U.S. Immigration based on marriage

Generally, a spouse may petition for the residence of the other if that spouse resides in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident or citizen.  In order to be considered as a basis for residence the marriage between the parties must be valid according to the law in the place of marriage and not in violation of U.S. public policy.  Also, for those who have been married more than once, the previous divorce must be valid in order to apply for a current spouse.  In situations of marriage, there is usually a stricter burden placed upon an alien recipient of a residence petition to show that the marriage was valid.

 Petitioners can support their requests for alien residence with documents that support a joint living arrangement; such as, joint ownership of property; leases showing joint tenancy; joint bank accounts or investment accounts; birth certificates of children; affidavits from friends and family and other documentation showing the length of time the parties lived together.

 If the marriage is under two years old, the alien enters as a conditional resident in most cases. The alien spouse must petition to become a permanent resident within 90 days of his 2 year anniversary.  A conditional resident must ask the USCIS to waive the conditions on his residence based upon his valid marriage.  The USCIS may examine the validity of the marriage to determine if it was entered into for the sole purpose of obtaining a visa.

 It is the marriage at it’s inception that is important to the decision of residence related requests.  The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) cannot deny an application based upon marriage solely on grounds that the parties don’t live together.  In certain cases, even death may not result in termination of an INS petition to obtain residence.  In fact, widows and widowers of U.S. citizens who file for lawful permanent residence within 2 years of the citizen’s death may be eligible for residence if they were married for at least 2 years at the time of the citizen’s death and have not remarried.

 This is a very important area in immigration law.  I am confident that I can help you. Contact me, Evan D. Frankel at 1-800-394-3826.  Know your rights.

The content of this article is provided for informational purposes only. If you need legal assistance for an immigration issue, please consult with Evan D Frankel, or an Immigration Lawyer in your area to discuss the details of your case.