One of the many ways to acquire a green card and a path towards citizenship is through marriage. There are two basic types of marriage based visas, the fiancé visa and the spouse visa, each with their own eligibility requirements. The United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) is well aware of the potential for fraud with marriage based visas, so demonstrating that your relationship is bona fide presents some hurdles. That’s why it’s important to work with an experienced Massachusetts and Rhode Island marriage based visa attorney that can guide you through the process.
A fiancé visa, officially called a K-1 visa, allows a foreign national that intends to marry a United States citizen to enter the United States for the purpose of marriage. It’s important to note that K-1 is technically a non-immigrant visa that doesn’t include a path to citizenship, but it can be followed up with an adjustment of status to permanent resident after the marriage takes place. In order to qualify for a fiance visa, the following requirements must be met:
- Free to marry with the intention of marrying within ninety days of arrival in the United States;
- Meet the requirements set forth in the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act of 2005 that are intended to reduce fraud and abuse, whether you actually used a broker or not;
- Having met in person within two years of filing the petition unless doing so would violate strict customs or would result in extreme hardship.
Fiancé visas can be complicated to file and errors can result in costly rejections and delays. That’s why it’s important to work with an experienced Massachusetts and Rhode Island marriage based visa attorney that can ensure that your application is properly prepared and that all the necessary supporting documents are included. The Botelho Group prides itself in helping people succeed with their dreams of becoming American residents and citizens.
The first step in obtaining a spouse visa is to meet the legal qualifications required for a spouse under United States immigration law. The marriage can be traditional or same sex, but it must be either a religious or civil marriage, legal in the country where it took place. The first step is to apply for a Conditional Resident (CR1) visa if you’ve been married for less than two years, or a (IR) visa if you’ve married for longer than two years. (The K3 visa has become obsolete, replaced with the CR1 which is now considered a more practical way to achieve the same goals.) A spouse visa provides the successful recipient with a green card and a path towards citizenship.
Preparing For The Marriage Green Card Interview
The most important step in the marriage green card process is an interview that’s conducted by an USCIS official in the United States or by a State Department official abroad. You’ll be asked many questions about your life as a couple and your future plans in order to assess whether your marriage is bonafede or a fraudulent attempt to obtain a green card. Red flags such as an age gap, different addresses found online for the spouses than supplied on the application, different cultural backgrounds or numerous prior marriages may trigger a higher level of scrutiny. If fraud is suspected, you may be interviewed separately so that your answers can be compared to see if there are inconsistencies. Prior to the interview, it’s helpful to discuss important dates for events in your history as a couple. Be sure to collect documents to bring to the interview, including photos of your life as a couple, joint property deeds, birth certificates of your children, etc. After the interview, there are several different possible outcomes:
- You’ll be informed that your application has been approved;
- You’ll be asked for additional evidence;
- You’ll be told that you application will be reviewed and that you’ll receive an answer at a later date;
- You’ll be scheduled for a second interview or
- You’ll be denied as clearly illegible, (but this is rare.)
You can greatly increase the likelihood of the success of your application by hiring the Massachusetts and Rhode Island marriage based visa attorneys at the Botelho Law Group.
Joseph F. Botelho, Esq.
BOTELHO LAW GROUP
Attorneys At Law
901 Eastern Ave.
Fall River, MA 02723