Local Americans pan US immigration rules

The U.S. immigration agency is enforcing a new set of rules that can make life harder for Americans and their non-citizen spouses living overseas.

The new process of obtaining an immigrant visa increased from three months to a minimum of five. Sometimes it may take as long as three years, The New York Times reported on Aug. 14.

Ukraine is no exception. Americans married to Ukrainians residing in their home country will have to go through a long and complicated visa process if they decide to leave. The U.S. Embassy in Ukraine estimates that the rule will affect approximately 5,000 Americans internationally.

In an effort to centralize the process, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security now requires applicants abroad to mail the visa document called I-130 to a central immigration office in Chicago, whereas before it was enough to contact a local consulate.