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.
The K-1 visa is for the fiancé of a U.S. citizen to come to the United States for the purpose of marriage. If you entered the U.S. on a K-1 visa, you have 90 days to marry the U.S. citizen from the date of entry. A K-1 visa does not allow the foreign national to stay in the United States for more than 90 days – it can’t be extended. Once married, the foreign national has the option of staying in the United States if he or she files an application for adjustment of status through a K-1 visa entry.
Adjustment of status to permanent resident is an exclusive process to apply for a green card reserved for certain intending immigrants that are physically present in the United States. A K-1 visa holder who has married his or her U.S. citizen fiancé is generally eligible.
For immigrants arriving to the United States, the American tax system can be a very new and confusing concept. In fact, the U.S. tax system is so complex that most natural-born Americans have difficulty filing each year. As a general rule, U.S. tax law applies to you if you live in the United States or spend a significant amount of time here.
In the United States everyone with income above certain levels is expected to file a tax return. That’s not true in all countries around the world. In many countries, the government withholds taxes from paychecks, and the individual never has to directly file an income tax return. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the U.S. agency responsible for collecting taxes.
Whether you are a lawful permanent resident or an undocumented immigrant, it’s important that you get a basic understanding of your tax filing obligations.
The K-3 visa process was designed to help shorten the physical separation between a foreign citizen and his or her U.S. citizen spouse. In theory, it’s the perfect solution for many couples that want to move to the United States together without an extended separation associated with the immigration process. In practice, the K-3 visa process is rarely used. While it remains a component of immigration law, most couples have a tough time obtaining one.
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.
The requirements for petitioning a foreign citizen spouse for permanent residence (green card) are more exhaustive than any other relationship. When filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, the petitioner must also submit other supporting documents to evidence the relationship. We’ve developed an I-130 checklist for spouses to help you through this process.
Immigration officials, from the U.S. Department of State and also U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), have an additional layer of scrutiny for spousal relationships. After all, sham marriages are one of the most common ways to commit green card fraud. Immigration officials want to be sure that your spouse is obtaining a green card based on a genuine relationship.
Since September 2017 the Trump Administration has had a policy to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Although the decision to wind down DACA has been stopped in the courts for now, the future of the program is uncertain. The policy is being challenged in the highest court. Today, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case (McAleenan v. Vidal ) that will likely determine the future for more than 700,000 DACA recipients. This has put a renewed emphasis for many DACA recipients to find other paths to legal status. Obtaining a DACA green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen is one of the most common ways to gain legal status.
When filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on behalf of a spouse, it’s necessary to submit evidence that you have a genuine, bona fide marriage. This can be challenging for a couple that hasn’t had time to join financial accounts or have children. This I-130 affidavit sample can help provide evidence in lieu of other documents.
When filing Form I-751 to remove the conditions on residence, the conditional permanent resident also needs to submit evidence that the relationship was entered in “good faith.” U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) wants to confirm that the marriage was not entered into for the purposes of evading immigration laws. Much confusion surrounds the need to submit an I-751 affidavit.
These “letters of support” are statements written by people that know the couple and have first-hand knowledge of the relationship. The I-751 affidavit helps support other evidence that the couple submits to demonstrate that the marriage was entered in good faith and is a not a “sham” marriage. Continue reading →
Even if you are filing with a waiver for the joint filing requirement (rather than jointly with your spouse), you will need to prove that your marriage was genuine and not created to circumvent immigration laws.
If you or your spouse recently became a conditional permanent resident through marriage, now is the time to begin documenting your life together. Don’t wait until it is time to file Form I-751 to prove you have a good faith marriage.