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!

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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!

If You or Your Spouse “Entered Without Inspection,” There May Still Be Options!

Border and IDs

All noncitizens entering the U.S. are required to present themselves to a USCIS immigration officer for inspection.  This inspection meant that they will be assessed and that they must demonstrate the right to enter the country based on approval obtained prior to entry in the U.S.  If you do not have an approved means for entering the United States, then the Customs and Border Patrol or USCIS officer may refuse entry to you.

If you have entered without inspection (EWI) and without the proper documentation, there are a limited number of legal immigration options available to you.  If you or your spouse EWI, that means that you do not have legal immigration status in the United States.   That also means that you cannot file to change or adjust your status, as you do not have a legal status to begin with.  It is not possible to adjust status even if you marry a U.S. citizen or have U.S. citizen parents or children that will petition for them. However, there are a few exceptions that might allow an adjustment of status. The two most common are the LIFE Act and a waiver implemented in new immigration law as of 2012.

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

What is Conditional Permanent Residence Based on a Marriage Green Card?

jumping celebration couple

Conditional Permanent Residence Based on a Marriage Green Card

A permanent residence status is conditional if it is based on a marriage that was less than two years old on the day someone was given permanent residence.  The immigration status is conditional because USCIS wants proof that the marriage was not just to evade the immigration laws of the United States. To remove these conditions you must file a “Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence” with USCIS.  Your Immigration Angel can help you with removing conditions.  Contact us today for a free consultation!

Please note that  if a marriage is already more than two years old when you either arrived at the U.S. border with an immigrant visa or when you received approval for a green card, then you will receive permanent residency and won’t have to worry about the status expiring.  The actual card will need to be replaced once every ten years.

Do you have a Biometric Appointment Notice?  Please check yours; some notices were issued in error!

ASC notice whitened

Your Biometric Appointment is a very important part of your Green Card and Immigration Application Process.  Recently, USCIS erroneously scheduled some people for redundant Application Support Center (ASC) biometric appointment.  If you have received more than one biometric appointment notices, you should check yours.  The document is called “Form I-797C.”

You may have already attended an ASC biometric appointment, and then later received a second appointment notice for the same application type.  If so,  please call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 to confirm that you do not need to return to the ASC to have your biometrics collected again.  Please note that if you have not yet attended your ASC appointment and received more than one ASC appointment notice, you should attend just one appointment but take both ASC notices to that appointment.