U.S. Citizens and their “alien” spouses, i.e. non-U.S. citizen spouses, have to go through a lot of work in order for the non-U.S. citizen spouse to obtain a green card. The immigration process is always grueling, but what gives many couples the most stress is the interview process.
Immigration officials can be quite tough and, at many times, intimidating. They are trained to beware people trying to cheat the immigration system. If a couple is caught in a fraudulent marriage or lying abut the basis of their relationship, the result could be time in prison and a fine of anything up to $250,000.
Their goal is to make sure the marriage is because of a real relationship and true love, not because someone wants to obtain legal permanent residency in the United States.
Such a goal seems innocent enough. Of course, we want marriages to be built on love. Of course, we don’t want people cheating the immigration system.
But, unfortunately, this goal can result in the immigration officials asking questions to the U.S. Citizen and their non-citizen spouse that many people—in regular, real relationships—would not be able to answer.
Some questions are easy: How did you meet? What was your wedding like? When did you meet each other’s families?
Other questions can be much more difficult: Draw a diagram of your bedroom. When was the last time your spouse saw your mother? What subway does your spouse take to work?
According to an immigration lawyer in Austin, “We have seen more scrutiny and more questions about marriage lately.”
Officers may even make house visits to see if couples are actually living together. They are also entitled to chat with the couple’s neighbors.
A New York Times article says that immigration officers see large gaps in age, religious disparities, and language differences as red flags.
For more information, check out the New York Times article here.