After your Consular Interview, they will let you know their final decision regarding your application.
One outcome is that they say, “we can’t make a decision today.” If this happens, they’ll give you a piece of paper that explains why. It might state that they need more evidence, they might need a more complete background check, or they might be waiting on your medical exam before they can make a final decision.
Alternatively, they’ll let you know that they’ll be approving your spouse visa.
So what happens next?
Enter the United States & Visa Expiration Dates
After your approval, the officer will keep your passport with them and in the passport they will put your visa on one of the pages. This will allow you to enter the United States.
There will be a period of time stated on the visa, typically 6 months but it varies because it is tied to your medical exam. It is extremely important to check the expiration date on your visa and make sure you enter before that date. They can give you less than 6 months and depending on the factors in your case, you may only get 2 or 3 months. Again, it is very important to make sure you are entering the United States before that date.
When you receive your approval notice at the embassy, you will also receive instructions explaining that you must pay an online fee. This is a USCIS fee that covers printing your Green Card and at the time of this article (June of 2023), the fee is $220.
Receiving Your Green Card
Once you’ve paid the online fee and entered the United States, you have completed the process to receive your Green Card. They will give you a stamp in your passport or notate it in their system that you’ve entered and that visa, in a sense, converts to your temporary Green Card. You can use this for work or to go to the Social Security office.
Typically, your Social Security Card will be mailed to you with your Green Card but we have seen that immigration is sometimes behind in notifying the Social Security office that they need to print your Social Security Card. If that happens, you can go to the Social Security Office and make an inquiry if a lot of time has passed and you haven’t received it.
Pay attention to your Green Card when you receive it. Did you get a 2-year Green Card or a 10-year Green Card? If you got a 2-Year Green Card, you will have to go through a process called “removal of conditions” but that’s a whole different topic and we invite you to check out our free resource center for more information about that.
We hope that gives you some clarity on what happens after you receive your approval and what you do with a Spouse Visa once you have it. If you’ve gotten an approval, congratulations!