This week’s #MythMonday asked:
Myth or Fact? Getting married while in immigration proceedings will mean increased scrutiny of your marriage.
The short answer: Fact!
Why It’s a Fact?
Well, think about it. It looks a little sketchy. You suddenly get married AFTER being placing into removal proceedings before an immigration judge. Marriage fraud is unfortunately a very common occurrence in US immigration. Marrying a US Citizen is sometimes the only option a person has to stay in the US legally. Many people are tempted to “find someone to marry” so that they can stay in the US. This is fraud. Getting married solely for the purpose of applying for an immigrant visa is a crime and you AND the US Citizen that you married can end up in prison and/or fined heavily if you are caught.
DO NOT GET MARRIED TO SOMEONE YOU DON’T REALLY WANT TO MARRY JUST TO GAIN AN IMMIGRATION BENEFIT!!!!
How is the process different for a person in removal proceedings?
For the most part, everything is the same when you apply for the marriage-based visa. You file the same forms and pay the same money. You still have to attend an interview with your spouse with an immigration officer at USCIS. Normally, you and your spouse will be interviewed together and your green card (Permanent Residence Status) application can be adjudicated at the same time.
If you are in removal proceedings, you and your spouse will be separated and asked questions to see if the answers are consistent. You cannot have your green card adjudicated at the same time as your marriage based petition. In this case, USCIS will determine if your marriage is legitimate and approve (or deny) your petition. Then, the immigration judge will determine if you are granted a green card.
Having an experienced licensed attorney during this process can help you tremendously. An attorney will be able to sit in on both interviews and make sure that the offices is asking questions consistently and that the questions asked are not too embarrassing, insulting or personal. You will also want to have an attorney to help you with the court proceedings. Cases are much more likely to win if they have an attorney representing them in court.
So, should I get married so my US citizen partner can petition for me?
That depends on your and your partner. If marriage was already in your future then you should absolutely get married. It will allow you to stay together in the United States. If you weren’t planning on marriage, but you are truly in love and the thought of separating from your partner is unbearable, then get married if you feel that is what is best for you as a couple.
The point is: if your marriage is based on love, it won’t matter how critical immigration is because your marriage is real and legitimate.
You might want that big fantasy wedding, and by all means you should, however, if you are in immediate danger of being deported getting married to a US citizen may be the best (or only) option to allow you to stay in the United States. Therefore, you may want to have a small quick ceremony and save the big wedding and reception for after you are granted permission to remain in the United States.
We Can Help You!
At Lacroix Ramos, we ALWAYS tell the client the whole truth about their options for obtaining legal status. We will not take money from a client that we know does not have a viable and genuine option for getting legal status. Even if that means we lose the sale and don’t get your money. If you need to know what options are available, call us at (914) 719-7570 and schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation with an attorney. You can also complete an intake form here, and we will call you to arrange a consultation. If we believe you have options, we will invite you to a full consultation where we can explain everything to you and your loved ones. If you do not have any viable options, we will tell you that also.