Preparing for your marriage-based immigrant visa consular interview
The consular interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate is an important milestone in your application for an immigrant visa (green card). After all, consular officers use their discretion based on this interview to determine if they will approve your green card application. For marriage-based applications the interview is especially crucial. Knowing what to expect and preparing for possible green card interview questions will help you be ready.
Green card interview questions for spouses tend to dig a little deeper than typical interviews. That’s because marriage is one of the primary ways that fraudulent visas are requested. Immigration officers want to verify that you have a bona fide marriage. That’s it. The officer will ask additional questions to help determine if your marriage is the real deal.
There are two fundamental ways to apply for green card (permanent resident status). Foreign nationals, who meet certain criteria, may be eligible to apply from within the United States through a process called adjustment of status. But the majority of foreign nationals apply from outside the United States at a U.S. embassy or consulate. This is known as consular processing.
This article provides an overview of the immigrant visa (green card) application process for consular processing. Although other categories take a similar path, this overview discusses the steps to apply for a green card through the family-based immediate relative and family preference categories. Before one can start, you’ll need to know that you have a qualifying relationship to apply for a green card through family.
A dual intent visa allows foreign nationals to be temporarily present in the United States with the intention of possibly immigrating to the U.S. permanently. That’s significant because most temporary visas require that the visitor intend to return home. Thus, attempting to adjust status to permanent resident with other nonimmigrant visas can potentially trigger severe, long-term immigration problems.
Most people will find it difficult to qualify for a U.S. nonimmigrant visa, such as a visitor visa, if there is any evidence of immigrant intent—a past intent, an intent to seek to immigrate during this trip to the U.S., an intent to immigrate to the U.S. in the future, or even a hope to immigrate in the future. The applicant must prove that he or she has nonimmigrant intent.
The steps to obtain a family-based green card — officially known as a permanent resident card — vary based on the qualifying family relationship and where you live (inside the United States or outside).
If you would like to petition (sponsor) a family member for a green card or you are a foreign national that wants to permanently move to the United States, this article provides a basic overview of the eligibility categories and family-based green card process.
Marriage green card is a common phrase used to describe a permanent resident card obtained through marriage to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. Permanent residence is an immigration status that allows a foreign national to live and work in the United States permanently. Generally, the permanent resident may also choose to naturalize as a U.S. citizen once eligible.
A marriage-based green card can be one of the quickest ways to obtain permanent residence. The marriage alone doesn’t provide any immigration status to a foreign national. But marriage to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident is a qualifying relationship for a foreign national to apply for immigration benefits.
Several years ago, CitizenPath launched an an innovative, online service to help our customers prepare Form I-864, Affidavit of Support. The online service includes a calculator that helps make Form I-864 easy for anyone to prepare. This article explains how the service works and includes an Affidavit of Support sample created from the CitizenPath software.
Many immigration attorneys consider the Affidavit of Support to be one of the most difficult U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) forms to prepare. USCIS routinely rejects Form I-864 or issues a Request for Evidence (RFE) as a result of incorrectly prepared Affidavits of Support. This is significant. That’s because the intending immigrant’s green card application will be denied if the I-864 does not meet the requirements.
Common reasons why a family-based application for permanent residence may be denied by USCIS
Each year the U.S. government allows thousands of people to enter the United States with permanent resident status. Permanent residence is symbolized with a card, most commonly referred to as a green card. But the government also denies thousands of green card applications. There are several possible factors for a green card application denial. The reasons vary from no basis for eligibility to grounds of inadmissibility to failure to properly deal with the application requirements. What’s more, a new policy broadens the powers of immigration officials to deny applications without first issuing a warning. Continue reading →
Even many immigration lawyers consider Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, to be one of the most confusing immigration forms. It’s a little like combining the financials of a tax return with the complexity of an immigration form. In fact, that’s basically what it is. The stakes are high. If the sponsor does not qualify, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will not issue the intending immigrant permanent residence (green card).
When a foreign national applies for permanent residence in the United States, immigration officials are obligated in most cases to make sure that the intending immigrant has adequate means of financial support and is not likely to become a public charge. USCIS requires Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, for most family-based applications and some employment-based applications. It’s a contract between a sponsor and the U.S. government, in which the sponsor promises to support the intending immigrant if he or she is unable to do so on their own. It’s a back-up plan in case the immigrant has financial problems. Continue reading →
An applicant for a family-based green card will need a financial sponsor in the United States before immigrating. Although some new green card holders may be able to find employment immediately and support themselves, the financial sponsor is necessary in case things don’t go as planned.
Every person who immigrates based on a family-based visa petition must have a financial sponsor. Whoever files Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on behalf of a family member (or Form I-129F on behalf of a fiancé) must also agree to be the financial sponsor and file Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, when the time comes for the person to actually immigrate to the United States.
To help a parent get a green card, the eligibility requirements are generally very simple. As the son or daughter who wants to petition a parent, you must be a U.S. citizen and at least 21 years old. Although it gets a bit more complicated, this privilege also extends to certain step and adopted sons and daughters.
What’s more, immigration law defines parents of U.S. citizens as immediate relatives. Therefore, parents get priority as compared to other preference-based family relationships. There is no numerical limit on immigrant visas for immediate relatives. In other words, there isn’t the long wait associated with other categories when you help your mother or father obtain permanent residence in the United States. The process begins by filing a visa petition for your mother or father. Continue reading →