The pathway to United States citizenship involves many complex options and, at times, confusing criteria. Immigration law in the United States is continually evolving and changing and can cause a lot of tension for immigrants trying to figure out how it all works. Applying for a green card based on a marriage can seem like an easy procedure. However, there’s a lot to understand to this process of marriage-based visas, and it can be the difference between an approval and a denial.
What is a Marriage-Based Visa?
The marriage-based visa is one option for an immigrant to apply for a green card. It is based on their marriage to a U.S. lawful permanent resident or a U.S. citizen. There are some common misconceptions when it comes to marriage-based visas. Most individuals tend to think that it’s an automatic ticket to U.S. citizenship, and it just involves filing some paperwork. However, the overall application is still a long and tedious process with an intense petition undertaking.
What are the Requirements to Obtain a Marriage-Based Visa?
The process of filing for a marriage-based visa is pretty straightforward. However, the overall operation comes with its hurdles and requires applicants to prove that their marriage is real and valid. To qualify for this specific visa, you will need to show the following:
- You are legally married to a U.S. Citizen or a U.S. lawful permanent resident.
- Your marriage is real and not fraudulent. Specifically, you are proving that your marriage is not just done for a green card.
- Documentation of your spouse’s lawful permanent resident status or U.S. citizenship.
- Proof that neither of you is married to someone else.
To prove that you qualify for this visa, you will need to submit to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) the required Form I-130, along with proof that your spouse is a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident, and that you have a bona fide marriage. Once USCIS approves the I-130, you will be required to pay specific fees and fill out additional paperwork that the National Visa Center (NVC) will need. Once the NVC receives all your documentation, your case will be sent to a U.S. consulate located in your home country, where you will be required to obtain a medical exam by an approved doctor and attend an interview.
If everything is complete, you will receive your immigrant visa and will be able to present it at the U.S. border to receive a stamp in your passport indicating your green card status. This whole process can be tedious and stressful, that’s why if at any point you have questions or concerns don’t hesitate to call experienced professionals that can walk you through it and answer any questions that you may have.
Does a Criminal Record Affect this Process?
During your application process for your marriage-based visa, you will encounter questions that involve your specific criminal history. The government wants to know any interactions that you have had with law enforcement and will want you to provide detailed information. You should to indicate any charges or arrests that you had, even if they have been dismissed. Having a criminal history may complicate your overall process, but they will not automatically cause your case to be denied. Although, there are three significant crimes that most likely cause inadmissibility and should be discussed with an attorney before proceeding with your filing. They are:
- Crimes involving an Aggravated Felony
- “Moral Turpitude” Crimes
- Illegal Drug Crimes
How Do Marriage-Based Visa’s Affect Immigrants and the Country?
There have been countless discussions on marriage-based visas, and their impact on the United States. However, the common theme in these discussions is how beneficial this visa is to overall economic U.S. growth and the country’s diversity. It’s an opportunity to expand the U.S. borders and bring in immigrants with skills that will be valuable to the people of the United States and U.S. economy.
Contact Immigration Law Group!
Obtaining a marriage-based visa can be a daunting process that can cause a lot of headaches for a couple. But, with Immigration Law Group, our knowledgeable and experienced staff can make this process a lot easier and less stressful. We will answer any question and help you prepare your submission. If you need any further information or would like to schedule a meeting, contact us today.