So now you have met that special some one the next step it to bring them to be with you. The process is time consuming but quite simple once you understand how to do it. There are free resources available at visajourney web site along with help from those who have gone thru the process. There is a list of documents that are required in order to obtain the visa along with certain forms depending on the type of visa. The quickest and most simple visa is a fiance visa, a spouse visa is a little more time consuming and requires more documentation.
The fiance visa will result in more cost over time but is quicker and allows all unmarried children under the age of 21 to fallow or immigrate at the same time. The spouse visa has special rules on children over the age of 16.
The documentation required varies depending on the country of origin. the basics for a fiance visa require you to prove you have met in person within the last year. The fiance visa is not considered an immigration type visa so requires less time and documentation. At the time I filed we waited about 8 months for the interview and visa. After the visa is issued it is valid for 1 year and can only be used once to enter the country. The wait time can only be estimated, it is like throwing your documents in a black hole, then out of the blue you are notified you are approved for an interview or they need another document. Since every country varies on what documents and wait time we recommend visajourney. One word of caution, since you will only be able to estimate ( within about 2-3 months) when the visa will arrive planning a big wedding is impossible. Once your fiance arrives you have 90 days to get married. After the marriage you will need to start the process to obtain conditional residence called adjustment of status(referred to as AOS). If you file the documents for travel and work permit at the time of the adjustment of status they arrive in about 2-3 months in most states. Then you wait for an interview, the time varies depending on what state you live in(time tables are available at visajourney). States who do a lot of them normally take more time as apposed to places like Ohio who seem to be fairly quick for government standards. If you decide you wish to be married before applying for the visa, it requires more documentation and time. The rule of thumb is about 2 years and since it is considered an immigration visa the green card will be processed upon arrival. The burden of proof is on the petitioner, You will need to prove it is a real marriage and not for a green card. The mountain of paperwork that will be required need to gathered by both parties. I would recommend checking what documents will be required before contacting an attorney to help. All documents will need to be gathered by you and your spouse and the lawyer will only fill out the boxes on the forms. There are certain cases were it is prudent to get legal help but as a general rule you and your spouse will still be doing all the work. As a rule double check every document you send and every document you receive. The process is time consuming and papers do get misplaced at immigration. We had a couple documents lost or misplaced by immigration but we have plenty of copies because we were prepared. The people we did talk to were friendly and knowledgeable but were restricted because of the regulations in place. There is set criteria in place that needs to be met in order to obtain a visa or adjust status. The criteria is not imposable but can be time consuming. I hope this helps, good luck to all those who have chosen this road.