Looking back on my experiences of getting a spousal visa to come and live in America (IR-1), I thought I would share some of the things I wish I had known before I embarked on the whole process.
With that in mind, here are my tips for those of you who are thinking about making a permanent move and getting a visa to come and live in America. These tips may apply if you are looking at going the other way (US to UK), and if you are looking to move abroad somewhere else. As ever, I am not an expert, but I can talk from my own experience which may help … If you have any specific or further questions, feel free to leave a comment, or contact me and we can email.
Time || It takes more time to complete the process than you may anticipate – this was something my Hubby and I experienced – look around on various expat/visa forums and look at similar cases as yours to give you a rough idea of what might happen.
Money || It takes more money too than you may be anticipating – also the case for Hubby and I as new charges kept cropping up as we went through the process, including a new fee of $165 that came into effect on the day of my interview.
Forms || This links to the time factor – because forms may not be filled out correctly, or paperwork presented in a correct format, this can slow everything down. Always check, re-check and check again that you have signed everything, filled out all the parts needed and provided evidence as required – maybe even get someone to read over it. Chase things if you do not hear anything and keep asking if you have done things right.
Job || Do not give up your job at any point during the process until you physically have your visa (you are given time before you have to enter the country so you have time to give notice). As mentioned before, there can be delays, and you do not want to end up with one or two stages to get through but with no way of paying for it etc.
Support || I did the process myself, and it was not easy, and due to my own ineptitude, I am sure I contributed to the delays and frustrations. Get professional help if you can afford to do so, it cuts through the confusion of all the forms and helps you progress through everything. If you cannot pay for professional help, seek out those who have done it all before you and ask their advice.
Thanks for reading!