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Green Card Through 2nd Marriage

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Let’s talk about green cards through second marriage. Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our offices in San Diego, California and St. Louis, Missouri.

We had a question from VJ the other day, on our YouTube channel. VJ was wondering, Jim, are there any special considerations when I’m applying for a green card based on a second marriage to a US citizen? So this is an interesting scenario. This happens from time to time, and we’ve been seeing a lot of cases lately, where especially because immigration is taking so long, that a couple files a green card case based on marriage, they’re truly in love, there’s a US citizen and a non-citizen involved. And so they’re trying to get the non-citizen into lawful permanent resident status and they’ll file a green card application for that non-citizen spouse. And for whatever reason, the marriage goes south. And then later on, the non-citizen falls in love with somebody else and then files an immigration benefit. Or the couple might get married and divorced before they even ever file, the first couple might even get divorced before they ever file for an immigration benefit.

So what are the kinds of things that you need to think about when this scenario is upon you? Well, number one, you can expect that your case is going to be held up to higher scrutiny. USCIS is going to look at your case more harshly and look for more problems with the case. They’re going to be looking for a denial. So you need to be really well-prepared and you need to file a very strong case. And that’s true whether the first case resulted in a filing for an I-30 and 45 or not.

Now we’ve had cases get denied, not because anything’s wrong with the second marriage, but because of the first marriage. So if the first marriage case that was submitted was flimsy or not enough evidence, or if there was some kind of a request for evidence or Notice of Intent to Deny, if USCIS was on track to deny that first marriage, and then things blow up in that first marriage, it’s entirely possible that when you apply the second time, that USCIS is going to go back and look at that first marriage. We see it time and time again. So in those scenarios, what we like to do, is do a Freedom of Information Act request to get the entire first file. So then when we go into the interview, we know what might come up about the first marriage and the second. We’ve also seen immigration officers go out and talk to that first spouse. So that can be problematic, especially if things were negative when that first marriage ended.

So again, that’s something that we would do is we would try to reach out to that first spouse and make sure that they’re going to support our application, or at least get them to neutral if they’re angry at us, to try to get them off the table of helping USCIS say that that first marriage was fake or fraudulent, or only for immigration purposes. So there are a lot of concerns when you have that second marriage. You need to …

And the other problem is that the immigrant might have appeared to USCIS as if they really, really, really to stay in the United States and they’ll marry whoever, in order to get that green card. And that’s another mindset you’re going to have to overcome. So you’re really going to have to do a lot of work. You can’t file a thin case on that second marriage. It’s got to be rock solid. You need lots of evidence, you need a long history together, you can’t just be bouncing from one person to another. Of course you’re not, you’re getting married because you’re in love. We get that, but we really have to demonstrate it.

And you don’t necessarily have to prove it at a higher standard, but it’s always your burden to prove that the marriage is legitimate, that it was for love, that it wasn’t for immigration purposes and that you’re a good person who we should allow to reside permanently in the United States. Those are the kinds of things that go on into a second green card application.

So if you’re thinking about filing one of those, you’re probably going to need some help. You probably don’t want to do it by yourself. And if you do need our help, you can always give us a call (314) 961-8200. You can email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group, it’s called Immigrant Home. And if you like this video, we ask that you please share it out on social and you subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you get updates whenever we make videos like this one and you get updates whenever we go live, usually on Tuesdays and Thursdays in our YouTube channel and on our Facebook page, Immigrant Home. You’ll find us broadcasting the show, 12 to 1, Central Time, answering as many of your immigration law related questions as possible. Thanks a lot and have a great day.

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