One of the most common ways for an immigrant to obtain permanent residence in the United States (also known as acquiring a green card) is through marriage to a United States citizen or to someone who is already a permanent resident. However, it is not unusual for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to scrutinize the marriages of green card applicants since many individuals marry U.S. citizens fraudulently simply for the purpose of obtaining a green card. While it still may take a lengthy period of time to obtain a green card through marriage, the process is generally easier and more expeditious than obtaining a green card through other means, particularly because the number of green cards available every year to immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, such as spouses, is unlimited.
If you or your spouse is seeking a green card through marriage, there are a number of steps you must follow. In addition to filing a form with the USCIS, you will have the burden of proving that your marriage is bona fide or legitimate. Accordingly, you will have to submit documentation of a valid marriage such as a marriage certificate, a wedding announcement, joint bank account or credit card statements, and joint automobile registration. If you think you might need help establishing the legitimacy of your marriage, or you have questions about what documentation you can provide, it is a good idea to seek the advice and consult of an experienced Immigration Lawyer. Contact Sanabria & Associates today and our attorneys can help you determine which documents might best establish that your marriage is bona fide, and can help increase your chances of success in the immigration process.
If your marriage is less than two years old when you apply for and are granted a green card, then that “conditional” green card will only have a two-year time limit. Therefore, you and your spouse must submit a specific form during the ninety days prior to the expiration of the green card so that you can obtain a ten-year green card. However, if you and your spouse divorce before the end of the two-year period, you may still be able to remove the conditions on your green card and remain in the United States by proving that your marriage was in good faith.
In very rare instances, the USCIS may ask your spouse to attend a “fraud interview’ if there are doubts about your marriage being valid. If this is the case, an experienced Immigration Attorney can help you through this process and can appear with you at the interview.
Finally, the whole process typically takes about ten to twelve months. While this may seem like a long time, it will hopefully pay off in the end.
If you or your spouse are looking to come to the United States to live and work on a permanent basis, and one of you is already a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, the experienced Immigration Lawyers at Sanabria & Associates can advise you as to how to go about acquiring a green card and can guide you through the process of obtaining your permanent resident status. Contact Sanabria & Associates 24/7 via phone in Maryland at (301) 585-8400, D.C. at (202) 891-7074 or Virginia at (571) 552-4386, or via email for a free consultation or to schedule an office visit.
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