If you are married to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States, you can apply for a marriage-based visa or green card. There are some important requirements that you should consider before making this application, including, but not limited to:
In order to qualify for a marriage-based visa or green card, you must be able to establish that you are legally married. A legal marriage is one that is recognized by the government of the country where you were married. This typically means that a record of your marriage can be found in a government office. Domestic partnerships are not typically recognized as legal marriages. However, if you lived in a country that recognized or recognizes common law marriage, you may be able to establish that fact.
A bona fide marriage is one in which both people, from the start, intend to remain married and establish a life together. This may mean different things to different people. However, any marriage that was entered into solely for immigration purposes is not considered bona fide. Proving a bona fide marriage requires extensive documentation. Pictures of vacations or holidays you have spent together, the fact that you have children together, statements from friends and family, the internmingling of finances, and proof that you have lived together during the entire marriage can all be used to establish that your marriage is bona fide.
Only United States citizens and lawful permanent residents can obtain green cards for their spouses. People with visas and work permits cannot obtain green cards for their spouses, although they may be able to obtain a temporary visa for them.
Any previous marriages for either party must have ended legally. This means that the prior spouse has passed away or died, the marriage was legally annulled, or the marriage ended in divorce. You will have to present proof that the marriage ended legally. A religious annulment does not invalidate a civil marriage; therefore, in the case of an annulment, the annulment must not only be a religious annulment but also a civil annulment.
If you are interested in spousal immigration, you should consult with an experienced immigration attorney. At Serving Immigrants, we have the knowledge you need and can help you through the process. Contact us online or call us at (305) 924-1133 to schedule a strategy session.