Life Lessons

Our Spousal Visa Journey

Our Spousal Visa Journey. This article is not about our visa credit card but the authorization granted by a country for an individual to enter, stay, and exit a country. Visas patrol the flow of visitors within the country and to prevent illegal immigration and other criminal activities.

Most international travel requires a stamp on your passport for entry and exit of the visiting country. You would either receive a visa on arrival or apply for a visa prior to traveling to a foreign country.

Tourism generates a lot of money for some countries. Oftentimes, the foreign country exempts certain nationalities from acquiring a visa or provides a visa on arrival to promote tourism to their country.

According to Henley Passport Index, United States Passport Holders can travel to 186 countries in 2022 without a travel visa or a visa on arrival. The USA passport ranks number 7 in the world in 2022 from number 1 in 2014. The website states Japan has held the number one spot since 2018 with the freedom to visit 196 countries without a visa (or visa on arrival). You can check your passport’s ranking here.

Visas are more than tourism.

They also allow people to work, study, and invest in a country. Until recently in the UAE, you were required to have a sponsor, most likely your employer, to live and work in the country. With no employer, your livelihood was stripped away. Without a resident visa, you cannot get a national identification card, a bank account, or rent an apartment. Basically, you cannot conduct any business without a visa. The UAE visa requirements have been evolving over the past few years. In fact, new visa requirements went into effect this month (September 2022). The country’s aim is to position itself as the ideal place to live, work, and invest in. You can read more about the new visa schemes here.

In addition, visas unite individuals with their loved ones. For instance, the engagement of USA citizen and a foreigner allows them to apply for a fiance visa (k-1 visa) or a spousal visa.

For Daniel and I, we chose to marry and apply for the spousal visa using the I-130 Petition so that he didn’t have to wait long for his green card and social security card. The Petition cost $535 as a filing fee. In addition, we submitted 35 pieces of supplemental evidence.

Documentation submitted to USCIS

I assume you’re wondering, what is an I-130 Petition or a Green Card for that matter? The I-130 Petition (aka I-130 Petition For Alien Relative) is a form the USCIS uses to establish a relationship with a relative who wishes to come to or remain in the United States permanently. A Green Card grants a permanent resident authorization to legally live and work in the United States.

Our Spousal Visa Journey

  • March 11, 2021
    • Filed the I-130 Petition with the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS)
  • February 7, 2022
    • The USCIS informed us they were actively reviewing the I-130 Petition.
  • February 8, 2022
    • The I-130 petition was approved.
  • February 11, 2022
    • The case was sent to the Department of State.
  • March 11, 2022
    • I had to pay $120 for Affidavit of Support (AOS) fees. Daniel had to pay $325 for Immigrant Visas (IV) Application Processing Fees.
    • AOS is a legally enforceable contract, and the sponsor’s responsibility usually lasts until the family member or other individual either becomes a U.S. citizen or is credited with 40 quarters of work (usually 10 years) according to the USCIS.
  • March 20 – April 4, 2022
    • We submitted the DS-260 (Immigrant Visa Electronic Application), Civil Documents, and Financial Documents.
  • June 15, 2022
    • All prior documentation was accepted and a Case FE (Financial Evidence) review note submit the 2020 W2 for me.
  • August 25, 2022
    • All documentation from June 15, 2022 was accepted and another Case FE (Financial Evidence) review note to submit every 2021 W-2/1099 form for me.

What’s Next?

Our spousal visa journey continues with Daniel waiting for an interview date at the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi. We expect them to ask us to bring all original documents that we submitted online to the National Visa Center (NVC). We read that once the interview is confirmed, he has to schedule and complete a medical examination.

After the visa is approved, he will receive a visa stamp in his passport that allows him to travel to the United States and we will have to pay another fee.

Once he hits American soil, Daniel becomes a U.S. permanent resident. Shortly thereafter, he should receive his Green Card (Permanent Resident Card).

Dubai & Beyond Trip

Seats are still available on the Dubai & Beyond Trip. You can book here. Fun Fact: If you’re an American citizen, you will receive a 30-day visa on arrival to the United Arab Emirates. Register your interest and get the trip itinerary here.

Dubai & Beyond Trip

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