Many times I get asked about the process to sponsor a spouse after the DV lottery win. People sometimes tell me they want to apply for the DV visa without their spouse and will sponsor their spouse to go to the USA later when they have settled. That is almost always a bad idea – and I warn people that it will take a lot longer and be more expensive than the simple DV process.
So – let me explain that to make this a bit more clear.
The DV lottery process is the easiest, cheapest way to get a Green Card – there is no USA immigration process that is anywhere near as easy. For DV you fill in your DS260, have an interview, pay some small fees and you are given a Green Card. You don’t have a formal sponsor, and if you do require a financial sponsor the form they fill out is the I-134 – that carries NO obligation for the sponsor.
Anyone who has been interviewed for DV should know this – and I cannot stress enough – the DV process is EXTREMELY EASY when compared to other immigration processing.
If however someone chooses to go through family based immigration the process is a lot harder.
- The forms are more complicated and people often need help from a lawyer.
- The fees are typically higher (depends on the process – but it is not cheaper than DV).
- The case requires a financial undertaking (form I-864) which creates a legal obligation on the sponsor. Typically the petitioner would be that sponsor for the spouse, but that means the petitioner (you) have to be working in the USA with an income to meet their tests. That means it might be a while before you can submit the paperwork.
- Once you submit the paperwork you have to wait. To sponsor a spouse, the current waiting time is almost 2 years. During that time you will most likely be apart.
So – it is possible for a DV lottery winner to process their own case and later sponsor their spouse through Family based immigration. However, that is making a simple process into a complicated one. Why would you do that????