Monday, August 12, 2013

How to Ease the Process of Bringing a Foreign Spouse to the United States

Marrying someone from outside the United States can be exciting. Perhaps you met your partner while on a study abroad trip, an extended vacation, or while on a work assignment overseas. If you spent most of your relationship living in your partner’s country and plan on immigrating to the United States, you may have some fears and questions in your mind about how well you both will readjust. Will your partner fit in well with your family and friends? How quickly can your partner learn how to speak English and find a job? Will your relationship remain the same? These are all valid questions on the minds of many couples facing this same adventure. Here are some tips to help you sort through the process.
My Sweetest met my family for the first time in the Philippines.
Include your family and friends in your decision to marry a foreigner
My Sweetest met my friends in the Philippines.

This may sound simple, but many people leave the United States for months or even years at a time with little communication with the family and friends left behind. Preparing them for your decision to marry will allow them to create a welcoming space in their lives when you return home. Try using technology, if possible, to connect your soon to be spouse with your family -- and vice versa. Tools like Skype, Facebook, and even plain old telephones can build a bridge between two very different cultures. Create an online photo album that includes photos of life with your partner. Even if the families cannot talk to one another, having at least seen others in photos will create a sense of familiarity.


Get a referral for an immigration lawyer

Having access to the best immigration lawyer who is up to date on all the laws, visas, and other items can give you both peace of mind. No one wants to have to face threat of deportation due to noncompliance with rules you did not know about. To find the best immigration lawyer try asking your friends and family for assistance. If you are working in a foreign country, perhaps your co-workers can offer a referral. Try looking online for associations promoting immigration lawyers in your state as that may also be a useful reference.



Teach your partner about American diversity
My first lobsters at my first clambake.

Moving away from what may be the only country and culture your partner ever knew will cause culture shock. For many foreigners, their only reference to American culture they know is from pop culture materials like old westerns and tv shows. The reality may be difficult to learn to navigate if they are not properly prepared. Be sure to explain that there are a number of different cultures represented in America, people who may still have close ties to other countries. However they may still fully identify as an American. This diversity can also be seen in state and regional accents, religions, political viewpoints, etc.

Bringing your partner from another country to the United States can be a stressful time for the both of you. However there are many stories of families who have been able to survive it. If you are able to communicate with one another and fully commit to the relationship, then there should be no problems you could not work out together.


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Joan Price is a relationship specialist who specializes in martial counseling. In her free time, Joan enjoys blogging about relationship tips as well as her own personal relationship.

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