V-1 Spouses GC holders
Spouses of Green Card holders waiting at least 3 years to immigrate
One of the most important principles of the U.S. visa system is that families shouldn’t be broken up if one member seeks permanent residency in the United States. As a result, the spouse of a visa holder is often eligible to receive a non-immigrant status and reside in the U.S. as well.
The V1 visa is issued to the spouse of a lawful permanent resident of the United States – that is, someone who holds a “green card.” The V1 allows the spouse to apply for a work permit in the U.S. and hold gainful employment while pursuing his or her own permanent resident status.
Another important advantage is that a person with a V1 US visa is able to travel into and out of the U.S. without any special considerations. The V1 status can continue for several months or years – as long as it may take for you to receive a U.S. green card.
Those who wish to pursue citizenship should be aware it can take anywhere from three to five years from the time you become a permanent resident before you can complete the citizenship process.
Receiving the V1 Visa as a Spouse of a GC Holder
Eligible V1 spouses meet the following criteria:
- You are married to a lawful permanent resident of the United States;
- Your spouse has filed a Form 1-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) on your behalf;
- You are the principal beneficiary of the I-130, filed on or before December 21, 2000;
- You have been waiting at least three years since the I-130 petition was filed.
If a prospective V1 spouse is outside the United States, he or she is required to undergo processing at a U.S. consulate. This involves submission of various documentation pieces as well as an interview. Typically, a non-refundable fee is required before the interview takes place.
If the V1 spouse is already within the United States, the process changes slightly. It is necessary to submit Form I-539, Application to Change Nonimmigrant Status, plus Supplement A. Form I-693, Medical Examination of Aliens Seeking Adjustment of Status, is also necessary.