Family & Marriage Visas
Thinking about marrying a foreign national, bringing your fiancé(e) or family to the US?
Know all of your options!
If you are a US Citizen or Green Card holder and your spouse is from another country, we’d love to help you! The process of Petition for an Alien Relative (also known as your loved one) can require many different forms of proof. Our expertise makes this CTAprocess clear and manageable.
Similarly, if you are a US Citizen or Green Card holder, we can help you petition for your parents, children, and siblings to move to the US as permanent residents.
Adjustment of Immigration Status
Marriage can change your immigration status in many ways. If you are a conditional permanent resident, you can petition to adjust your immigration status and remove the conditions on your permanent resident status. This is done by filing an I-751 form with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). In order to do so, you must prove that you have entered into a valid, good faith marriage before your application can be granted.
The experienced immigration attorneys at Ray Law International have helped many permanent residents adjust their immigration status in order to successfully remove the conditions on their residency. With an attorney's guidance, you can reduce the chances of having your application denied, which will ultimately save you time, money, and heartache. We offer consultations by telephone, in person and via video conferencing. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
How to prove that your good faith marriage is valid
Every residency or citizenship application based upon marriage is subject to a strict review by USCIS officers. Applications that have strong evidence of a valid marriage or especially strong evidence of a valid marriage are more likely to be granted. As an applicant, it is important to understand what evidence will help your application. It is also important to understand the red flags that investigators are looking for when scrutinizing a marriage.
Documents used to prove a good faith marriage
There are a variety of different documents that can support the validity of your marriage, and these documents fall under several broad categories:
Engagement and Wedding Documents
Your engagement and wedding can be strong evidence that your marriage is valid. Newspaper announcements, formal invitations, gift registries, and other documents show investigators that you made your wedding known to friends and family. Receipts for caterers, florists, photographers, and other wedding vendors demonstrate that you also made a financial commitment to your wedding. All documentation of your engagement and wedding should clearly list both of your names.
Financial and Real Estate Records
Combining finances is an important way to demonstrate your commitment to your spouse. Joint checking and savings accounts show that the spouses trust one another with money. Joint credit cards and other financial services can serve as evidence of combined finances. Putting both spouses on the title to vehicles and other valuable property (such as jewelry) shows commitment, as does naming your spouse as the beneficiary on an insurance policy. The goal of using these documents as evidence is to demonstrate your financial commitment to your spouse.
Joint ownership of real estate is another way to demonstrate the validity of your marriage. Even if both spouses cannot be on the mortgage loan, they can - and should - both be named on the title to their property. If you and your spouse rent, be sure that both spouses are listed on the lease agreement. Again, even if one spouse cannot be the leaseholder for credit reasons, he or she can still be named as an occupant. This will demonstrate that you and your spouse do actually live together.
Aside from your financial commitments, USCIS investigators want to see that you have made social commitments to your spouse. Photographs can demonstrate the time you have spent together. Plane tickets can prove that you travel together, and this is especially important if one spouse traveled to the other’s home country to meet family and friends. Social media is a great way to document your public commitment to one another. Your accounts will also have clear documentation of the dates and times of your posts, which allows you to prove the length of time that you and your spouse have been together.
Some social evidence is more formal. Your friends and family members can issue legal affidavits to be submitted with your application. While these affidavits can be persuasive, it is often candid photographs and social media posts that truly capture the genuine nature of a marriage. Children are another formal sign of your commitment to your marriage. Not having children will not necessarily hurt your application, but having children with a spouse is a strong sign that you are committed to one another for many years to come.
Warning signs that can trigger an investigation of your marriage
It is not enough to simply provide strong evidence of your commitment to your spouse. You should also be aware of the warning signs that investigators are trained to look for when determining the validity of a marriage. USCIS issues an Adjudicator’s Field Manual with specific criteria that indicate fraud in a marriage. These include:
A large disparity of age between the spouses
The spouses cannot speak each other’s language
There is a “vast difference in cultural and ethnic background”
The spouses’ families and/or friends are unaware of the marriage
The marriage was arranged by a third party
The marriage occurred immediately before or after one spouse’s receipt of notification to depart the United States
Discrepancies in statements on questions for which a husband and wife should have common knowledge
The spouses have not lived together since they were married
The petitioning spouse has filed previous petitions on behalf of foreign nationals, especially prior spouses who were also foreign nationals
If any of these conditions are present in your marriage, it is important to consult with an experienced immigration attorney prior to filing your I-751 petition. The issues can be addressed in an application to prevent them from disqualifying you for a status change. However, they must be carefully addressed in the right way, and an experienced attorney will know how best to accomplish this delicate task.
Experienced immigration attorneys to help you adjust your immigration status
Obtaining lawful immigration status is often one of the most important legal rights a person will fight for over the course of his or her lifetime. Fortunately, you don’t have to face this daunting process alone. The experienced immigration attorneys at Ray Law International can help you prepare a strong petition and address any potential objections to give you the best chances for success. Email email@example.com to schedule your consultation.
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