If you are in the United States legally on a temporary visa, and during your stay you happen to find your soulmate and marry them, you may qualify for an adjustment of status for a more permanent visa and may qualify for a green card.
To begin with, it is advisable to seek legal guidance from an experienced and knowledgeable immigration attorney to make sure that the forms are filled out correctly and that the correct documents are being provided. The attorney will also be able to inform you if you may qualify for a marriage based green card.
Next, it is important for the marriage to be legitimate. If the immigration officer suspects that the marriage may have been entered into for false reasons, the process may take longer, your application may be denied, or worse, both spouses may face criminal charges and may be sentenced to federal prison. So, before attempting to obtain a marriage-based visa, it is important that the marriage is a bona fide marriage.
One of the nice things about applying for a marriage-based visa is that as soon as you go through the whole application process and are approved, you are eligible for a U.S. green card.
A second advantage for this visa is that if for whatever reason your visa expired, and you overstayed, you are still eligible for an adjustment of status. Typically, you would have to apply for a visa through the consular proceedings and have a long wait time to have expire. However, being married to a U.S. citizen negates this issue so that you are able to apply for adjustment of status no matter how long your visa had expired.
A quick warning for those who obtained a visa to come to the United States and who have the intention to apply for a marriage based green card. That is called visa fraud and it is possible that your application may be denied on that basis. It is far better if you happen to have found your spouse after coming into the United States and then decided to get married.
When you complete all the necessary forms you will be asked to submit proof that your marriage is valid. This is where a competent and experienced lawyer will help guide you so that when you submit your evidence, your evidence is so substantial and thorough that the immigration officer will not have a single doubt as to the legitimacy of your marriage.
After these things are completed, the U.S. citizen spouse will have to show that they will be able to support the spouse financially for about ten years into the future. The government does this because they do not want the immigrant to have to rely on social programs such as welfare for assistance.
Due to different diseases and vaccination standards throughout the world, the immigrant must also submit to a medical exam and show that they were immunized for certain diseases. They will need proper paperwork to show that they have fulfilled this requirement.
Finally, after all the requirements have been met, the immigrant will be given an interview date. At the interview, the immigrant must bring with them their U.S. citizen spouse. This can often be very stressful, especially if the immigrant officer believes there may be fraud in the marriage. This is the officers best chance to determine if the marriage is real or false.
This is also your chance to prove that your marriage is real. You should bring with you the best evidence you have to show that your marriage is a bona fide marriage. The interviewer will ask questions about your marriage, such as the history, how you met, things like that. You may bring an attorney with you to help you decide what documents to bring and help you with the interview.
In order to be sure that you meet the requirements and/ or to properly file a petition, it is advisable to seek legal guidance from an experienced and knowledgeable immigration attorney.
This is an immigration legal blog. It is not intended to be used as legal advise. For further information please contact the law offices of attorney Ramona Kennedy.
Ramona Kennedy (Attorney) received her Jurisprudence Doctorate in America and is a licensed attorney in California (USA). Ramona Kennedy is a member of American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Ramona Kennedy is fluent in English and Farsi (reading & writing) & speaks Azeri Turkish.
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