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The Marriage Myth and United States Immigration Law

Marrying a United States citizen does not guarantee a green card nor does it make qualifying for one automatic.

Ever heard this myth? You’ve probably seen the story before in the movies and on TV: The hapless foreign hero falls for the lovely American heroine and only their wedding vows will save him from certain deportation.

However, the Hollywood version does not quite match up to reality and the real life process is not so easy. In the real world you’ll need the following:

  1. Lawful Admission to the United States.
    • This means a Visa – stamped into your passport/approved marriage petition before you enter.
    • Entry through the border will not suffice.
  2. Proof that the marriage is legitimate.
    • Children born to the marriage
    • Affidavits from loved ones who know you together
    • Proof of financial commitment (did you keep the receipt for the engagement ring?)
    • Co-mingled bank accounts
    • Pictures of you together during your relationship
    • E-mails, texts, letters, birthday cards, etc.
  3. Time to the let the process take its course.
    • The petition process can last anywhere from six months to a year.

So if your client who overstays his or her visa happens to fall in love with and marry a U.S. Citizen – and they can prove it – then the Hollywood romance is alive and green card status is achievable.

Marriage to a citizen is the most common example, and can be the most straightforward case, but additional options exist for those individuals that enter lawfully who may still be able to adjust their status even though their visas expire.

If you or someone you love needs a free consultation regarding this or any other issue in the field of Immigration Law, contact the experienced immigration attorneys at Bramnick, Rodriguez, Grabas, Arnold & Mangan, LLC.

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