7 quick tips for the green card marriage interview

The marriage immigration interview

As an immigration lawyer in Las Vegas, I often see cases of couples interested in marriage immigration who limit their focus to just documentary evidence or paperwork not realizing the importance of the marriage green card interview. Some immigration officers are more concerned with an oral examination of the couple under oath where the couple is asked to answer questions in real time. Even with extensive documentary evidence of the good faith of the marriage, the immigration officer interviewing you may still put more weight and credibility on what she learns from the couple’s oral testimony at an adjustment of status interview.

What questions will they ask at the green card interview?

Any question that is material and relevant to the marriage relationship and your eligibility for a green card is fair game. As there is no magic list of immigration marriage interview questions, it is important to seek legal advice and prepare for the green card marriage interview.

marriage green card

7 tips for marriage immigration interview success

Arrive early. Thirty minutes early is good. If you have never been to the USCIS Service Office, do a test-run the week before at a similar time to the scheduled interview time to find out about traffic and parking.

Bring originals. Be sure to bring originals and copies of all documents submitted with the application to adjust status including your marriage certificate, divorce decree, recent pay stubs, and passport.

Wedding rings.Remember to wear your wedding rings to the interview. The presence or absence of this real piece of evidence is relevant.

Photos. Bring your albums with pictures of the marriage ceremony, reception, trips and social outings with friends and family to show the interviewing officer. A picture is worth a thousand words. But choose pictures carefully. Avoid any photo that is culturally offensive or otherwise inappropriate.

Bring your house keys. Do you each have a copy of the same house or apartment key?

Cell-phones. Bring your cell phones with your spouses number on speed dial. With the widespread use of smartphone and social media the immigration officer may wish to view your social media postings from your smart phone. Of course you have the right to refuse such as request and terminate the interview but the Department of Homeland Security may make a decision based on the evidence it has. The decision may not be the one who want.

Relax. Act affectionately and naturally with each other. Do not pretend that the marriage is perfect. A real one never is.

Conclusion

Marriage immigration interviews are crucial. Still immigration interview preparation is an area that many often neglect.

The best marriage green card interview tip of all is to get legal advice early from a competent legal professional because your future together in the United States and your ability to get or keep a job may depend on it. Also remember to be forthright and honest in answering questions as you are under oath.

If you are interested in obtaining a green card by marriage and have questions, call us to schedule a consultation at 702-423-2721 with an experienced green card attorney. We would be happy to sit down with you and your spouse to discuss your special situation.

Gary Goodin, Immigration Attorney Las Vegas Nevada

Good Faith Marriage

Evidence of Bona Fide Marriage

One of the most common green card marriage questions is about evidence of bona fide marriage. What evidence do you use to show that your marriage to a US citizen or permanent resident is real and genuine?

It is not enough that you are in love and you believe the marriage is real; you must prove it to an immigration officer who may be skeptical. A legal marriage to a United States citizen or permanent resident alone does not entitle foreign nationals to get or keep permanent residence. The marriage must be a bona fide marriage. A bona fide marriage for immigration simply is a marriage for love and a shared life together.

There are several ways to prove a bona fide marriage. In addition to a wedding certificate, the following documents are examples of what an immigrant spouse or petitioner may offer as proof of a good faith marriage. The list is just a general guide. The list is not legal advice about documents for green card marriage that you should use or whether your case has any legal merit. Even a good faith marriage alone may not be enough if you are inadmissible and an immigration waiver is unavailable.

Failure to prove that your marriage is in good faith can have serious immigration consequences for you; we firmly recommend that you consult an immigration attorney for legal advice about your case to avoid a denial or delay of your spousal petition or green card.

Bona fide marriage

Documents for a green card through marriage

The documents you can offer as evidence of a bona fide marriage include but are not limited to:

1. Wedding pictures – showing the couple together and with family and friends. You may also use wedding invitations as well. It is a common mistake to include only photos of the wedding.
2. Notices and pictures for the wedding shower, if any.
3. Photos of you together and with family and friends (holidays, vacation, in a hospital, etc.). Chose pictures that show proper body language between the two of you and from family and friends.
4. Birth Certificate of each child born to the marriage. A child is strong, irrefutable evidence of a shared life. Pictures of the couple with their children (births, birthdays, baptism, or other traditional celebrations )
5. Personal statements in which petitioning spouse describe, in great detail, how you met, why you got married, and the feelings that you had or still have towards each other and why.
6. Bona Fide Marriage Affidavits (statements signed before a notary public) from people with personal knowledge of the marriage and who can give details of the relationship between the immigrant spouse and the U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident petitioner. You should accompany the affidavit with a photo ID of the person making the statement.
7. Letters received from spouse while dating, apart, or during any other stage of the relationship.
8. Letters, cards, and invitations to the couple from family and friends. Even letters received at the same residence may be used. The letter does not always have to be addressed to both spouses.
9. A rental agreement for house or apartment with the names of the couple on it, or a letter from the building manager or owner proving that the couple occupies the premises.
10. Tax returns that show taxes filed jointly.
11. Papers with the names of both immigrant and spouse that show joint ownership of a car, a house, furniture, or other assets together.
12. Insurance documents that show coverage of each other by spouse’s insurance plan.
13. Bills, such as cable TV, internet, electricity, water, gas, cell phone, or others that show both names on it.
14. For women, a government-issued ID card that indicates the use of spouse’s last name. A woman does not however have to use her husband last name.
15. Joint bank statements – as with having a child, having shared bank accounts is strong, evidence of a bona fide marriage because it indicates trust between the couple. The bank account statement (the entire statement, not just the first page) should have activity relating to bother parties. A joint checking account with no funds, no activity or activity that merely relates to one spouse may not be persuasive.
16. Email and phone records showing the frequency and duration of  communication between the couple before or after the marriage
17. Any other documents that show trust, a shared life and burden of living.

Get legal advice before the marriage

Again this is just a general guide. For legal advice in your marriage immigration case, please consult an experienced immigration attorney before your marriage. If you have any questions contact Goodin Law P.A., immigration lawyers in Las Vegas at 702-423-2721 or via the Contact Us form to request a confidential immigration consultation.

Birth certificate not available for green card

No birth certificate for green card?

Sometimes clients do not have certain civil documents such as birth or marriage certificates, to prove that they are eligible for visas or green cards. These types of case need more care and skill. Here is a brief discussion of the issue using a birth certificate as an example.

A visa applicant is responsible for bringing the original or certified copies of required civil documents to a visa interview to prove his or her eligibility for a visa. The USCIS may need a petitioner or beneficiary to send photocopies of the original or certified copies with a petition or application. Sometimes however birth or marriage certificates or other required documents (e.g. court documents, police records) are non-existent or cannot be obtained from a government agency in certain countries.

Reasons for non-availability

Sometimes a marriage or a birth is never registered. Registration of births was voluntary in India before 1970. War and civil unrest may destroy government archives (e.g. Liberia). In countries such as Cambodia, some birth and marriage records for certain periods are simply unavailable.

Proving birth and marriage by certificate of non-availability and affidavits

The US Consulate or USCIS will presume that an applicant who fails to produce or send required documents is ineligible for a visa or other benefit (e.g. a green card). The good news however is that the applicant can still prove eligibility using secondary evidence.

Certificate of non-availability

If a birth or marriage certificate is unavailable, an applicant must offer proof by obtaining a certificate of unavailability from the government agency where such documents originate unless the State Department recognizes that documents of that type are generally unavailable. The State Department Country Reciprocity Schedule indicates what type of required country documents are unavailable for particular countries. 

 

Non availability of birth certificate
Baptismal Record – Unavailable Birth Certificate
Secondary evidence of birth when birth certificate unavailable for green card

In addition to obtaining a certificate of non-availability (also called certificate of unavailability) the applicant must also bring or send secondary evidence of the event such as;

  • a passport ,
  • church records,
  • baptismal records,
  • adoption decrees,
  • hospital records,
  • school records, and
  • affidavits.

The applicant should offer two separate affidavits to prove a birth or marriage.  The affiant should be a person who was alive at the time of the birth or marriage and has personal knowledge of the event. The affiant may also be someone who can testify to family history.

The contents of affidavit of birth

The affidavit of birth or marriage should state

  1.  The full name of the affiant
  2. The date and place of birth of the affiant
  3. The affiant’s relationship to the applicant
  4. Full information about the event – when and where it took place
  5. How the affiant is familiar with the event (e.g. birth or marriage).

Additionally the affiant must sign the affidavit before a notary. For foreign language documents submitted to USCIS a certified translation into English must also be submitted.

Conclusion

In some family based cases involving non availability of birth certificates, the USCIS or the State Department may require a blood test to prove the claimed relationship. If you have any questions please speak to a qualified immigration attorney. If you need help with an immigration application call us at (702) 423-2721 to schedule a lawyer immigration consultation to discuss your individual needs.

What is K3 Visa?

The K3 Visa

As a Las Vegas immigration lawyer I often see cases where a US citizen is petitioning for a spouse living abroad and become concerned about the time it will take to bring the spouse to the United States. The k3 visa might be one option that the US citizen might consider. K3 visa waiting times can be shorter than waiting times for I-130 Petitions. However in practice K3 waiting times can be shorter or longer than posted USCIS processing times; and there is no guarantee. The processing times for some I-130 Petitions can also be shorter than posted processing times. Tactically though a K3 visa petition is something to consider if a married couple is very concerned about long waiting times.

Las Vegas Immigration LawyerPurpose of K3 visa

The LIFE Act of 2000, allows an alien who

  1. has a valid marriage to a U.S. citizen (husband or wife) and who is
  2. the beneficiary on Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, and
  3. the beneficiary of an approved petition on Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e),

admission into the United States as a K3 non-immigrant to adjust to immigrant status (get a green card) while inside the United States. The K3 visa is different from the K1 visa in that the K1 alien is merely engaged to marry a U.S. Citizen and is seeking admission as a non-immigrant K1 to get married in the United States and adjust to immigrant status (green card).

Benefit of K3 Visa

  •  Avoids long wait abroad. Prior to the passage of the LIFE Act the spouse of a U.S. citizen who resides abroad had to wait for the length of time it took to process an immigrant visa which could be a year or more in some cases.
  • Derivative  K 4 status for children. The dependent children of the spouse of a U.S. citizen with an approved I-129F petition, who are accompanying or following to join their K 3 parent get admission on K 4 derivative status.
  • Admission for 2 years.  K 3 non-immigrants are initially admitted for a 2 year period. Extensions of stay are available for K3’s whose adjustment of status is not complete.
  • Employment in the United States. K-3/K-4 aliens must apply to USCIS for a document evidencing employment authorization using Form I-765.

End of K3 visa status

Termination of K3/K4 status. K3/K4 status automatically terminates 30 days after

  1. The denial or revocation of the Form I-130 petition;
  2. The denial or revocation of the immigrant visa application (Forms DS-230) filed by the alien;
  3. The denial or revocation of the alien’s application for adjustment of status (Form I-485) to that of lawful permanent residence;
  4. The K-3 spouse’s divorce from the U.S. citizen (final judgment);
  5. The marriage of an alien in K-4 status.

The K-4 status also ends with the denial of any of these petitions or applications for a K-3 parent. Nevertheless, a denial or revocation of a petition or application is not effective unless you have exhausted the administrative appeal applicable to your application or petition.

Conclusion

K3 visa applications can take unexpected twists and turns. Put the matter into the hands of a knowledgeable and experienced immigration lawyer. If you have any questions call us at 702-423-2721 to schedule a consultation to determine potential eligibility for the K3 visa.

Gary Goodin, Las Vegas Immigration Lawyer at Goodin Law P.A. 702-423-2721.