Green Cards and Marriage
One of the most well-known and utilized paths to permanent citizenship in the United States is to get married. In fact, it’s so common that it’s known affectionately as a “Green Card marriage.” Although marriage-based Green Cards are a viable option for those who are married to current U.S. citizens, it’s crucial to make sure that you understand the immigration process and be able to establish the authenticity of the marriage.
At Maison Immigration, we know that for many people, a Green Card marriage is also a way to build a better life in the United States. Our experienced immigration lawyers have a wealth of experience at helping couples navigate the complex process of getting a Green Card through marriage to a U.S. citizen. Contact us today to set up an initial consultation.
Is a Green Card Marriage Legal?
As a foreign national, when your significant other is a U.S. citizen, one of the options you have to obtain status as a permanent resident in the U.S. is to be legally married to your then-spouse. This is known as a Green Card marriage, but it must be a:
- Genuine and bona fide marriage based on love and commitment.
Marriage to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident for the primary purpose of obtaining a Green Card, without a genuine intention to build a life together, is considered marriage fraud and is illegal.
In order to prove that your Green Card marriage is genuine, you can provide the following evidence:
- Marriage certificate – The official marriage certificate is the first and most essential document. It will show the legal basis of your marriage in the state where you live.
- Shared residence – Provide documents that show you live together as a married couple. This can include a lease or mortgage in both your names, utility bills, or other mail sent to the same address.
- Joint bank accounts – Joint financial accounts, such as bank accounts and credit cards, can be strong evidence of a bona fide marriage. Provide statements and records showing your shared financial responsibilities.
- Insurance policies – Joint health, auto, or life insurance policies that list your spouse as the beneficiary can help establish the legitimacy of your marriage.
- Tax returns – Filing joint tax returns as a married couple can be powerful evidence of your commitment.
- Affidavits of Support – You can ask friends and family to provide affidavits attesting to the authenticity of your marriage and their knowledge of your relationship.
- Communication records – Provide records of your communication, such as emails, text messages, phone call logs, and social media interactions, to show your ongoing relationship.
- Travel records – If you’ve traveled together, provide evidence of trips, such as plane tickets, hotel reservations, and passport stamps.
- Shared assets – If you own property or assets together, provide documents related to joint ownership.
- Affidavits of Knowledge – You and your spouse can write affidavits explaining your relationship, how you met, and your future plans together.
- Medical records – If you have children together, provide medical records related to their birth or any shared medical treatments.
- Social activities – Evidence of participation in social or community activities together can further strengthen your case.
Remember that the more comprehensive and genuine your documentation, the better your chances are of proving the authenticity of your marriage. Our team of experienced immigration lawyers can help you gather this documentation, then help you navigate the process for obtaining your Green Card through marriage.
Benefits of a Green Card Marriage
Like any path to full citizenship, a Green Card marriage has numerous benefits–especially if you are currently looking to become a legal resident in the U.S.. While this is the primary benefit, there are several others that you can enjoy if you do decide to get a Green Card marriage:
- Legal Permanent Residence – You can live and work in the United States indefinitely with a Green Card, which offers stability and security.
- Work authorization – Upon application, you’ll typically receive a work permit, allowing you to work for any employer in the U.S.
- Social Security benefits – You become eligible for Social Security benefits, including retirement, disability, and survivor benefits.
- Education opportunities – You can attend schools and colleges in the U.S., often benefiting from lower in-state tuition rates.
- Access to healthcare – Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for government-sponsored healthcare programs like Medicaid.
- Travel freedom – With a Green Card, you can travel in and out of the U.S. without needing a visa or re-entry permit.
- Path to full citizenship – After holding a Green Card for a certain period and meeting other requirements, you can apply for U.S. citizenship.
- Family sponsorship – As a Green Card holder, you can sponsor certain family members for Green Cards, facilitating family reunification.
- Protection from deportation – As long as you maintain your legal status and adhere to the conditions of your Green Card, you are protected from deportation.
- Business opportunities – You can invest in businesses, real estate, or start your own business in the U.S.
- Tax benefits – You gain access to various tax benefits and credits available to U.S. residents, potentially reducing your tax liability.
It’s essential to remember that while there are numerous benefits to a Green Card marriage, it’s critical to have a genuine and loving relationship with your spouse. This not only sets you up for happiness in your private life, but a fraudulent marriage solely for immigration benefits can lead to serious legal consequences, including deportation and a ban on re-entry into the United States. By working with our experienced immigration lawyers, we can make sure that you have what you need to maintain a legal and hopefully healthy marriage.
Let Maison Law Immigration Lawyers Guide You
No matter what option you choose in becoming a legal resident, Maison Immigration will be there to help. Our team of experienced immigration lawyers has the knowledge and resources to guide you through the challenges and complexities of immigration law, ensuring that you’re able to build a life with your family here in the United States. Contact us today to set up an initial consultation to learn more about your options.