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Marriage-Based Green Card Lawyer in NJ

New Jersey Immigration Attorney

Have you recently married a U.S. citizen or permanent resident? You may be able to obtain a green card through a process called Adjustment of Status without leaving the US if you entered legally regardless how long ago that entry took place. However, before applying it is important to seek the advise and assistance of a New Jersey immigration lawyer to determine whether you qualify.

There are many requirements that must be met to obtain a green card through marriage and missing just one could ruin your chances of success and lead to deportation. My office has processed over a thousand of these cases and we have a 98.5% success rate. Give us a call to discuss your situation do not do it alone. Your future in the U.S. is at risk!

What to expect when you make the choice to hire our office to assist you:

When you are ready to discuss your Marriage based case give us a call or email our office to schedule a meeting in which we will review your eligibility for the green card. You will find that we are responsive to your calls and will answer all your questions. We will provide you with a document checklist noting what will be need to begin processing your case. We will also provide you with a login and password so you can immediately access our secure immigration software to track our progress while we complete and file the necessary documents with immigration. Thereafter, USCIS will review the package and schedule a fingerprint appointment and interview to determine the validity of the marriage.

Requirements for Marriage Based Green Cards

Family reunification has historically been the principal policy underlying U.S. immigration law. The Immigration and Nationality Act allows U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (green card holders) to sponsor the immigration of foreigners to the United States based upon family relationships. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will issue a visa (green card) after they approve a petition filed by certain family members. After the petition is approved the visa may be issued in as little as 90 days or as long as 25 years depending upon which of the below categories apply and depending upon the immigrant’s home country the immigrant applicant is from. However, not all family relationships serve as a basis to apply for Lawful Permanent Resident status.

A U.S. Citizen may file a petition on behalf of his/her:

  1. Husband, wife, or child under the age of 21 (immediate relative);
  2. A parent if the U.S. citizen is at least 21 years of age (immediate relative);
  3. An unmarried child over the age of 21 and their children (first preference);
  4. Married child of any age and their children (third preference);
  5. Brother or sister if the U.S. citizen is at least 21 years old and their spouses and children (forth preference)

A Lawful Permanent Resident can file the petition on behalf of his/her:

  1. Husband or wife, and unmarried children under the age of 21 (second preference A);
  2. Unmarried child over the age of 21 (second preference B).

The Immediate Relative category, as noted above, has no limit on the number of visas issued each year, and as a result there is no wait other than the time it takes the USCIS to process the Visa. Under Section 245(i), a USC may petition for an immediate relative and they may adjust their status (receive a green card) here in the U.S. even if that relative has fallen out of status long ago. However, the immediate relative must have entered the U.S. legally.

**Immediate relatives also include widow or widowers of U.S. citizens who were married for at least two years prior to the citizens death, who were not separated, remarried and who file applications within two years of death**.

Aliens other than immediate relatives fall into one of the four limited family based preference categories, and a visa will not be immediately available as there is a numerical limit on the number of visas issued each year. More aliens want visas than are currently available. Therefore, there may be a long waiting period for the visa to be issued. When the application is received by the USCIS they will note the filing date, this is called the “priority date.” The applicant must wait for the priority date to be current. Immediate relatives do not have to wait.

USCIS publishes a listing of current priority dates in the Visa Bulletin for application for those who are not immediate relatives. If the application was filed on or before the date listed in the Visa Bulletin then the priority date is current and the USCIS should contact the applicant. Note, the dates on the Visa Bulletin are unpredictable. The dates may move forward or backwards or they may not move at all. However, a new Visa Bulletin is issued by the State Department on the first day of each month and it lists the most current priority dates.

The most common visa issued is for a spouse of either a USC, Lawful Permanent Resident, or a married adult child or sibling of a USC. Regardless of the relationship, the marriage must be valid at its inception and at the time of immigration, and not have been entered into solely to obtain an immigration benefit.

Other Important Information

Definition of Child
A child is unmarried and one who was born in wedlock or was (legitimized parents married) before age 18 while in the fathers custody. Children born out of wedlock may obtain immigration benefits from the natural mother or the natural father and long as they have established a “bona-fide” parent child relationship before age 21. Step-children are eligible to immigrate if the child was under 18 at the time of the marriage and the relationship can continue after the death of or divorce from the natural parent provided there has been an active parental interest. Adopted children are eligible to immigrate if adopted before the age of 16 and have been in the legal custody and resided with the adoptive parent for at least two years. Orphans can be petitioned if under 16 and if both parents have died disappeared or abandoned the child. If there is a sole or surviving parent, he or she must be incapable of providing support for the child and irrevocably releases the child for adoption.

Affidavit of Support
All U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents who petition to have their family members admitted to the U.S. as immediate relatives or through the various family-based preferences must act as sponsors and provide an Affidavit of Support for the alien. The affidavit is required to assure the USCIS that the alien will not become a public charge. To qualify as a sponsor the individual must be 18 or older, a USC or LPR of the U.S. and live or hold domicile in the U.S. This document states that the petitioner can support the alien at 125% of the federal poverty income level. This amount varies according to family size and location. In the event that the primary sponsor does not earn enough income, a co-sponsor may be used. The co-sponsor must meet the above requirements but does not need to be related to the alien. In the event of the death of the sponsor, a substitute Affidavit of Support may be submitted from another close relative only.

The affidavit is an enforceable contract that remains in effect until the alien becomes a citizen or has worked for more than 40 qualifying quarters as defined by the Social Security Act. The sponsor and/or co-sponsor can be required to reimburse any state or federal agency for most public benefits that the alien receives.

Documents for a Visa Application
All applicants must submit certain personal documents such as passports, birth certificates, police certificates and other civil documents, as well as evidence that they will not become public charges in the U.S.

Medical Examinations
Before the issuance of an immigrant visa, every applicant, regardless of age, must undergo a medical examination. A doctor designated by the consular officer will conduct the examination. Costs for such examinations must be borne by the applicant. If adjusting status from within the U.S. check the USCIS Civil Surgeons list.

USCIS conducts in person interviews before issuing a Visa. The interviews are detailed question and answer sessions in which the USCIS will attempt to determine whether the marriage is real and/or the required relationship exists. USCIS is suspicious of marriages that occur after removal hearings have been started, marriages where the spouses did not know each other very long, or do not live together. Different religious backgrounds and age differences also raise suspicion. To determine where the interview will be held check for the local field office that handles applications from your area.

Since no advance assurances can be given that a green card will be issued, we advise you not to make any travel plans until visas have been issued.