Obtaining the status of permanent resident of the USA (Green Card) is the main goal for many immigrants. There are several quick ways to achieve that goal.
This is the fastest way to immigrate. Typically, the process lasts from six to nine months, after which a temporary Green Card is received. Within the next two years, you must contact the USCIS again with proof of the validity of the marriage. After that, you can obtain permanent resident status, i.e., a permanent Green Card.
Immigration through family reunification can take from nine months up to five years. The fastest option is the reunion of closest relatives with a U.S. citizen who is a parent, spouse, or unmarried children under 21 years.
Obtaining asylum in the United States enables the applicant to get a Green Card within one year after successfully completing an interview with an immigration officer. Due to recent changes in the asylum process, an interview with an officer is usually scheduled within two months after the petition is filed, which, in the case of an approved petition, makes the process of obtaining a Green Card very quick.
EB-1 immigration visas for individuals with extraordinary abilities have a high priority, so petitions are usually processed rapidly. If you apply for an EB-1A or B visa using premium processing (an additional expense), you can obtain a Green Card within one year of the approval of the petition. When applying for an EB-1C visa for outstanding managers and directors, the may be as long as 18 to 24 months.
An EB-5 investment visa involves obtaining a temporary Green Card for 12 to 18 months. A permanent Green Card may be obtained in approximately five to six years from the date of the petition. For an investor, there are many options on how to stay in the United States until you become a permanent resident.
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Disclaimer: The article contains general information and does not include legal advice on a particular case.
I also wanted to talk a little bit abut complications of getting a green card and keeping a green card through marriage.
Let’s assume that you’ve been given a temporary green card through marriage, most of the green cards that you’ll be given will be for a two year period. If you’ve been married for less than two years when you apply for the green card then your green card will be temporary and you’ll have to apply at the two year mark or shortly before the two year mark for a removal of the temporary condition to get a permanent green card.
This means you have to be married with the same person who assisted you in getting your green card in the first place.
Sometimes this happens, sometimes it doesn’t happen – generally the safest way is to remain married to your husband or wife and you can apply together for the removal of your green card.
However, there are certain times when the marriage isn’t working out. Not anybody’s fault, it just isn’t working out, but you can still get a green card. What you should remember is try and be together as long as you can for a minimum of 6 or 8 months or if not a year, a year and a half. You should be collecting documentation that will show that you have been living together. Suggested documentation that should continue to collect and save would be joint bank accounts that are used, joint credit cards that are used, drivers insurance covering two people, drivers license showing the same address, health insurance covering two people, income tax returns for a two year period.
Now, all of this goes part of the way towards indicating that the marriage, while it lasted, was a valid marriage.
Without this, you may have a difficult time convincing the immigration officials (who may be interviewing you when you apply for a removal of your conditional or temporary green card) you may have a difficult time convincing them that your marriage is a real marriage so it’s important to collect documents.
Now, let’s say the marriage is not working out and you want to apply for a removal of your conditional – if the marriage is not working out you should apply for divorce, and actually a divorce should be completed before you file. My own suggestion would be try and keep the marriage going but if it doesn’t go, don’t file until you’re divorced, don’t file while you’re filing for divorce – file when you’ve completed your divorce.
I don’t know what the logic of this is, but it is immigration law that states this.
In any case, the importance of marriage, maintaining the marriage during this period is extremely important and necessary.
Now, let’s say you marry somebody. Your husband or wife helps you get a green card. Three or four months later, you meet somebody else – maybe your marriage isn’t that firm. You fall in love with somebody else and you think, ‘well, I can divorce right away and my second husband or my second wife will assist me in getting a green card.’
This is a no-no because it is the fist marriage that counts. Not the second, the third marriage, it’s only the first marriage that counts.
The USCIS wants to be at least certain that your first marriage was valid, was a real marriage and… if it’s not, if it doesn’t last that long, you may have some problems.
In no case should you get divorced and marry somebody else too quickly with the expectation or the thought that its okay that the first marriage is not working out, the second marriage will be sufficient or will be enough to get me a green card. This is not the case.
Oh yes, another thing I wanted to mention was when should you marry?
Let’s say you come to the united states and you come on a visitors visa, a B1,B2 visa. Should you get married right away and apply for a green card? The answer is definitely no because if you come on a visitor visa, you get married too quickly, immigration department has the suspicion that you were lying – that your real intention was not to be a visitor, a tourist, but was just to get a visitor or a tourist visa to come over here with the intention of marrying somebody.
That’s considered dual intention and is considered to be a misrepresentation. So, if you are in the situation where you are coming over on a B1,B2 visa, and you have a boyfriend or girlfriend, my strategic advice would be don’t marry too weekly. Wait at least 60, even more, 75 days before you get married and then apply for a green card because if you get married too quickly before thirty days, the presumption is that you had intent to marry when you came over on a tourist visa.
More than thirty days is a lot safer but in my view not safe enough. My own advice to my clients is don’t get married before 60 or even better 75 days before you come. That would be the safest time to get married.
Now, how did you meet your husband or wife? There’s nothing wrong with meeting on the internet. Traditionally, the most common way you met your husband or wife was through parties, through friends, through church, synagogue, mosque but now the more common way most of my clients (I won’t say most, but many) meet on the internet and there is nothing wrong with this.
Immigration department officials know that this is the way people meet and get married so there is nothing wrong if you are on the internet looking for a Russian wife or a Chinese wife or a Russian or Chinese husband – absolutely nothing wrong with that.
They key thing when you do marry, however you meet your husband or your wife, the key thing is to make absolutely certain to try and make the marriage last as long as possible. These are the major difficult points which I think you should be aware of. I am happy when anyone consults with me to give them further advice or further information on specific situations but these are the key critical danger and difficult points.
Thank you very much.
Good afternoon. I’d like to introduce myself first. I am Allan Samson. I am an immigration attorney and I am also a professor in the San Francisco Bay Area. I do two things. I specialized in several aspects in immigration law and I’d like to talk about those aspects now.
First I am going to consider getting a green card. You can get a green card in several ways. The easiest way is through a job or through family relationship. Family relationship I mean marriage to a U.S. citizen; by getting a job I mean getting a job which is in generally short supply with another considered not being qualified Americans and the international business person, or international employee has a chance to get a green card in this way. So let’s take one step at a time.
First, immigration to family law. As I mentioned the easiest way perhaps marriage to an American citizen but it’s also the most dangerous way. If I am going to give you one piece of advice that you should remember is: Your marriage must be a valid bona fide marriage, must not be entered into only for immigration purpose to get a green card. Because if USCIS determines that your marriage is a false marriage or a fake marriage, this can permanently prevent you from ever coming into the United States again for the rest of your life. I know you are smart but the immigration officials are probably just as smart as you are. And they had years of experience learning how to interview you, learning for situations where hesitance is involved, where you are not too sure of your answer, and follow up with secondary questions which will further leading you into a trap. The trap in admission or they are feeling somehow your marriage is a fake marriage, this is probably a real marriage but it’s a fake marriage. Other things they are known to do is not to give you a decision right away, tell you this decision will be come later on. And call you in for a second interview which they separate you from your wife or from your husband.
They ask you the same questions only you don’t know the questions are asked to your husband or your wife. And they want to see if you answer them the same way. For example, what did you have for dinner the night before? Where do you sleep? Do you sleep in the same room? Do you sleep in one bed or two beds? If you sleep in one bed, what’s side the bed you are on? Where is your toothpaste located? Is there a television in your bedroom? If so where is the television set? Is there a nightstand next to your bed? If so is it on your husband’s side, your wife’s side, or both sides? All of those questions if the couple does not actually live together they are gonna make mistakes. They will not be able to answer the questions consistently. Other similar questions might be: What was the last movie you saw? What was the last restaurant you went to? Or who cooked dinner the night before the interview? What did you have for dinner? Who usually goes to bed first? So as you can see all these questions if you actually are married in a valid marriage and you actually are living together, you do not really have to think, the quick answers come naturally. Honesty is the best policy. Honesty is the policy which does not arise any suspicion. If you are not married or if it’s not a real marriage or if it’s a pretended marriage, you probably will not be able to answer these questions consistently. And this will call for usually a second interview. Sometimes before or after the second interview, USCIS will do a surprise visit to your house at 5 or 6 in the morning to see if you are really home, if you are really living together with your husband or wife. So you can see all these are dangerous points. Well if I can give you one single piece of advice: Do not marry just for immigration purpose. It’s likely that you will be caught. It’s likely that your answers will be inconsistent. And as I said before if UCISC determines that your marriage is a fraud marriage, it will probably prevent you from not only ever getting a green card but will probably prevent you from ever coming back to the United States. So that’s dangerous point.