Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram

310-496-4292

Green Card by Marriage

April 2010 Newsletter

Green Card By Marriage - What are some of the challenges beyond those of just getting the green card?

Green Card By Marriage - What are some of the challenges beyond those of just getting the green card?

   Topics covered in this issue 
 – Comprehensive Health Care Reform
 – Comprehensive Immigration Reform
 – Green Card By Marriage
 – Student F1 Visa
 – US Immigration for Top Professionals
 – US Immigration for BA Graduates  –

About this time of year we get a lot of enquiries from prospective clients looking to marry their American sweetheart. I love these cases because I’m a hopeless romantic at heart but at the same time, because I’ve handled so many, I understand there is a lot of “reality” that clients need to be aware of. In this article I’d like to take off the rose colored glasses for a moment to look at some of the more gritty issues you should be aware of when considering the green card by marriage process.

US citizens have a constitutional right under the right of privacy to marry whom ever they wish without inference from Federal government. Although some individual states do now recognize same sex marriages, this is not the case nationally and thus not Federal law. So we’re still at the point where only heterosexual couples can marry and obtain a green card.  With the constitutional right for the genuine couple in love, getting the green card is theoretically a done deal. The reality is that nothing could be further from the truth.

Getting a green card through marriage to an American may seem straight forward but nothing could be further from the truth.  Stress levels go through the roof as the amount of conflicting information out there leaves aliens more confused then when they started - This is where experience and expertise can make all the difference between a smooth relocation or case denial.

Getting a green card through marriage to an American may seem straight forward but nothing could be further from the truth. Stress levels go through the roof as the amount of conflicting information out there leaves aliens more confused than when they started - This is where experience and expertise can make all the difference between a smooth relocation or case denial.

A Conflict of Information –  No matter how many government websites you go to or how many government agencies you call you will get conflicting information about what is the right way to go about going through the process. There is no website I’ve ever found that will take you through the process A-Z so you know exactly what to do before you start and guide you through the process  so you can really reduce the enormous stresses that you will face. Most of the stress is caused by the unknown. How long with this take. Therefore, trying to do green card by marriage yourself is a recipe for a nightmare and could jeopardize your relationship.

Starting the Process too Late – It’s almost impossible to start the preparation process too soon. Although from filing the case to getting the green card can take between 6-8 months it can take longer if there are bumps in the road or unexpected delays.  So the more time you allow yourself the less intense your case will be. Immigration is very stressful at the best of time let alone when you add in the dynamic of getting married too, or even if you’re already married there is the dynamic of moving to a new country to make a life.

Being Under Funded – For those aliens who are relocating to America because they have a BA degree or higher, or some special skill and have a job waiting for them with a great package the stress of relocation is much lower than the alien who is giving up the security of their job and who now have to find work in the US and in effect build up from scratch. I’ve worked with a lot of clients who don’t have tens of thousands in the bank and they come over on the green card by marriage path and they have a very hard time finding a job and getting settled.  One of the flash points for many aliens is getting the work permit fast enough.

For those clients who came into the US, got married and then, applied for the work permit and green card the 3-4 months it could take to get their work permit can be the most frustrating 3-4 months of their life. For those clients who get married but do not enter the US until they have their green card from the Embassy, they can work right away but settling in and finding employment is not a piece of cake and if they do not have a substantial amount of cash behind them the stress levels can quickly mount up. So my message is there is no perfect way to immigrate to America. Save as much money as you can because you’re going to need it. 

Bringing aliens to be with their American spouses is an awesome privilege we enjoy doing, however our clients should realize that making the move smoothly and successfully takes a lot of patience and planning, so please allow as much time as possible not only to make the relocation but to also settle into the American Dream.

Bringing aliens to be with their American spouses is an awesome privilege we enjoy doing, however our clients should realize that making the move smoothly and successfully takes a lot of patience and planning, so please allow as much time as possible not only to make the relocation but to also settle into the American Dream.

Settling in the US – Relocating to a new country is by definition very stressful, you have to learn a completely new culture, a new way of doing things and it’s going to be rough for a while. If you really take these issues on board as best you can in advance then you fair better.

I remember when I relocated to the US December 17th 1999. I arrived to a great job, had a fully furnished apartment and a very nice car, but those first three months I did not know where I was and my instincts were to get back to England as quickly as possible where everything was familiar and I understood the culture. Yes, I was happy in the US, but I was not settled, settlement and acceptance takes time and you have to give yourself that time (three months to a year) to make the adjustment and it’s not always pretty.

Buying or Renting – If you do not already own a home in the US or your American spouse does not own a home, don’t be in a hurry to sell your home in the UK, or where ever, with the expectation to buy asap in the US. The best advice I was given was to wait for at least 12 months if you can until you have settled down. Think about it, you have the stress of going through the immigration process, marriage, settlement and if you set out to buy a house then you’re piling on some of the biggest stressful things to do all in one go. If you take on too much too quickly you could become overwhelmed.

We love doing green card by marriage cases; we’ve done so many of them that we understand the green card immigration maze very well indeed. Our biggest challenge in these cases is not immigration, it’s the clients: the pressure they are under is immense because of the reasons outlined above.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to do the most comprehensive “Client only” green card by marriage guide based on my many years of experience, so that our clients can read excellent material as they go through the process so that they can have the bulk of their questions answered online. Start early and with good planning, together we should be able to have a great relocation experience.

Useful Links: 
K1 Fiance(e) Visas –
K3 Marriage Visas –

 Topics covered in this issue   
 – Comprehensive Health Care Reform
 – Comprehensive Immigration Reform
 – Green Card By Marriage
 – Student F1 Visa
 – US Immigration for Top Professionals
 – US Immigration for BA Graduates –

 

 

By Attorney Chris M. Ingram
 
Immigration Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram US Immigration Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram

US Immigration Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram
Chris M. Ingram LL.M., ESQ – Immigration Attorney
Admitted in New York.
Practice Specializing in US Immigration Law
520 Broadway, Suite 350,
Santa Monica,
California 90401
Tel: 310 496 4292

Everyday the Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram provides a comprehensive range of US Immigration expertise. We also provide a free consultation for our prospective clients. 

  

General Location:  Santa Monica , Santa Clarita, Los Angeles, California, USA.
Serving all 50 States
Copyright 2010

 

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