Do I have to tell my spouse everything before the immigration interview?
Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, Immigration Lawyer, practicing law throughout the United States at our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. Good to be with you again.
In this video we’re talking about situations where someone is applying for a green card or for an immigrant visa based on marriage, and I wanted to make sure to alert you to the fact that sometimes the US citizen keep secrets from the Foreign National and that’s a bad idea. And I wanted to make this video to instruct you not to do that. Specifically what I’m talking about are situations where the US citizen has some kind of criminal history or a prior marriage history or anything complicated that the non-US citizen needs to know. And this is especially true in overseas cases, but it does come into play in green card cases as well.
So, let’s imagine a scenario. So let’s say we have Raul. Raul’s a US citizen and he’s married to Marina and Marina is back in the home country. And let’s say Raul has a old domestic violence charge and Raul discloses it as he should to USCIS, but he doesn’t necessarily tell his spouse overseas and the spouse goes to the interview and the state department officer tells Marina about the prior conviction, and that’s a bad deal. It’s a bad deal for a couple of reasons. Number one, there might be a few concerns for the US citizens eligibility to sponsor, but that’s a different video.
In this video, what I’m talking about is the fact that the non-citizen doesn’t know about the prior abuse charge, doesn’t know all of the US citizen’s history and this could be true whether it was domestic violence or a crime or prior marriages or prior engagements. You need to make sure that whatever USCIS or the state department knows, that the Foreign National knows. Because if they get blindsided, if they get bamboozled, if they get surprised at the interview, that’s going to look really bad.
And it’s going to look really bad because it impacts the validity of the marriage analysis. It makes the officer wonder, is this a real marriage? The non-citizen doesn’t even know about her husband’s or his wife’s or her wife’s or whatever, their spouses background. And that suggests that the marriage is not very strong and may not be valid. And this could be in fiance cases too. So, you want to make sure that you fully advise the Foreign National of your entire life.
I’ve seen clients come to me after an interview goes badly and like I said before, this can happen at USCIS, so it’s not uncommon at a USCIS interview for the couple to be separated. There are certain officers who are going to grill the non-citizen on the life of the citizen or even vice versa. And so you really need to know your facts, like that. You need to know them backwards and forwards, you need to be fully disclosed.
So my advice in today’s video is don’t keep anything from your spouse. Don’t keep anything from your fiance. Be completely upfront. You always have to tell the truth, but if there’s any chance that USCIS or the state department knows something that your spouse or fiance doesn’t, you need to tell them.
And of course that’s true, not just for purposes of immigration, but that’s for the health of the relationship. So, here’s Dr. Jim giving out relationship advice. Just kidding. I’m just concerned about your immigration status and I want to help you out. I want to help you get the strongest case possible on file.
So if you have questions about this, or if your things that you wondering whether you should disclose or not, you should probably disclose them. But if you have questions you want to talk to us about it, give us a call. (314) 961-8200. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group. It’s called Immigrant Home. We have about three or four people joining every day. So that’s exciting. It means people are listening to the end of the video, and if you liked this video, please be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you get updates whenever I make videos, just like this one. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.