Sponsorship Case (Marriage Case)
When an American citizen, who is residing in the United States, marries an alien, the alien is eligible to receive a green card based upon that marriage. If you are a U.S. citizen, your spouse is considered an "immediate relative" and may apply for permanent residency. To be granted permanent residency, your spouse's relationship with you must be established, and your spouse must qualify to be admitted to the United States under the immigration laws.
You must go through a multi-step process to become an immigrant. Under U.S. immigration laws, immigrants are persons lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States. You must file the following forms and documents with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to begin the process: 1) Form I-130 petition for alien relative on the spouse's behalf: 2) Form I-485 application for adjustment of status to permanent resident (green card holder); 3) Biographical form G-325A for each party; and 4) Form I-765 application for employment authorization. Additional documents that will be required to complete the process are: 1) the birth certificate of the petitioner/U.S. citizen; 2) the citizenship papers of the petitioner/U.S. citizen (if any); 3) the birth certificate of the beneficiary/alien; 4) the passport of the beneficiary/alien, including the I-94 card (if any); 5) marriage certificate; 6) marriage photograph; 7) four photographs of the beneficiary/alien (passport size, green card photograph); 8) two photographs of the petitioner/U.S. citizen (passport size); 9) all divorce papers for each spouse if applicable; 10) birth certificate of each child belonging to each party, if any; 11) all prior USCIS papers; 12) each medical evaluation of the beneficiary; 13) all financial documents of the petitioner, including all tax returns for the previous three years, job letters, pay stubs of the last two months, and a bank statement.
Once the papers are filed, the USCIS will process and investigate the information and documents submitted. The USCIS will also schedule an interview, which is intended to determine whether the marriage was entered into in good faith and is bona fide, not merely a sham intended to get the alien a green card. The USCIS takes fraudulent marriages seriously and accordingly requires applicants to provide supporting documents to show that the marriage is valid. Each couple must prove to the immigration officials that they have lived together and are in a genuine marital relationship. It cannot be overstressed that each couple must always tell the truth during the interview. Lying in a marriage interview could not only result in the denial of the petition, it could lead to a conviction for perjury.
The USCIS will look for evidence that is consistent with a typical married couple. The USCIS takes a very traditional view of marriage. The documentation provided should support the history of the relationship and your current life together, such as wedding and other photographs, joint bank statements, bills, joint tax returns, joint bills, joint leases, letters from your friends and family that would serve as testimonials about your relationship, and so forth. In addition, you must provide both the original and one copy of each of the documents submitted with your application for the green card.
At the interview, be prepared to answer numerous detailed and wide ranging personal questions. Two examples of questions you can expect to be asked during the interview illustrate the detail that you may expect. 1) What color is your spouse's toothbrush? 2) What color is the carpeting in your living room? If the examiner is uncertain after the examination, the couple may be called back for a second interview, during which each party may be interviewed separately so that the interviewer can later compare the answers for consistency. It is particularly important to note that, if you have been arrested for or convicted of any crime prior to this interview, it would be in your best interest to have an attorney present at the interview. The USCIS will have a complete criminal record on file.
If the USCIS grants you a green card, the green card that you receive may be either permanent or conditional. A conditional green card is issued to applicants who have been married fewer than two years. If the alien spouse is given conditional resident status, both spouses must file the Form I-751 (Petition to Remove the Conditional Basis on Residence) within ninety days preceding the second anniversary of the date on which the alien spouse receives conditional permanent resident status.
The USCIS reviews the Form I-751 filed by the alien and the alien’s spouse to determine whether to waive the interview required by the Act. If satisfied, the USCIS may waive the interview and approve the petition. If not satisfied, then the USCIS will interview both the alien and the alien’s spouse to verify the validity of the marriage and ensure that the marriage was not entered into solely for immigration purposes. As long as the marriage is valid, the USCIS will remove the conditional status, and the alien will become a permanent green card holder without conditions.
Due to both the complexity and the constant changes in immigration laws, it is advisable to have an attorney represent you in preparing the necessary documents for the green card process. Your lawyer should help guide you through the process and be at your side during the interview. If you are looking for advice on immigration, please feel free to call.
Pursuant to New York law this website is considered attorney advertising.
Copyright © 2004-2009 by Jeffrey B. Peltz P.C.. All rights reserved. You may reproduce materials available at this site for your own personal use and for non-commercial distribution. All copies must include this copyright statement.