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Let’s Prove This Marriage is Real

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Hi, I'm Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out at our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. All we do at our office is immigration.

And within immigration, a very large percentage of the work that we do are establishing marriages and getting green cards based on marriage, either through the consular process abroad where the foreign national is overseas and is going to consular process, get a visa, come to the United States, and then hopefully receive their green card, or if the foreign national's in the United States and they're going to adjust status based on marriage to a US citizen. So the question then becomes, how do you prove that a marriage is legitimate?

Now, I say all the time that I've been married to my wife now for well over 20 years, and if you put us in separate rooms and ask us the same questions, if you asked us, what was the last movie we saw together at the theater? Or what's her favorite thing to eat for dinner? Or what was the last present that she bought me?

I think that we would get in trouble and we've been married 20 years. It's a very legitimate marriage obviously. We have four kids and we've been together a really long time, but I still think that I would fail probably those got you questions. But I think that you need to think more about the evidence itself. I don't think you need to be worried that much about the interview. In this video, we're going to talk about developing the evidence to show that the marriage is legitimate.

Now, sometimes a couple have just been married for a very short time and they file for their green card rather quickly. And so that can be a real problem when you're talking about developing evidence in support of a marriage-based green card application. You really want to take your time.

You want to open accounts together, you want to settle up your living situation together, you want to have a lease with both your names on it, or you want to buy a piece of property with both your names on it. Now, listen, we have a lot of people who fight with us and say, "Oh, that's just not how we do things," or, "Oh, that's not how our relationship is." And I get all that. That's fine.

You can live your life however you want, but you can't live your life however you want if you want to get your green card. So what you have to do is you have to play the game by their rules and you have to develop that evidence.

So for instance, sometimes people tell me, "Oh, we don't really like to take a lot of pictures." Oh, you don't. You don't like to take a lot of pictures. Well, that's weird. And USCIS thinks that's weird. So don't give me this song and dance about how you're afraid to show your face or you really just don't like taking your pictures.

That's all well and good if you're a regular couple, but if you want an immigration benefit from the United States, you have a very high burden to demonstrate that you are in fact legitimately married.

Now, sometimes people will say, "Well, can we get letters from family members?" Letters aren't all that compelling. Anybody can write a letter.

Notarized statements are a little bit more compelling, but even so, unless there's actual detail explaining how you know the couple, how the couple met, how they spend time together, how you've observed them spend time together, affidavits aren't going to be all that compelling. The real nitty-gritty are opening the accounts, taking your time, not being in a rush.

And so sometimes people really do themselves a disservice because they spend so much time thinking about getting their case on file as fast as possible instead of thinking of it more like a soup where you have to let it sort of ferment and cook and add ingredients and add seasoning and make it more substantial than you would if you just throw it all into a pot and then serve it to the USCIS immigration officer.

I hope that makes sense. But basically, you need to go slow to try to get your case approved. You need to take your time. You don't want to be rushing. You don't want to run around like a chicken with your head cut off.

You want to be deliberate, you want to get your evidence together, you want to get your accounts in both your names, you want to make sure that your address is correct, you want to make sure your driver's license is correct, you want to make sure that you're doing everything that a normally married couple would do. And if you do all those things, you have a real good shot of getting your case approved.

So if you have questions about this, give us a call at (314) 961-8200. You can email us at [email protected].

Be sure to join us in our Facebook group, which is called Immigrant Home. We're going live in Immigrant Home and on our YouTube channel twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 12pm CST.

If you want to join us in there, you can ask me any question you want for free. We've been having a lot of fun with the Immigration Answers Life Show. So hope you'll join us, and we'll see you next time. Thanks a lot.

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