Spouse Visa

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 2022 from number 1 in 2014. The website states Japan has been the number one spot since 2018 with the freedom to visit 196 countries without a visa (or visa on arrival). You can check your country passport’s ranking here. Ghana’s passport ranking was 75 in 2022 with the freedom to visit 68 countries without a visa.

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. You cannot conduct any business without a visa. The UAE visa requirements have been evolving over the past few years. New visa requirements went into effect in September 2022. The country aims to position itself as the ideal place to live, work, and invest.

In addition, visas unite individuals with their loved ones. For instance, the engagement of a USA citizen and a foreigner allows them to apply for a fiance visa (K-1 nonimmigrant visa) and married individuals a spousal visa (IR1 or CR1 immigrant visa) using the I-130 Petition.

What is an I-130 Petition?

I assume you’re wondering, what is an I-130 Petition? 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. It is the first step to bring your loved one to the States.

Most people are intimidated by the forms, the process, and anything to do with the government. If you can read and write, you can fill the forms out. You do not require an immigration lawyer. The only hassle is the wait especially if you are separated from your loved one.

Below is a brief introduction to the forms and process.

Form I-130 consists of 12 pages and 9 parts.

  • Part 1 – The relationship between the petitioner (citizen or lawful permanent resident) and the beneficiary (relative). Page 1.
  • Part 2 – Information about the petitioner. Page 1 to 4.
  • Part 3 – Biographic information about the petitioner. Page 4 to 5.
  • Part 4 – Information about the beneficiary. Page 5 to 8.
  • Part 5 – Other Information. Page 8 to 9.
  • Part 6 – Petitioner’s Information, Certification, & Signature. Page 9.
  • Part 7 – Interpreter’s Information, Certification, & Signature. Page 10.
  • Part 8 – Preparer’s Information, Certification, & Signature (other than petitioner). Page 11.
  • Part 9 – Additional Information. Page 12.

We filed online for a filing fee of $535. In addition, we submitted evidence (requested and supplemental). Types of evidence submitted:

  • Relative Affivadit Letters (4) – my mom, Daniel’s mom, my first cousin, Daniel’s best man & friend
  • Online Presence – Blog/Website, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram (both accounts)
  • 90-Day Fiance (The Other Way Around) Casting Questionnaire
  • Pre-Marriage Counseling Coursework
  • WhatsApp Messages
  • Ghana Marriage Certificate
  • Passports & Passports Photos
  • Marco Polo Video Communications
  • United Arab Emirates ID
  • Dubai Job Offer with Salary
  • Dubai Apartment Lease
  • Email Correspondences from 2018
  • Vacation, marriage, & daily life photos
Documentation submitted to USCIS

Our Spousal Visa Journey Timeline

  • March 22, 2019
    • Married in Ghana
  • March 11, 2021
    • Filed the I-130 Petition with the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) in the UAE.
  • February 7, 2022 (11 months)
    • The USCIS informed us they were actively reviewing the I-130 Petition.
  • February 8, 2022 (1 day)
    • The I-130 petition was approved.
  • February 11, 2022 (2 days)
    • The case was sent to the Department of State.

Next, you are directed to the Department of State website to:

(1) pay applicable Affidavit of Support (AOS) & Immigrant Visa (IV) fees,

(2) complete the Immigrant Visa (IV) and Alien Registration Application (DS-260) online,

(3) upload Affidavit of Support (AOS/Form I-864) documents & financial evidence, and

(4) Civil Documents.

What’s Next?

Our spousal visa journey continues with Daniel waiting for an interview 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). Once an 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 within a specific timeframe.

Once he passes customers and immigration, Daniel becomes a lawful permanent resident. After a $220 payment, he will receive his Green Card.

Update (5/4/24)

Everything went according to plan.

  • August 24, 2023 (12 months)
    • Daniel received his Interview Letter
  • October 5, 2023 (2 months)
    • Medical Appointment $344.28 at NMC Specialty Hospital in Abu Dhabi
    • Daniel had COVID and Yellow Fever vaccinations so his medical fee was reduced.
  • October 23, 2023
    • Interview Appointment at Abu Dhabi Embassy at 7:45 AM. He passed the interview so he had to leave his passport at the embassy to get his IR1 spousal visa.
  • October 25, 2023 (2 days)
    • The passport with the IR1 spouse visa was delivered to the post office of his choice.
  • November 23, 2023
    • Daniel traveled to Ghana. Initially, I was supposed to meet him in the UAE and travel to Ghana with him.
  • December 27, 2023
    • Daniel arrived in Atlanta, GA (USA).
  • February 11, 2024
    • USCIS Filing/Green Card Fee $220.
  • April 4, 2024 (2 months)
    • Green Card (Permanent Resident Card) arrived.

A Green Card grants a permanent resident authorization to live and work in the United States legally.

That was our spouse visa process. The visa process from I-130 petition filing to Embassy Interview was approximately 31 months. For the last 12 months of the process, I migrated to the USA from the UAE in January 2023. Our personal recommendation is for couples to live elsewhere other than their native countries.

Our USA Spouse Visa Journey (with a detailed blogpost) – Part 1 / IR1 #uscis #spousevisa #i130

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