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Immigration FAQ’s

Eligibility Requirements for a Spouse

In spousal petitions, the marriage must be legal, which means that all prior marriages must have been legally terminated and the marriage must have been legal in the place where the couple got married. There obviously can be no fraud, which means that you cannot marry just to get the immigration benefit. There is also a 2-year conditional green card in marriages less than 2 years old at the time the beneficiary gets their green card. The condition must be removed by I-751, either by the couple jointly, or in the event of divorce it can be done independently with more proof of bona fide marriage, or proof of abuse during the marriage.

When can I Obtain Family Based Visa?

The most current US Department of State “Visa Bulletin” will show how long people with preference relatives will have to wait to be able to apply for a green card based on their country of birth. Again, for immediate relatives, there is no priority date issue, which means that green cards are immediately available.

Advantages and Limitations of Immediate and Preference Relative Petitions

The advantage of the immediate relative petition is obviously the speed in which one may obtain their green card. Also, those who entered the country lawfully, but have fallen out of status may still apply for a green card, but this is not the case for those who are beneficiaries of preference based relative petitions.

While it can take years before the beneficiary of a preference relative petition can finally apply for a green card, the advantage is that preference relatives can bring their derivatives and children with them.

Do I Need An Attorney to Help With My Family-Based Immigration Case?

Although many people do manage to work their way through the family based visa process by themselves, many others decide that an attorney would be useful. An attorney can ensure that all necessary documentation is submitted correctly and can prepare the petition and green card application more quickly. The process of putting together the applications is time-consuming, and obtaining a law firm for assistance makes the process more convenient.

In marriage-based petitions where the beneficiary lives in the US, an interview in front of an immigration officer is to be expected. Having an attorney present at the interview can be a great benefit. In a marriage interview, the only individual who may be present other than the sponsor and beneficiary is a licensed attorney. An attorney can keep track of all questions and answers that happen at the interview. Having a written record of the questions and answers is useful in the event that the immigration officer calls the sponsor and beneficiary for a secondary interview known as a “fraud detection interview.”  An attorney can assist with any problems that come up in the case and help to resolve them.


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