fiancé/spouse will be informed at her interview that the visa has been approved. Visa are typically issued and received within 5-10 business days of the interview.
CR-1/CR-2/IR-1/IR-2 (Marriage and Alien Relative Visa) Processing at the National Visa Center (NVC). All other steps listed above apply as well.
After USCIS approval the visa petition will be transferred to the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC) in Portsmouth, New Hampshire where it will undergo extensive processing. During this process the NVC will begin processing your spouse/relative’s green card and social security number, while continuing to process the visa petition.
When the NVC first receives the petition from USCIS they will request you pay two fees: $120.00 and $325.00. These fees will be paid via their online system using your checking or savings account from your US bank. This is a simple process whereby payment will be received and processed allowing us to continue to the next steps.
We will then file your financial information and documentation with the NVC. This includes: your current tax return, W-2 form if applicable, affidavit of support form, and co-sponsor information and documentation if required.
In the next step we will file biographic information and supporting documents: Department of State forms, divorce certificates, birth certificates, name change certificates, etc.
In the final step we will apply for assignment of an interview date at the US Embassy This date will be assigned through the NVC and we will receive notification by e-mail.
In the three month period just prior to the expiration of your spouse/relative’s two year green card you will file form I-751 to obtain a ten year green card.
If you and your spouse have been married longer than 2 years at the time the visa is issued your spouse will receive an initial 10 year green card.
When the CR-1 visa is approved it is valid for travel for 6 months. This means that your spouse/relative can commence travel the day she/he gets the visa or any day in the following 6 month period.
When your spouse/relative arrives in the USA her/his passport will be stamped upon arrival with a one year green card (permitting employment) and the hard plastic card will automatically arrive at your home address within 6-11 months of arrival. The social security card will also be automatically generated and mailed to your home address by the Social Security Administration within 30-45 days.