While it’s too soon to know what the Trump administration’s long-term influence on immigration will be, it’s fair to say that it’s not going to get any easier. There is a long list of forms and rules, processes to follow and documents to be submitted. There are interviews with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and it’s not unusual that they find something troublesome buried deep in an applicant’s past that delays or stalls an already lengthy process.

All of this makes for a lot of anxiety for those who wish to come to or remain in the US for a wide range of reasons—for study, long-term medical procedures, extended family visits and for the many employment opportunities in US technology centers and at universities all over the country.

Marriage makes it easier, but it’s still a lengthy process

There’s no question that marrying a US citizen or green-card holder can fast-track the green-card process. Many of our clients who are citizens or green-card holders seek our assistance in getting a green card for a new spouse who is either still in his/her country of origin or is here in the US on a tourist visa. Unfortunately, while the process is easier, it still requires time and patience.

USCIS seeks to avoid “marriage fraud”

One of the reasons that consular officials are cautious about green-card applications for new spouses is that immigration through marriage has been abused. There have been couples who have married for immigration purposes only—to be able to get a green card for a spouse. For this reason, USCIS has made every effort to carefully screen couples to make sure they’re getting married not for convenience, but for love, with the intention of building a life together–these remain America’s ideals for marriage. The penalties for marriage fraud are extremely severe. Both the citizen/green-card holder and the alien can be punished civilly and criminally, and if the alien is found to have engaged in marriage fraud, he/she will be forever barred from immigration to the United States.

What to expect: affidavit of support and documentation

The citizen/green-card holder must submit an affidavit of support indicating that he/she has the financial means to support the spouse above the poverty guidelines. There are the usual requirements to fill out government forms and to provide passports, pay stubs, birth certificates, mortgage statements or rental agreements that show the couple is living together.

How to prove that yours is a valid marriage?

  • Some professionals advise couples to provide letters from friends or neighbors testifying to the intent of the marriage. Include their contact information.
  • Another suggestion is to bring some pictures from your wedding. Attended by celebrating family and friends, this is something that will validate your wedding; those perpetrating a marriage fraud will not be able to provide this kind of evidence.

Be prepared to answer questions such as these:

  • How and where did you meet?
  • When did you decide to get married?
  • Have you met each other’s relatives?
  • What did you do for Valentine’s Day?

Above all, take this seriously

According to recent immigrant’s testimonial, “An Immigration Interview is like a job interview. The officer makes a first impression right away. And he/she probably has a good idea right off the bat whether he/she will grant or deny the case.”

Are you frustrated with the immigration process? We’ve been helping unite families since 2010. Schedule an appointment with DP Legal Solutions today: 510.346.5686.