Marriage-Based Green Card Lawyer in NJ
New Jersey Immigration Attorney
Have you recently married a U.S. citizen or US permanent resident? You may be able to obtain a green card through a process called Adjustment of Status without leaving the U.S. if you entered legally, regardless of how long ago that entry took place. However, before applying, it is important to seek the advice and assistance of a New Jersey immigration lawyer to determine whether you qualify for this benefit.
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. Our 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. may be at risk simply because of a minor paperwork mistake.
What to Expect When You Choose 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 to review your eligibility for the green card. You will find that we are responsive to your calls and will answer all your questions.
The process will most likely go as follows:
- Once hired, we review your situation and will provide you with a checklist noting what will be needed to begin processing your case.
- We will also provide you with a login and password so you can access our secure immigration software to assist in form processing and you will have the ability to track our progress while we complete and file the necessary documents.
- Thereafter, USCIS will review the package, scheduling a fingerprint appointment and interview to determine the validity of the marriage.
Affidavit of Support
All U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents who petition to have their family members admitted to the U.S. must act as sponsors and provide an Affidavit of Support for the alien.
The affidavit is required to assure the USCIS that the alien spouse will not become a public charge. The sponsor can be different than the petitioner. 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.
Before the issuance of an immigrant visa, every applicant, regardless of age, must undergo a medical examination. For those filing from abroad a doctor designated by the consular officer will conduct the examination. For those adjusting status in the US, check the USCIS Civil Surgeons list for a list of approved providers.
Due to changes in policy announced in 2018 the medical exam report is now valid for two years form the date of submission to USCIS. However, USCIS also shortened the validity period of the signed report to 60 days prior to submission. Therefore, the report cannot be more than 60 days old upon submission. We typically recommend not submitting the report of the exam with the initial application due to lengthy processing delays. These delays might cause an applicant to incur a cost for an additional exam if the old one expires. Generally, we recommend bringing the exam to the interview, with the caveat that it not be more than 60 days old. This may not work for all situations and we encourage you to discuss any unusual medical issues with us.
USCIS conducts in person interviews before issuing a Green card. 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.
How Does USCIS Investigate Marriages?
One of the most popular accusations against immigrants who marry an American citizen is that marriage only exists for legal reasons—to ensure that the immigrant can win permanent resident status. It's a cynical accusation, but it's at least based on a bit of truth: marriage is a valuable path to citizenship.
However, fooling the government into believing your marriage is real is not nearly as easy as immigration critics would have you believe. The New York Times recently published the sort of questions married couples have to answer (separately) to prove the validity of their marriage.
Here are just a few of the things an applicant would need to answer:
- When was the last time your spouse saw the mother-in-law?
- How do you enter the house?
- What train does your spouse take to work?
- What's the layout of your bedroom?
USCIS also has the authority to interview your neighbors and stake out your home to determine if your marriage is valid.
Red Flags Immigration Officials Look For
After decades of interviewing married couples, USCIS has a shortlist of immediate "red flags" that put certain marriages at a disadvantage. These signs include large age differences, different religions, a language barrier, and if one of the spouses has already tried the immigration process with someone else.
If an officer is not convinced of a marriage's validity, they'll give the applicant a notice of intent to deny. The applicant then has a chance to respond or file an appeal. Because appeals can be cost-prohibitive, our firm recommends having an attorney with you for the interview (which is within your rights).
Check out the article to see if you and your spouse would pass the test. Even if neither of you is applying for a green card, this is a good way to understand the sort of hurdles would-be citizens are facing.
For more specific help with your individual case, call our New Jersey immigration attorneys today at (800) 909-8129 and schedule your initial consultation with us.