Do I Have to Prove My Financial Ability to Get a U.S. Green Card?

guy counting pennies

For immigration benefits adjudicated by USCIS, whether a person is likely to become a public charge is often considered when someone is trying to become a permanent resident and obtain a U.S. green card.  It is also considered when someone applies for certain non-immigrant or other temporary benefits, for example by extending non-immigrant status within the United States.

According to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), if you are seeking admission to the United States or seeking to adjust status to become a lawful permanent resident, you are inadmissible if  “at the time of application for admission or adjustment of status, you are likely at any time to become a public charge.”  If an individual is inadmissible, admission to the United States or adjustment of status is not granted. Public charge does not apply in naturalization proceedings.

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Financial Support and Obtaining Your Marriage Green Card

Fountain Pen on Ledger

U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs, or green card holders) are the only U.S. residents with the rights to obtain permanent residence or green cards for their spouses.  Anyone who immigrates to the United States through a petition filed by a family member must be able to prove that he or she has financial support from the family member in the U.S.  The financial sponsor must file an Affidavit of Support.  An Affidavit of Support is a form that a qualified individual (a sponsor) files on your behalf when you are applying for a green card through your marriage to a U.S. Citizen or LPR spouse.  The purpose of the form is to show that you have the financial means to live in the United States without needing welfare or financial benefits from the U.S. government.  The law requires that the sponsor demonstrate that he or she is able to assist you financially.  The sponsor must show that he or she has an annual income of not less than 125 percent of the federal poverty level.  Failure to file a qualifying Affidavit of Support showing sufficient income levels with your Adjustment of Status makes you inadmissible as a public charge.  USCIS will not allow anyone to immigrate if they do not have financial means to live in the U.S. and will reject anyone who will become or is currently a “public charge.”  If you have any questions regarding your marriage green card application or Affidavit of Support, please feel free to contact Your Immigration Angel!

Did You Enter Without Inspection? YOU May Be Eligible for the LIFE Act 245(i) Exception!

family immigration pic

Noncitizen spouses who have entered the United States without inspection may still be eligible for immigration benefits under section 245(i) of the LIFE Act.  Many people who have either never had valid immigration status in the U.S. or who have fallen out of valid status are allowed to apply for adjustment of status in the U.S. if they pay a penalty fee.  Without this type of waiver, many people who do not have valid status in the U.S. would be unable to seek a visa while in the United States.  Without this waiver, they would be required to seek their immigrant visa from within their home country.  However, due to the status violation, they also would be barred from reentering the U.S. for at least three years.  In many cases, they may even be banned from re-entering the U.S. for ten years!

To be eligible for this waiver, you must:

  • have been present in the U.S. before December 18, 2000, and
  • have either filed a family or employment based residency petition on or before April 30, 2001, or you must have been the derivative beneficiary of such a petition.

Even if your initial petition was not successful, but was filed on or before April 30, 2001, you may still be eligible for the 245(i) waiver.   Under certain circumstances you may apply again for residency through another family petition.   Immigration law is one of the most complicated areas of law, with a constantly evolving and changing laws and regulations.  At Your Immigration Angel, we are committed to staying on top of the most recent changes to help you better follow your immigration path! Let us guide you on your path and assist you in achieving your immigration goals!

Do You Know the Limitations of the K-3 or K-4 Spouse Visa?

kissing couple with kid

While the K-3 and K-4 visa offers many benefits, there are some other considerations to think about, depending on your personal situation.  For example, did you know that even though an immigrant visa is immediately available when a K-3 Petition for Alien Relative reaches the Department of State, but then your spouse’s children are no longer eligible for K-3/K-4 nonimmigrant status?  In that situation, the children must immigrate as lawful permanent residents.  If the K-4 visa holder does not have an approved Petition for Alien Relative at the Department of State at that time, he or she will be ineligible to immigrate with the spouse of the USC.

It is advisable that the U.S. citizen petitioner file a separate green card petition on the child’s behalf concurrently with the green card petition that is filed for the spouse.     While there is no requirement that a separate application needs to be filed for the child’s petition, it is advisable if a K-4 visa is desired.

K-3 or K-4 nonimmigrant visa holders are only admitted for a 2-year period.  A K-3 or K-4 nonimmigrant visa holder may apply for an extension of status in 2-year increments as long as the marriage-based green card visa petition or a corresponding application for adjustment of status or visa application is still pending adjudication.  A K-4’s authorized stay automatically expires when the K3’s status expires.

Are you Eligible for a Family Based United States Green Card?

Family_Portrait

Relatives of U.S. Citizens can obtain U.S. Green Cards!   If you have a U.S. Citizen relative and fall under any of the below categories, it is likely that you are eligible for a U.S. Green Card!

  • Spouse
  • Unmarried Child, Under the age of 21
  • Unmarried Stepchild, Under the age of 21
  • Adopted Child, Under the age of 18
  • Unmarried Child, Over the age of 21
  • Parent or Step-parent
  • Married Son or Daughter
  • Brother or Sister

Even people who are relatives of U.S. Green Card holders may be eligible for a U.S. Green Card themselves.  If you have a relative who holds a valid U.S. Green Card, and you fall under any of the below categories, it is likely that you may also be eligible for a U.S. Green Card.

  • Spouse
  • Unmarried Child, Under the age of 21
  • Unmarried Stepchild, Under the age of 21
  • Adopted Child, Under the age of 18
  • Unmarried Child, Over the age of 21

If you have any questions about your eligibility to obtain a U.S. Green Card, please feel free to contact Your Immigration Angel for a free consultation.

Top 5 Reasons a Marriage Based Green Card Application is Denied by USCIS

broken heart with band aid

Obtaining a marriage based green card may be a dream come true for many couples.  However, this sweet dream can instead become a nightmare if you or your spouse’s green card application is denied.   Although romantic and comedic movies have been made about how fun and easy it is to obtain a marriage based green card, that is often far from the truth.  In reality, immigration law is a complex field, and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services must adhere to strict rules and regulations.  There are many reasons a marriage based green card application may be rejected, but the following are some of the most common causes of denial.

  1. Incorrect Green Card  Application, Wrong Fee, Incorrect Mailing Address for USCIS
  2. USCIS Considers Your Marriage a “Sham” or Fraudulent Marriage
  3. Lack of Financial Security to Become a U.S. Citizen
  4. Misunderstanding Your U.S. Green Card Eligibility
  5. USCIS Determines Ineligibility Based on Crimes, Previous Marriages

If you have any questions or concerns about whether your marriage green card application or if your marriage will be questioned by immigration officials when you apply for a U.S. green card, feel free to contact us today!

Interested in Obtaining a Marriage Based Green Card?  Would YOUR Relationship Pass the Test?  

heart flag and flowers

It’s almost Valentine’s Day!  What could be more romantic than ensuring that you and your spouse can live together in the United States, happily ever after?  Marriage green cards are a great immigration option for many immigrants who have married U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.  But along with a number of other eligibility requirements (see our post on eligibility) your relationship must be able to withstand the scrutiny of USCIS!

USCIS needs to be assured that you are in a bona fide marriage.  When two people get married and intend to establish a life together as spouses, the marriage is bona fide.   A marriage entered into for the sole purpose of getting a green card is not bona fide.  It’s called a “sham” or “fraudulent” marriage, and the USCIS tries to uncover these fake marriages and will refuse to issue green cards to people in a marriage that does not appear to be bona fide.  USCIS is very strict in determining whether a marriage is bona fide.  You will be asked many questions during the course of your application process and you will have to provide extensive documentation to show that you are establishing a life together.   How can you prove that your relationship is bona fide?   Continue reading