It is not uncommon for couples who plan to migrate to the United States to send one partner into the country first in order to establish citizenship. Once the partner has obtained citizenship, he or she can file an I-130 immigration petition on behalf of the spouse left behind in his or her native country.
There are many factors (like petition volume or agency backlog) that can delay the processing of these immigration petitions. In 2013, processing times peaked at around 9 months. If you don't want to wait that long to help your loved one gain approval to enter the United States, there are some alternate methods you can employ.
Here are two alternatives to filing an I-130 that might help you expedite your partner's entrance into the United States.
1. File for a K-1 fianc(e) visa instead of the traditional I-130 immigration visa.
If you are hoping to bring your partner into the United States, and you have not yet been married, you may be eligible to file for a K-1 fiance(e) visa rather than the traditional I-130 immigration visa.
A fiance(e) visa is designed to help expedite the immigration process so that two individuals can be married in the United States. Once the marriage takes place, your spouse will be eligible to apply for a green card or other permanent resident status. Since it only takes between three and six months from the date of filing for your fiance(e) to be given approval to enter the United States when utilizing the K-1 fiance(e) visa process, the amount of time required for processing is much less than that of I-130 immigration visas.
Contact a knowledgeable immigration attorney to help you determine if a K-1 fiance(e) visa is the best option for helping your loved one immigrate to the United States.
2. If you are already married, file a K-3 visa application in conjunction with your I-130 petition.
If you have already have a spouse in a foreign country, there are still some things you can do to expedite the immigration process.
If you find that your traditional I-130 visa application is taking too long to process, you can have an immigration attorney help you prepare a K-3 visa application. The K-3 visa is designed to allow a spouse temporary entrance into the United States while the full I-130 application is being processed.
Many of the U.S. consulate offices have the ability to process K-3 applications much faster than full I-130 applications, so filing a K-3 along with your I-130 will help you get your loved one into the country as quickly as is legally possible.
Knowing some alternatives to the traditional I-130 visa application will help you get your loved one into the country as quickly as possible, despite any delays that might occur with the processing of your immigration petition.