Marriage Visa – Most Common Questions and Answers

During the months of July and August we have filed an unusual number of Marriage based Green Card Applications. I have listed here some of the most common questions our clients and site visitors wish to know. Hopefully the following Questions and Answers will make your journey through this process a little less confusing.

1. How soon can an applicant that entered the US as a tourist or under the Visa Waiver Program marry a US Citizen, Could they apply for the Green Card in the United States?
Answer: A US citizen can marry a tourist or VW visitor and apply for the Green Card from within the US. It is better to marry 60 days after entry to lift the presumption that the immigrant entered the US in order to get married.

2. How soon after marriage can the US Citizen petition and file the immigration paperwork for the immigrant spouse?
Answer: There is no waiting period that must pass before the immigration petition can be filed. Make sure to have the certified Marriage Certificate registered with the county before you can file.

3. How long will it take to get the work permit after filing the case? How long will it take to get to the final interview after filing?
Answer: Currently it takes 90 days after filing the Marriage based Green Application for the Government to issue the work permit. In some cases the final interview is scheduled even before the Work permit can be issued. In this case, if there is an approval at the interview, there will be no need for the work permit at that time. In most cases though, interviews are scheduled, 5 months or so after filing.

4. What if there is a mistake in your name or date of birth on the Green Card?
Answer: If there is a mistake on your new Green Card you must take steps to correct it immediately. If you fail to do so, you will not be able to receive your social security number and any other documents as a result. You must file form I-90 (get it from USCIS.GOV website) with USCIS. Make sure to Check box d in part 2.2 of the application. There is NO FEE to pay as it was not your fault.

5. How do you know what taxes to file now that you are a Green Card holder?
Answer: The Internal Revenue Service has several publications you can download or obtain from a local IRS office.
• Publication 519…..US Tax Guide for Aliens
• Publication 514…..Foreign Tax Credit for Individuals
• Publication 501…..Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information
• Publication 54…….Tax Guide for US Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad
6. How long does a person need to wait after getting the Conditional Green Card before Applying for US Citizenship?
Answer: If the Immigrant is still married to the US Citizen and living together 3 years after getting the Conditional Green, they may apply for Citizenship. If the couple is no longer married and living together, the immigrant must wait 5 years after getting the Conditional Green in order to apply.

7. Can an immigrant travel abroad freely after getting the Green Card?
Answer: Yes, but if the Green Card holder is planning to spend more that 12 months outside of the US, he/she must apply for a re entry permit in order to preserve the Green Card. The re entry permit must be obtained before leaving the US.

8. Why do immigrants have to go through the FBI fingerprints and name checks and how long the security checks usually take to clear?
Answer: The government must make sure that every person that will be granted a Green Card meets the requirements of the law and is not a criminal or a terrorist. Unfortunately, security checks can delays cases for several months and in extreme cases for years. Make sure to follow up on your case with the local immigration office and if needed contact your Congressman for assistance.

9. What if I got divorced from my US Citizen spouse before removing the Conditions on my Green Card, can I still keep the Green Card?
Answer: The current regulations allow you to file to remove the conditions on your own without your spouse signing the application. You will need to get a waiver (pardon) from the requirement to file together as long as you can show that the marriage when incepted was real and not a sham marriage. You will need to consult an immigration attorney to help you with the Waiver procedures.

10. What if you have children immigrating with you, how do you get them Green Cards as well?
Answer: If you married your US Citizen spouse and you have Children under 18 years old, they will be included in your petition and will be considered step children of the US Citizen. You will need to file separate Adjustment of Status (forms I-485) for each child. If the marriage took place after the children turned 18, you will have to file for them after getting your own Green Card.