Can I bring my wife if I have a student visa?

In my column This week's Consulta Migratoria® answers a question from a reader who has a student visa and wishes to bring his wife to the United States.

Each case is different and the answers vary depending on each person's immigration history.

Here I provide general answers to your questions. Please consult with an immigration attorney to receive personalized legal advice before starting any procedure.

This is the column:

I am Peruvian and I am studying at a university in the United States with an F-1 visa. Can I bring my wife to live with me? -Ernesto A.

Ernesto, your wife could live temporarily with you in the United States if she is able to obtain an F-2 visa and is admitted by a customs officer. The following explains the process and documents required to obtain this type of visa.

First, you must contact your university's Designated School Official and request a Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status (Form I-20A-B, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status) for your spouse. As part of this process you will need to demonstrate that you continue to meet the requirements for an F-1 visa, that you are married to your spouse, and that you have sufficient resources to support yourselves in the United States.

If you get Form I-20A-B for your wife, she can apply for the F-2 visa at the U.S. consulate in Peru using Form DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Application, and paying the appropriate fee. In addition, your wife must:

  1. Present a valid passport along with a recent digital color photo.
  1. Submit Forms I-20A-B in your and your spouse's names issued by the university where you are studying.
  1. Submit evidence showing that you are currently a college student at the academic institution that issued the Form I-20A-B. For example, copy of your college ID, class schedule, and receipt that you have paid your college expenses.
  1. Present a copy of your F-1 visa.
  1. Present the marriage certificate showing that you are married.
  1. Provide evidence of financial resources to cover the full cost of your college education and living expenses for you and your spouse.
  1. Demonstrate that you have a residence abroad to which you will return upon completion of your university studies.
  1. Clearly demonstrate that you do not intend to stay in the United States permanently.

It is extremely important not to lie during the visa application process. The U.S. Government severely penalizes people who attempt to obtain immigration benefits through fraud.

Consult with an immigration attorney before beginning any immigration proceedings.