So the time has come, you’ve decided that you’re ready to stop being apart from the person you love and bridge that transcontinental distance between you. However, it’s not as easy as picking up and moving like you can do within your home country. Each country has a process, a chain of procedure that must be followed to allow foreigners into their country.
Unfortunately, the process for people who are trying to move to a new country legally is extremely hard, expensive, lengthy, and can become even more so if any errors or mistakes are made during the process. It can be hard to figure out where to get started and that is extremely intimidating for someone who has never done this before.
Thankfully for us, there are lots of long distance couples & families out there who are in similar situations who have successfully navigated the confusing waters of immigration and visas and are Closing the Distance Internationally. A few of them have documented the big steps they themselves had to take for those of us who are scared and unsure of how to begin and successfully complete the process.
Its important to note that none of these wonderful people are lawyers or immigration specialists and if you’re looking for the best expert advice you’re going to need someone who knows the ins and outs of the process well. These guides are just their way of describing what they understand about the immigration process and should not be taken as legal advice.
Reading the following Visa guides is a good way to familiarize yourself with the process of Closing the Distance Internationally so that it feels less overwhelming to you and you can have a generally idea of what it’s going to take to close the distance for you. Please do research for yourself as well in addition to the information below!
Immigrating to The United States
The U.S. Fiance Visa is most commonly used for bringing a non-U.S. spouse to the United States. The guides below cover the writers personal experiences with that Visa as well as providing some additional information on how to successfully work through the process.
- The US Fiancée/Spouse Visa Process – “One of the questions that people most frequently ask me anymore is if and when Felipe and I will go to the United States. Many know that he has to have a visa or a “green-card” in order to live and work there, but they don’t understand or even know what the process is that we are going to have to go through to get one once we determine that we are ready to do so. This blog is to describe what I understand about the process..”
- How My Guy and I Conquered the Fiance Visa Process – “There were so many times I wanted to decide on a date for our wedding and had to stop myself because we didn’t have the visa yet. My boy and I were stuck waiting-in-limbo for around 5 years before marriage became a serious option. Although I can only relay my own experiences, there is a lot I have learned…”
- Real Bride Kate: How to Marry a Foreigner – “My and Daniel’s K-1 visa has just been approved. The visa has been issued and is in his passport. Therefore, I can tell you that the process described below DID work for us. Let me offer some rudimentary advice on how and why to go through with the K-1 visa…”
- The Ultimate K1 Visa Packet Checklist – “Here’s what you need to know to get that scary first packet ready! Just remember be as thorough as you can, never cut corners and label, label, label until it’s perfectly fool proof! This checklist is a first had example of what my now husband and I submitted for our K1 Visa application and we were accepted and interviewed within 6 months…”
- Visa Applications… Frequently Asked Questions – Some additional questions on various specific parts of the visa application process.
- Is a K1 Fiancé Visa the Right Visa for You? – “If you’re dating someone from another country and the relationship has become serious, chances are you’ve read a bit about the K1 visa. If you’d like to bring your significant other to the United States, the K1 visa is one of two options.”
Immigrating to The United Kingdom
Bringing a spouse over to the UK can be just as challenging as filing for immigration rights anywhere else. Here are some excellent guides and FAQs to help you start the process together.
- Getting Married in the UK: What Visa Do I Need? – “If you are looking to start your married life together in the UK, there are a number of options available to you. Different couples will be in different circumstances, and not all will want to apply for the same visa. So, in this article, we break down the different types of visa, and when you should apply for each.”
- Where to Find More Help with the UK Fiancé Visa – “Applying for the UK fiancé visa can be a long and complicated process. It is daunting, in fact, when you first begin researching and don’t really know where to begin. There is a lot of information available, but not all of it is up to date or current. That can make finding out what you need to know even more difficult.”
- The UK Fiancé Visa: A Guide for the Applicant – “The process for applying for the UK fiancé visa is a very complicated one. Both applicant and sponsor will have to provide a significant amount of documentation to prove to immigration officials that your marriage is not fraudulent. However, the requirements for the applicant are significantly higher.”
- The UK Fiancé Visa: A Guide for Your Sponsor – “Preparing your application for the UK fiancé is without a doubt a daunting process. It is something that Chelsea and I have been researching ourselves at the moment. The opinion on what needs to be included varies depending on who you talk to, but there are a lot of simple things that are definitely required..”
- Why Choose a Fiancé Visa – “Moving to the UK from outside of the EU can be a difficult process. Chelsea and I are finding this out as we have begun researching which visa is best for Chelsea to apply for to make the move. This is something that all long distance couples looking to settle in England will need to go through at some point in their relationship…”
- Expat Diaries: My Visa Process – “I have written about some of my expat musings, victories and frustrations on my blog before, but I thought that since this was a brand new linkup that I would start from the beginning of my expat tale… The short version is that I met and married a British gent, and when we decided where to establish our newly married life we had to look at the visa process for both the US and the UK…”
Immigrating to Canada
These guides cover the process of sponsoring a partner that wants to move in the country from outside of Canada. Guides like this for Canadians are far and few, but we were able to gather up the ones below. Enjoy!
- Tips for sponsoring a spouse from outside Canada – “I have a great job, a loving family, strong friendships and my whole life ahead of me in Canada, and I just got married to a wonderful person who is a resident in and a citizen of another country. It breaks my heart that we aren’t living together in Canada. What do I do?”
- Family Class Sponsorship to Canada – “Sponsor your wife, husband, common-law partner, or other family member to live in Canada. Anyone who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident can sponsor an eligible family member to live in Canada as a permanent resident. As a permanent resident, they can live in Canada indefinitely, work, go to school, and receive other benefits such as health care”
- How To… Immigrate To Canada: Two Immigration Tips – “The first thing I’d like to tackle today are the two most common “immigration myths”. I used to spend a lot of time in various immigration forums, and the same questions would always pop up…”
- How To… Immigrate To Canada: The Skilled Worker Category – “Today, we will see who is eligible to apply in the skilled worker category, how does it work, and what happens after you mail your application.”
- How To… Immigrate To Canada: The Sponsorship Category – “If you are in a serious relationship with a Canadian citizen or a permanent citizen in Canada, you may be eligible to apply for permanent residence through the sponsorship category.”
- How To… Immigrate To Canada: How Much Does Immigrating Really Cost? – “Sure, you though of the processing fees. But did you realize there were also a lot of fees associated with immigrating to Canada? In this post, I’m going to try to sum up how much do you really need to paid to immigrate to Canada.”
- How To… Immigrate To Canada: How Long Does The Immigration Process Take? – “Immigration’s applicants main concern is often on how long the whole process takes. Unfortunately, there is no rule and no one can know for sure. However, there are some tricks to make sure your application is processed as fast as it can be!”
- 10 Common Immigration Questions – “I recently received quite a lot of emails, asking me questions about the immigration process. So I decided to explain the whole process… Here are the answers to the ten most common immigration questions.”
Immigrating to Australia
- Applying for the Australian Partner Visa – “We’ve been asked by others going through the USA – Australia move to give details about applying for the Australian Partner Visa. This post is basically an overview of all the main parts of the application process.”
- The Pros and Cons of Australian Partner Visas: Choosing An Australian Visa To Be With Your Partner – “When I first started looking at visas to close the distance, I quickly became overwhelmed. Not only were my options quite limited, but it felt like everything had a high level of requirements that I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to make. Everything requires a different level of proof, and let’s face it – reading government paperwork is as much fun as a root canal…”
- Things We Included in Our Australian Partner Visa (820) – “I wanted to post this list for anyone going through the same visa process that Cal and I are going through. I think it will help give people some ideas about what to include, as a lot of what I included were suggestions from other people. I am obviously NOT an expert, so take from this what you will.”
Immigrating to Italy
- How to Get a Visa for Italy, Simplified all Here! – “This article is not meant to provide a comprehensive description (how boring!) of the Italian legal system, but it does provide prospective expats with a brief overview, a ‘how-to’ for those considering a move to Italy to set up a business, get married, buy a house, or convert one type of visa into another.”
Immigrating to Brazil
- My move to Brazil from UK – “I am writing this page to perhaps help others in a similar situation to myself. I often found it difficult to locate information about rules and regulations when moving and when I did I often found it differed considerably. Whilst the info below is based on my personal experiences, you should confirm details for yourself as well. I am not a lawyer and can’t offer legal advise only opinion.”
These 25 guides to navigating the visa process for you, your family or your partner will hopefully help to make things simpler for you and give you an idea of what to expect before jumping feet first into everything.
If you have successfully closed the distance despite international borders and documented the process and would like to share or add it to this list, leave a comment with the details below!