FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS IN RELATION TO MARRIAGE BASED U.S. PERMANENT RESIDENCE
IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL NOW THAT I AM MARRIED TO A U.S. CITIZEN?
That depends. If any of the following applies to you, there is an issue that needs to be reviewed by an immigration attorney. In any case, it is always best to check with your immigration attorney before you travel.
- You recently entered the U.S. on a B-1 Business Visa or a B-2 Tourist Visa and you decide to marry: DO NOT TRAVEL INTERNATIONALLY.
- You entered the U.S. on a Visa Waiver and then married a U.S. Citizen: DO NOT TRAVEL INTERNATIONALLY.
- You overstayed or violated the terms of any visa: DO NOT TRAVEL INTERNATIONALLY.
- You are in the U.S. as a J-1 nonimmigrant and you are not sure if you are subject to the two year home residency requirement. DO NOT TRAVEL.
- If you currently rent, a copy of your current lease agreement showing both names on the lease. If you own a home, proof that the home is in both names (if possible).
- Copies of utility bills in both names. Or copies of some utility bills in your name and others in your spouse’s name. For example, the gas and cable bill might be in your name, while the phone and electricity bill are in your spouse’s name.
- Evidence of joint assets such as a joint checking and savings account.
- If available, evidence of joint liabilities such a car loan or other bills in both names.
- If available, evidence of car insurance, life insurance or health insurance policies listing each other as beneficiaries of the policy.
- If available, a last will and testament listing the spouse as beneficiary of the will.
- Two or three affidavits in support of your marriage from neighbors, co workers, friends and family members.
- If applicable, evidence of any funds spent by you, your spouse or family on the engagement party, bridal shower or wedding ceremony including:
HOW DO WE PROVE THAT OUR MARRIAGE IS THE REAL DEAL?
We ask our clients to submit to us copies of as much evidence as possible that proves the validity of the relationship. The following is a suggested list of evidence or documentation that can be used to prove that a couple is truly married, is actually living together and has mingled assets and liabilities. None of our clients have every document listed here, but the following is sample of some good evidence that Immigration has accepted and approved in the past:
- One Original Wedding Invitation & receipt for purchase of wedding invitations
- Picture of wedding gown
- Receipt showing deposit or payment for reception site
- Pictures and receipts for wedding bands.
- Copies of any travel itineraries, hotel and car rental receipts for travel together.
- Various photographs (or color copies) of you and your spouse together and with friends and extended family. We usually like to label each photograph listing the individuals appearing from left to right, the location and approximate date the photo was taken.
I HAVE BEEN MARRIED BEFORE. DOES IMMIGRATION NEED TO SEE MY DIVORCE CERTIFICATES?
Yes. We must submit the petition to Immigration with clear photocopies of the current marriage certificate, all previous divorce decrees, and both you and your spouse’s birth certificates. At the time of the interview, Immigration will want to see the originals or certified copies of these documents.
DO I NEED TO HAVE MY DOCUMENTS TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH?
Yes. You can obtain translations from a professional translator, ask a competent friend to translate OR request to use our firm’s translator. All translations must be signed in the presence of a notary public and contain the following certification:
I, (name of translator), hereby certify that I am fluent in English and (the Foreign Language) and that the above is a true and accurate translation of the original.
On the _____ day of ____________ 201_, before me personally appeared ____________________________and acknowledged the forgoing to be her free act and deed.
My commission expires __________________
WHAT IS AN AFFIDAVIT OF SUPPORT?
Immigration requires that the U.S. Citizen spouse alone or together with a U.S. Citizen or U.S. Permanent Resident Joint Sponsor, demonstrate a certain level of income to show that the Immigrant will not need to rely on public welfare benefits to survive in the U.S. The U.S. Citizen spouse and if applicable, the Joint Sponsor must submit Federal Tax Returns, W-2s showing income, recent pay statements and we often also include an employment verification letter.
The law requires that for a family of two, the sponsor can show an annual income of at least $18,212. For a family of three, the sponsor must show $22,887. For a complete list of the financial threshold based on family size, download the USCIS Poverty Guidelines here: http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-864p.pdf
I DON’T HAVE COPIES OF MY FEDERAL TAX RETURNS, WHAT CAN I DO?
The U.S. Citizen spouse and any Joint Sponsor’s MUST submit a copy of the most recent Federal Tax Return. If you do not have a copy, you can request transcripts of the filed tax return directly from the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) by calling 1-800-829-1040, or order by mail using
IRS Form 4506T (Request for Transcript of Tax Return). http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f4506t.pdf
The IRS does not charge a fee for transcripts. Allow two weeks for delivery.