Love and US Immigration
Love has no age limits. People fall in love at any age. With the Internet and the ease of international travel you can fall in love, if you’re not already spoken for, at any time or place.
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 have handled so many, I understand there is a lot of “reality” that clients need to be aware of. In this article I would 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. 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.
Whilst I am an incurable romantic, US Immigration is not. US Immigration (USCIS) has a cynical attitude about marriage because they think that every one who marries an American is only doing so because the alien wants a green card and there is absolutely no love whatsoever involved. “How dare they?” you may ask. Unfortunately, in some countries women often referred to as “mail order brides” are so desperate to get out of their home country that they will do or say almost anything to hook an American citizen husband; it’s their Holy Grail. There are also many rackets, gangs, and syndicates, if you will, where for a fee upwards of $10,000 – $60,000 you can “buy an American husband / wife” who will go through a sham wedding and file immigration papers for you to get the alien their green card. So the question then becomes, with all the “true” love going around mixed in with all of fake marriages, how does USCIS decide which cases are genuine and which cases are fake? You guessed it; the position of USCIS is to treat every case as being fake until the documentation clearly proves otherwise.
Many people are naive enough to believe that if they just complete the forms then USCIS will simply process the case. Nothing could be further from the truth. Again, the position of USCIS is the same with any visa application; to take the view that EVERY answer on EVERY form is a LIE unless it is submitted with a third party document to prove or substantiate the entry on the form. If you say your name is Sid Smith, then present a birth certificate and current passport to prove it. If your name is Cheryl Smith, but it was Cheryl Jones before marriage, then you have to submit documentation from birth to present establishing all the changes. Add this requirement to two people who may have been married before, then you can begin to see how involved the documentation can be just to establish your own identity.
Proving the Genuineness of the Marriage or Relationship
How do two people claiming to be in love prove that they are actually in love rather than in contract to get a green card? Well, the genuine couple may have many phone bills showing hours on the phone to each other, or letters swearing their undying love, photos of themselves together with relatives, family and friends, airline tickets etc. Most couples would not even consider thinking that the submission of such evidence would be necessary, and fail to include it in their application.
As attorney’s we are familiar with USCIS practices therefore, although we appreciate that in some cases just completing the forms and submitting a few supporting documents might be enough to get through the initial scrutiny, (especially if the US Immigration Officer is in a good mood, has already made their fraud detection quota or it’s Friday and nearly time to go home), we have to prepare the case so well, so detailed, so robust, that even if the US Immigration officer was in a foul mood, that the case prepared by us would be the last case he’d want to pick a fight with. We prepare the best cases possible so that our clients get the smoothest passage through immigration. We’d rather put our clients through the rigor of making sure that everything about the case is expertly documented so that US Immigration officers are eager to stamp our clients cases as approved.
We have many clients come to us having tried to do it themselves and find themselves totally stressed out and in a mess. At that point they would have given anything to have paid a well-qualified attorney ensuring that everything was done right, first time. The most frustrating thing when USCIS picks on a genuine case is the delay this creates for the client. All of their plans can easily get screwed up and many things have to be re-organized until their case has been cleared by US Immigration.
So my advice is that although love is most definitely in the air, keep your feet on the ground and always hire an attorney to represent you even if you think your case is easy.
We Can Help
Whether your are currently engaged or already married to your significant other, contact our offices and we can help you determine the best path towards having your spouse here in the United States. Call us today or fill out the free consultation form on this page to schedule your free phone consultation. We look forward to hearing from you soon and guiding you through the Adjustment of Status process for you and your family.
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
401 Wilshire Boulevard, 12th Floor,
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.
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Specializing in the E2 Visa, EB1 Green Card, L-1A Visa and O1 Visa and K1 Visa Marriage-Based Immigration. Attorney Chris M. Ingram is dedicated to providing the very best in US Immigration legal representation. Enjoy our website.
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