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Getting a Marriage Based Green Card 1

Obtaining a green card through marriage is one of the most notorious pathways to permanent residency, but it is not without complications. It may seem obvious that attempting to get a green card through an insincere marriage can wreck your chances of ever obtaining one. However, you may be surprised to learn that even a legitimate marriage can have potential roadblocks. To help you successfully navigate the process, the content below will discuss some of the do’s and don’ts when it comes to pursuing permanent residency through marriage.

DON’T overelaborate on details about your partner

When you go to your immigration interview, you don’t want your answers to seem rehearsed or insincere. Obviously you should know intimate details about your partner, but you shouldn’t be over-analytical. For example, if the interviewer asks what your partner’s favorite food is, you could simply say “Mac n Cheese.” You don’t have to go into incredible detail about the specific brand or portion size.

The main point of your interview with an immigration officer is so that they can see how you and your partner interact. If you’re a normal and loving couple with natural knowledge of each other, then you’re likely to do just fine. But if you sound like you’re reciting from an encyclopedia on your partner’s life, you may do more harm than good.

Still, if it helps you relax, you may want to look over some examples of questions you might be asked. 

DO pay close attention to the I-864 Affidavit of Support

While filling out forms can definitely become tedious after a while, you want to make sure that you remain on your toes—especially when it comes to the I-865 Affidavit of Support. This form let’s the US know that your American spouse intends to sponsor you, meaning they will be your financial support. If there is a mistake, even a small one, on this form, it could be rejected. Each time you have to resubmit the form you will cause a delay of at least 60 days. To avoid this, it is in your best interest to consult an immigration attorney and have him or her look over the form.

DON’T immediately apply for a green card while in the US as a visitor

If you come to the US on a B-2 visitor visa, you’ve basically pledged to the United States that you plan to leave the country once your visa expires. If you then suddenly decide to apply for a green card through marriage, especially within the first six months of your stay, you may raise some red flags.

Many people who apply for a green card while in the US as a visitor see success, but it is not necessarily your best option because of the potential complications that can arise. Worst case scenario, your immigration officer could decide that you entered the US knowing that you intended to stay permanently, which could motivate him or her to seek a permanent ban on you entering the US. To avoid such complications, it’s generally best to apply for a marriage-based green card from the start. This way, you avoid risking your chances of ever entering the country again.

DO be open and honest about your past

While that time you were arrested for driving 20 miles over the speed limit may not seem like an offense worthy of deportation, you should never keep any criminal issues to yourself. First, your immigration officer will know anyway—even if the infraction occurred in another country. Second, lying about or omitting your criminal history will raise questions about your integrity and could hurt your chances of becoming a permanent US citizen. If you have any infractions on your record, it is best to speak with an immigration attorney so that you can be prepared for any issues that arise.

DON’T fib to immigration services

We cannot stress this point enough. As mentioned above, lying to immigration services is the best way to make sure that you don’t receive a marriage-based green card. You will need to be accurate and honest in your interview and on all of the forms that you complete. Even seemingly innocuous questions should be answered fully and correctly. 


Keep these tips in mind throughout your immigration process. Should you have any questions about your forms or interviews, the experienced attorneys at Katz Law Office Ltd. are eager and standing by to help. Contact us today to schedule your free 30-minute consultation.

None of the advice contained in these materials serves as a substitute for individualized legal representation by a licensed attorney with experience in the practice area.

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