How to Prepare a Winning Marriage Application

How to Prepare a Winning Marriage Application

Marriage to an American citizen is the most common method foreign nationals use to obtain permanent residence or green card status in the United States. It is also the method that is most often abused.

Because of the high incidence of fraud, USCIS officials carefully scrutinize all marriage applications (and their related adjustment of status applications) to ensure that the marriage is bona fide and not entered into merely for immigration purposes.

Here are our tips for preparing and filing a successful marriage application:

  1. Tell the truth – We have seen cases where people have entered into perfectly legitimate marriages, but because they provided false information on their applications did not obtain a green card. Fraud is prevalent is this area of immigration law and USCIS assumes that any incorrect information included in a marriage application is the product of fraud. Absent a compelling excuse for why the wrong information was included in the application USCIS will deny the petition.
  2. Disclose everything – This one is a corollary to number 1, above. If you had an arrest when you were 16 years old and you fail to disclose it on the application – even though that arrest may not have precluded you from obtaining a green card – USCIS will deny your application. Again, USCIS assumes that omissions are lies and governs itself accordingly. This is just one of the many reasons you should have an experienced immigration lawyer prepare your marriage application. He will ensure that there are no omissions or incorrect statements included in the application which may be used by USCIS as a pretext for denying your green card.
  3. Packaging counts – USCIS handles thousands of marriage applications every month, most of which are incomplete and disorganized. This means more work for the USCIS official assigned to evaluate your application. You only have one chance to make a first impression and the intitial application is it. At PG we package all of our marriage applications optimally to ensure approval. Consider the plight of the overworked and underpaid USCIS official who has just trudged his way through his 20th shoddily prepared and incomplete marriage application.  Now, he picks up the 21st application and it’s in perfect order, it contains no errors or misinformation, and it is well-documented. Which application do you think he is more likely to grant?
  4. Document everything – One of the most frequently cited reasons for denying a marriage application is the absence of adequate documentary disclosures. A winning application will contain the following documents:

A.  Birth certificate of the petitioning spouse officially translated into English

B.  Birth certificate of the foreign national officially translated into English

C.  Court certified divorce documents showing the termination of all prior marriages of both spouses

D.  Birth certificates of all children of the married couple officially translated into English

E.  Court certified copies of all criminal records, if any, of the foreign national

F.  A propertly prepared and documented Affidavit of Support




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