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Obtaining a Green Card by Marriage: 5 Things You Should Know

Just about all of us have watched a movie or television program where someone talked about marrying someone else so that the individual could obtain their green card. But the reality is that this isn’t something that just happens onscreen. This is also something that transpires on a regular basis within the United States too.

And while there are some people who legitimately fall in love with a person who is not a citizen and a green card is applied for so that they can remain together, there are also a lot of individuals who do this strictly for fraudulent purposes.

So, if you’re someone who’s always been curious about what legal steps must be taken in order to obtain a green card by marriage, we have provided you with a list of five things that you should know below:

Your marriage must be legitimate. When you’re preparing to get married and you or your partner needs a green card, you can be certain that you are going to be interviewed in order to make sure that the relationship between you is based on true love and not simply a reason to obtain the card. Something that’s important to keep in mind is that marriage fraud is actually considered to be a federal crime. So, if you or your partner is found guilty of it, the U.S. citizen could spend up to five years in prison and have to pay a $250,000 while the non-citizen will be deported and banned from coming back to the States for approximately 10 years.

Your marriage must be legal. Something else that will be looked into is if both you and your partner are actually “free to marry”. By this we mean that both of you are not currently married to someone else and if you either of you once were, that the divorce is finalized and a decree is in your possession.

You must have entered into the United States with an inspection. Before entering into the United States, something that all non-citizens are required to do is to have an inspection. If this did not transpire, you or your partner may not be eligible to submit an application that would make you an immediate relative as the direct result of getting married. So yes, getting an inspection is paramount.

You must be admissible. If you were to ask a law firm like Goodin Law P.A. about something else that you should know about obtaining citizenship as it relates to getting a green card by marriage, one of the things that they would probably tell you is that you or your partner must be admissible. What this means is that if you or they have committed certain crimes or have been found guilty of participating in certain types of illicit activity, it could make you (or them) what is considered to be “inadmissible” and hinder you from getting a green card.

You must carefully prepare your application. Although getting a green card through marriage is what can make you a permanent resident of the United States, at the same time, if your application is not done properly, it can also result in you being removed from America. So, whomever is filling out the application, it’s important that it’s done thoroughly before turning it in. For more information on green cards, visit Nolo and put “how to get a green card” in the search field.


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