In Maryland and elsewhere across the country, U.S. citizens are experiencing seemingly endless delays in sponsoring their foreign spouses and may be questioning whether anything might be done in order to expedite the process. With a Trump presidency on the horizon, at least one attorney has suggested that the expeditious processing of spousal immigrant applications could be easily accomplished by the incoming administration.
Although only four elements are required in order to review a spousal sponsorship case, the length of the process may indicate that reform of the process is much needed. As of late 2016, foreigners must wait almost a year in order to join their U.S. spouses this country, and it has been suggested that this lengthy period of separation from loved ones may negatively impact a good number of U.S. citizens.
Perhaps the most substantial impediment to an expeditious process in spousal cases has been the need to file an Affidavit of Support when a duly approved sponsor’s petition could easily establish the sponsoring party’s willingness to financially support the foreign spouse. Canadian policy in regard to this matter underscores the belief that sufficient income is generally a non-issue and that in absence of evidence to the contrary, the affidavit should be eliminated.
In addition to the sponsor’s petition to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, three additional ways to speed processing include acceptance of a marriage certificate providing prima facie evidence of a bona fide marriage, medical clearance from a physician who has been duly approved by the USCIS and prima facie evidence of a security clearance in form of an original police certificate from each country where the foreign party has resided for more than six months after reaching the age of 18. Responsibility for obtaining medical clearance and the police certificate would fall to the foreign spouse. Although such a plan is not yet in effect, an attorney who understands the complexities of U.S. Immigration law could help a Maryland resident stay up-to-date on any potential improvements.