Legal Guide

The Truth About Green Cards and Marriage

Deciding to get married is a big decision, but if you're an immigrant with a green card, there's more to consider. On the one hand, getting married opens up the possibility of citizenship. On the other hand, it can be a complicated and stressful process.

The truth is, there are many myths and misconceptions about green cards and marriage. For example, some people believe that getting married as a green card holder is easy, while others think that immigrants only get married just for the possibility of citizenship. In this blog post, we'll dispel some of these myths and set the record straight about what is involved in the process of green card marriage.

Myth #1: The Process of Applying for a Green Card is Easy

The first myth we'll dispel is that getting married as a green card holder is easy. On the contrary, applying for a green card can be complicated and time-consuming. First, you'll need to gather all the necessary documents, including proof of your relationship, proof of your spouse's identity and citizenship, and evidence of your financial stability. Once you have all the required documents, you'll need to complete an application and submit it to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). After your application has been reviewed and approved, you'll be scheduled for an interview with a USCIS officer.

The questions asked during the interview will be designed to test the legitimacy of your relationship. You'll be asked about your wedding plans, how you met your spouse and other personal questions about your relationship. It's essential to be prepared for this interview, as USCIS officers have the discretion to approve or deny your application based on their assessment of your relationship. If your application is approved, you'll be issued a green card. Congratulations! You're now one step closer to becoming a US citizen. However, it's not always like this because the USCIS only approves a certain amount of green card applications a year.

Myth #2: You Can't Get Deported if You Have a Green Card

The second myth we'll dispel is that you can't get deported if you have a green card. While it's true that green card holders have many rights and protections, there are also certain circumstances under which a green card holder can be deported. For example, if you commit a crime or violate the terms of your green card, you may be subject to deportation.

If you're married to a US citizen, you may also be deported if your spouse files for divorce and alleges that you only entered into the marriage to obtain a green card. To avoid being deported in this scenario, it's vital to have strong evidence that your marriage is legitimate. This can include photos, emails, texts, and other documentation that shows you and your spouse have a genuine relationship.

Myth #3: Green Cards Never Expire

The third myth is that green cards never expire. They need to be renewed every ten years, depending on the permanent residency you were granted. You'll apply with USCIS and attend an interview to restore your green card.

Myth #4: You Can't Get a Green Card With a Criminal Record

The fourth myth we'll dispel is that you can't get a green card with a criminal record. While it's true that having a criminal record may make it more challenging to obtain a green card, it's not impossible. There are many factors that USCIS will consider when deciding your application, including the severity of your crime, the number of offenses you have committed, and whether you paid restitution.

The Pros of Getting Married for a Green Card

There are several benefits to getting married for a green card. First and foremost, it opens up the possibility of becoming a U.S. citizen. If you're married to a U.S. citizen, you can apply for citizenship after three years. Once you become a citizen, you'll have all rights and privileges that come with it—including the right to vote, work without restrictions, and travel freely.

In addition, getting married makes it easier to stay in the United States long-term. If your spouse is a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident, they can sponsor you for a green card (also known as lawful permanent residence). Once you have a green card, you can indefinitely live and work in the United States.

Finally, getting married also has financial benefits. For example, if your spouse is employed, they can list you as a dependent on their health insurance plan (assuming their employer offers health insurance coverage). In addition, if your spouse dies, you may be eligible for benefits like Social Security survivor's or veteran's survivor's benefits (if your spouse was a veteran).

The Cons of Getting Married for a Green Card

Despite the many benefits of getting married for a green card, some drawbacks are essential before deciding. One of the most significant drawbacks is that it can be a complicated and time-consuming process—especially if you don't have all the required documents or if there are any problems with your application. In addition, getting married just to obtain citizenship is considered marriage fraud. If you're caught committing perjury or wedding fraud, you could be imprisoned (although this is rare) but most likely deported. So while some people may be willing to take that risk, we wouldn't recommend it.

When deciding whether or not to marry for citizenship reasons, it's essential to consult with an immigration lawyer to understand better everything involved in such a case. However, keep in mind that attorneys can be expensive. So, regardless of which route you choose, just remember to do your research ahead of time. Finally, getting married shouldn't be done lightly—it's a big decision that will affect the rest of your life. Therefore, it's necessary to consider all the pros and cons before making any decisions.

Your Local San Antonio Immigration Attorney Can Help

Applying for a green card can be complicated and time-consuming, but it's worth it if you're in a legitimate relationship with a US citizen or permanent resident. And while some people do marry solely for citizenship, we wouldn't recommend it—the consequences, if you're caught, can be severe. You must understand how the process works when pursuing a legitimate marriage with a green card.

Immigration attorneys specializing in this area may provide additional information on this subject. At Gireud| Hobbs PLLC,  we can help you with all aspects of your green card marriage application, from start to finish. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable green card lawyers.

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