Conditional Green Cards: Proving That You Married in Good Faith - DuPage County Immigration Attorneys | Mevorah Law Offices LLC
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Conditional Green Cards: Proving That You Married in Good Faith

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IL immigration lawyerIf you are granted a green card based on marriage to a U.S. citizen, and your marriage is less than two years old, your green card will be conditional for two years after issuance. In order to obtain an unconditional 10-year green card, you must file an application either jointly with your spouse or individually if you are no longer married for legitimate reasons. The conditional period is intended to deter sham marriages made primarily to obtain immigration benefits. This gives U.S. immigration authorities more opportunity to confirm that your marriage was entered into in good faith.

How to Prove You Married in Good Faith

As part of your green card application, both you and your spouse may be questioned in depth by a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) official. You must convince the USCIS interviewer that you entered into the marriage in good faith, intending to live as husband and wife, and not just for immigration purposes.

To differentiate a sham marriage from a marriage made in good in faith, USCIS interviewers consider a long list of factors. You can expect to be questioned about these indicators:

  • A large difference in age between you and your spouse.
  • An inability to converse in your spouse’s language, or vice versa.
  • A vast difference in your cultural and ethnic background.
  • Which of your family and friends know about your marriage, and if you have not told them, why not.
  • If your marriage was arranged by a third party, how did that come about.
  • Whether you are a friend to someone in your spouse’s family or vice versa, as family friends are sometimes asked to marry for immigration purposes.
  • The timing of your marriage, if it happened right after you received a notice to appear in immigration court or right before you were required to depart the U.S., for example, if you were in the U.S. on a temporary student visa.
  • Where you have been living since marriage, as failure to live with your spouse is considered an indicator of a sham marriage.
  • Discrepancies in your and your spouse’s answers to questions about which a husband and wife should have common knowledge.
  • The existence of previous petitions that your U.S. citizen spouse has filed for an alien spouse’s immigration.

If any of the above “indicators” of a sham marriage apply to you, you and your spouse may be questioned more thoroughly than other couples. As long as you provide reasonable answers to all of these “indicator” questions, your marriage should be deemed bona fide.

The more documentation you submit to prove that your marriage was entered in good faith, the better. Examples of such documents include:

  • A rental contract for your home or documentation related to the purchase of a home that includes both of your names.
  • Bank records that show both of your names on a checking account.
  • Bills that show both your name and your spouse’s, such as credit cards, utilities, or vehicle loan statements.
  • Income tax returns that show your status as married filing jointly.
  • Affidavits testifying to the validity of your marriage from at least two U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.

Consult a DuPage County Immigration Lawyer

If you will be applying for a green card based on marriage, work with a knowledgeable Chicago immigration lawyer to ensure that your application clearly demonstrates that you have a bona fide marriage and that you are fully prepared for your USCIS interviews. Call Mevorah Law Offices LLC at 630-932-9100.



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