What are some tips in handling a spouse green card petition? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration attorney practicing law here in St. Louis, Missouri. Our office handles a fair amount of spouse visas. These are cases where someone has married a non-citizen and wishes to sponsor them for a green card. The sponsoring person can be either a US citizen or a green card holder. We’ve been handling a lot of cases lately where the US citizen spouse and the non-citizen are both here in the United States. Those cases take place completely with USCIS, there’s no state department action in those cases.
In these cases there’s a real importance placed on demonstrating that the marriage is valid. We’ve had two cases recently that sort of illustrate the point and I thought I’d talk with you today about them so you can sort of get a feel for what happens in these types of cases.
In the first case, a couple met online and, at the time, the non-citizen was living overseas. They chatted back and forth for several months and they really came to like each other so the non-citizen decided to come from Africa to visit the woman in the United States. They really hit it off and after a few months they decided to get married and they applied for adjustment of status based on that marriage.
They hired us to help them. We went through with them and showed them the list we have developed of all the kinds of evidence of a shared life you want to submit in these cases. Unfortunately the couple did not have a lot of this evidence when we got closer to the interview. Because the non-citizen hadn’t been able to get his work authorization as quickly as we had hoped, because CIS had sort of dragged their feet on it and because there wasn’t much lead time between when he got the work authorization and when the green card interview occurred, when the time came for the interview we didn’t have that much evidence that they lived together or that they had their shared life together
We had some pictures, we had some mail that had come to the house, we had opened a bank account and our client from Africa had gone and gotten a Missouri state ID. Other than that we didn’t have much so we were a little bit worried about it going into the interview. We spent a lot of time, I prepped these clients on two different occasions for over an hour each time going over the questions, talking about how to answer the questions truthfully and forcefully, how to not be apologetic or had asked like asking for a favor, to be completely confident in our positions.
We went to an interview last week, the clients did an amazing job in the interview, they were very forceful and truthful and believable and that was the most important thing and their case got approved. Our client’s green card is on the way.
The other case presented its own set of problems. In that case, the couple lived apart. It’s not absolutely essential that a couple live together in order to get a green card based on marriage case approved. It certainly helps and it certainly makes life a lot easier. In this particular case, the US citizen was still enrolled in school and the non-citizen had landed a really nice job down in Louisiana and had to live several states away from his wife. When we went to the interview, we didn’t have that much evidence that the couple was in fact married.
We did some affidavit testimony, we did some evidence showing that they had co-mingled some of their funds, they got insurance together, they had visited each other many times. Again it was not overwhelming evidence of a shared life. Again we spent a lot of time prepping the clients. Because the clients lived in two different cities we did these preps over Skype and it worked out perfectly. We went to the interview and the officer was questioning whether or not he had the evidence to prove the case. After the interview we submitted more evidence to demonstrate that it was a bonafide marriage and we were really happy to get in the mail yesterday an approval notice.
These cases are winnable, they are provable buy you really need to do your legwork and you really need to work with an experienced immigration attorney to help you get ready to both prepare the evidence that you need to submit and to attend the interview as strongly as you can. If you have any questions about spouse based green cards, if you want to know more about this, give us a call 314-961-8200 or you can email us at [email protected] Thanks so much.