If you are a foreign national married to a U.S. Citizen, you can qualify for permanent residence. To qualify for permanent residence based on marriage to a U.S. Citizen you must be able to show the following:
1. Proof of a Legal Marriage – In most cases this is done by providing a copy of a valid marriage certificate. If either spouse has been previously married, you must show that all previous marriages have ended through annulment, divorce or death.
2. The Petitioning Spouse must be a U.S. Citizen – Proof must be submitted that the petitioning spouse is a citizen of the United States. This can be done through a birth certificate, valid U.S. passport, naturalization certificate or other acceptable proof of U.S. citizenship.
3. Bona Fides of the Marriage – The burden is on the petitioner to prove that the marriage was entered into for love and not for immigration benefits. This can be done through the submission of the following types of evidence:
- Joint ownership of property;
- Joint lease/rental agreement;
- Joint bank account;
- Birth certificates of child(ren) born to the married couple;
- Affidavits from third parties that have knowledge of the legitimacy of the marriage; and
- Any other relevant documentation to show that the marriage is legitimate.
4. Ability of Financial Support – To sponsor someone for permanent residence evidence must be submitted with Form I-864 to establish that the petitioner (U.S. Citizen Spouse) has the financial ability to support the household and the intending immigrant. Financial support can be shown through U.S. employment or through assets that can be readily converted into cash. The petitioner must show assets or income above the federal poverty guideline for the household size. If the petitioner is not able to show their ability to provide financial support at or above the federal poverty guidelines a co-sponsor must be obtained. Failure to meet the financial support requirement will result in denial of the petition.
The process of petitioning for a spouse can be done from inside or outside the United States. The petition process is complex and must be done properly with attention to detail. Failure to follow the process with exactness can result in processing delays, additional expense and even denials. We understand the sensitive nature of this process and the importance of properly filing each petition with attention to detail and with adequate supporting evidence. It is our experience that otherwise approvable green card petitions are delayed or denied because the proper procedures are not followed. This leads to increased wait times, unnecessary expenses and unneeded stress. It is best to work with an experienced immigration lawyer early on in the process. We work with each client to compile adequate supporting evidence, complete all necessary Forms and only file approvable petitions. We take the worry out of the petition process.
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