Qualifications for Filing a Spousal Visa | U.S. Citizen and Foreign Spouse
Valid Marriage – Celebrated in any country where it’s legal
American citizens can petition for their foreign spouses after a valid marriage is finalized between the two. Immigration to the United States through a spousal visa requires a valid union. The wedding need not occur in the United States. Rather, the marriage can be celebrated in any country where the marriage is lawfully recognized for it to be valid for U.S. immigration purposes.
Marriage with a U.S. citizen or LPR
Non-american spouses can be eligible to apply for a spousal visa to the United States after finalizing a valid marriage with their a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident partner.
Proof of financial support
In order to qualify for a spousal visa, the foreign spouse must show that an American has sufficient income or assets to support him or her at at least 125% of the current U.S. federal poverty guideline for a household size. The applying petitioner or co-sponsor must be able to show evidence of this income and commit to supporting the visa holder if he or she has insufficient resources to support him or herself. Income can come from work, investments, savings, alimony, child support, dividend or interest income, welfare, or income from any other source.
Active members of the U.S. Armed Forces, including the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard, are only required to meet an income of 100% of the federal poverty guidelines, when filing for a spousal petition. Evidence of active duty is necessary to qualify for this reduced threshold.
In cases where the petitioner is unable to meet the minimum percentage of required financial support, he or she can solicit support from his or her household members, an intending immigrant, or joint sponsor.
Relatives or dependents of a U.S. citizen can support a petition if they are at least 18 years of age, living in the same household as the main petitioner, and willing to sign an agreement of joint responsibility for sponsorship.
Income from an intending immigrant can be a source of support if such income will continue from the same source after his or her immigration, and he or she currently lives in the main petitioner’s residence.
The value of a sponsor’s assets, or the assets of any qualified household member are counted if the total household income still does not meet the requirement of the current poverty guidelines. Eligible assets include balance of all saving and checking accounts, net cash value of real-estate holdings, and net cash value of all stocks, bonds, or certificates of deposit. Automobiles can only be counted if the sponsor has two or more working vehicles.
A joint sponsor is the non-relative individual of a petitioner who is willing to accept legal responsibility in supporting the intending immigrant by being capable of demonstrating sufficient income alone or with his or her household. It is not permissible to combine the income of a sponsor with a joint sponsor’s in order to meet the income requirement. Rather, a single household must qualify. A joint sponsor also does not need to be related to the petitioned foreign national.
For more information on Spousal Visa, please refer to one of the following topics: