Do I automatically get a green card when I marry a U.S. Citizen?

There is a common misperception that one can automatically get a green card through marriage to a U.S. Citizen. Although marriage to a U.S. citizen may qualify the foreign national spouse for a green card, a green card is far from automatic. There are many reasons that people enter into marriage: Love, convenience, tradition, religion and most notoriously, to receive immigration benefits (“Sham” marriage). Due to the high level of marriage fraud that takes place , the process of obtaining a green card through a “bona fide” marriage is complex, time consuming and oftentimes frustrating. In order to obtain a green card through marriage to a U.S. Citizen you must be prepared to show that your marriage is in fact “bona fide.” A “bona fide” marriage is a marriage entered into for love with the intent of creating a life together and not for the purpose of obtaining a green card. In order to show that your marriage is “bona fide” and not a “sham”, you must be prepared to show the following types of evidence:

  1. Birth certificates of any children resulting from the union.
  2. Bank statements for checking and/or savings accounts showing account(s) are shared by both spouses.
  3. Rental receipts or agreements showing both spouses as lessees.
  4. Auto insurance and registration showing both spouses as carriers and owners.
  5. Credit card statements with names of both spouses as joint holders.
  6. Wedding announcement and/or wedding photographs.
  7. Copies of phone bills showing calls between spouses.
  8. Photographs documenting the marriage/courtship.
  9. Affidavits from friends and family with knowledge of the marriage/courtship.
  10. Documentation of trips taken together.
  11. Proof of gifts, cards or other items given to each other.
  12. Photographs from within the home evidencing his/her closet space, toiletry items and life
  13. Proof of purchase and photographs of engagement and/or wedding rings
  14. Any other relevant evidence to support the bona fides of the marriage.

The burden is on the applicant to show that the marriage is “bona fide.” If the burden is met the foreign national spouse will be issued a green card and become a U.S. permanent resident. The green card process is deceptive and far more complex than it appears on its face. If you are in the process of seeking immigration benefits for your foreign spouse we can apply our experience in your behalf. Contact us today for a free assessment of your immigration matter.

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