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Foreign spousal immigration

Bringing a foreign spouse into the United States is currently a lengthy process for Arizona residents. Some observers would like to see the Trump administration expedite the process. Under one proposal, permanent citizenship status would still follow the regulations, but a faster process could be followed for allowing spouses to reunite quickly with a visitor's visa.

Spousal sponsorship is typically a year-long process under U.S. immigration law. It requires a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service-approved sponsorship. This in turn requires proof of income sufficient to support the spouse and an Affidavit of Support. Other requirements involve criminal background checks in each jurisdiction of residence, medical examinations by approved officials and proof of marriage. The process keeps the spouses apart for a year or longer, yet there are safeguards already in place to catch abuses.

Suggestions for expediting the process for granting temporary legal status involve acceptance of a marriage certificate as evidence of marriage without a lengthy investigation. A sponsor's application should be sufficient without income verification or court documents. Police certificates and medical clearance could also be basic documents instead of just the beginning of an intensive investigation. Abuses could be caught during the follow-up check and procedure for issuing legal permanent resident status.

Clearing the hurdles to bring a spouse and other family into the country legally can result in lengthy delays and the heartbreak of spending months or longer away from loved ones. Some delays are simply a reality in the current system. However, experienced legal counsel may be able to reduce the time apart and provide more certainty to families seeking reunification.

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