Busting the Myth: Marrying a U.S. Citizen Does Not Make You a Citizen

Busting the Myth: Marrying a U.S. Citizen Does Not Make You a Citizen by Laraine E. Schwartz, Esq.If you entered the United States legally but have overstayed your visa, you may be able to have your status adjusted and become a green card holder by having your citizen-spouse sponsor you. Here are some of the things you should know about the process:

  • You may apply for Legal Permanent Residence (Green Card) based on your marriage to a U.S. Citizen and be approved on a conditional basis for 2 years. The condition is that you must still be married or that the marriage is proved again to be legitimate two years after the first Green Card is provided. IMPORTANT: At least 90 days before the conditional residency expires, you must file application I-751 to have the condition removed. If you miss this crucial deadline and this 2-year period ends, your status automatically expires and you become subject to removal. Both you and your spouse must sign the I-751 form. If you have since divorced, you may file a waiver of your ex-spouse's signing requirement, but it must be proved that your marriage was a legitimate marriage. 

  • In order to qualify for the permanent ten-year green card, your marriage may be to someone of the opposite sex or same sex, but it must continue to be a bona fide marriage. In order to remove the conditional status, immigration officials require that there be supporting evidence that the marriage was genuine. Some of the information requested may include birth certificates of your children, joint financial statements, bills, insurance policies and photos. An interview with both spouses with an immigration officer is randomly assigned for the removal of the conditional status process.

If you are married to a U.S. citizen or considering such a union, speak with an experienced immigration attorney about how the marriage may be able to help you remain in the U.S. legally.

Larraine Schwartz, Lobbying for Immigration Reform

Laraine E. Schwartz, Esq.
Winograd and Schwartz Attorneys at Law, www.winogradandschwartz.com

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