Yakov Spektor explains when a person needs to leave USA to get a Green Card based on Marriage to a US Citizen, and when you can apply from within USA.
Marriage Green Cards are a popular topic in the realm of immigration law. They provide a legal pathway for foreign nationals married to U.S. citizens to obtain permanent residency. However, the process can be complex and fraught with potential legal issues. This blog post aims to shed light on when an individual needs to leave the U.S. to get a Marriage Green Card and when they can apply from within the country.
Understanding the Legality of Marriage Green Cards
Marriage Green Cards are a common pathway for non-U.S. citizens to obtain permanent residency in the United States. However, the process could be more complex than it may seem, and there are potential legal issues that applicants should be aware of.
Legal Issues Surrounding Marriage Green Cards
One of the most significant legal issues surrounding Marriage Green Cards is the potential for fraud. The U.S. government is aware that some individuals may enter into a marriage solely to obtain a Green Card, which is illegal. To combat this, immigration officials scrutinize marriage-based Green Card applications closely, and applicants may be required to provide substantial evidence to prove the legitimacy of their marriage.
Another legal issue is the potential for deportation if the application is denied. If an individual is in the U.S. illegally and applies for a Marriage Green Card, they may be placed in deportation proceedings if their application is rejected. This is a significant risk that should be carefully considered before applying.
The Importance of Proper Intent in Marriage Immigration
The intent behind the marriage is a crucial factor in the approval of a Marriage Green Card. The U.S. government requires that the union be bona fide, meaning it was entered into in good faith and not solely to obtain immigration benefits.
To determine the legitimacy of the marriage, immigration officials may conduct interviews and request evidence such as joint bank statements, photographs, and affidavits from friends and family. If the wedding is fraudulent, the applicant could face severe penalties, including deportation and a permanent bar from entering the U.S.
Applying for a Green Card from Within the U.S.
There are several circumstances under which an individual can apply for a green card from within the U.S. These include:
- Family-Based Immigration: If you are an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, such as a spouse, unmarried child under the age of 21, or parent (if the U.S. citizen is over 21), you can apply for a green card from within the U.S.
- Employment-Based Immigration: If you have received a job offer from a U.S. employer willing to sponsor you for a green card, you may be able to apply from within the U.S.
- Refugee or Asylee Status: If you have been granted refugee or asylee status at least one year ago, you can apply for a green card from within the U.S.
- Special Immigrant Categories: Certain categories of immigrants, such as religious workers, international broadcasters, and certain employees of international organizations, can apply for a green card from within the U.S.
Implications of Being Undocumented but Having Entered Legally
Applying for a green card from within the U.S. can be more complicated if you are undocumented but entered the country legally. This situation often arises when an individual enters the U.S. with a valid visa, such as a tourist or student visa, but then overstays the duration of the permit.
According to immigration law expert Yakov Spektor, even if you are currently undocumented, as long as you entered the U.S. legally (i.e., you were inspected at the border by a border officer and came here with a valid visa), you can apply for a green card from within the U.S. without having to leave the country. This is a significant point, as it means that individuals who have overstayed their visas but are now married to U.S. citizens, for example, can apply for a green card without leaving the U.S.
However, it’s important to note that this does not apply to individuals who entered the U.S. illegally, such as by crossing the border without inspection.
Applying for a Green Card from Outside the U.S.
There are several situations where you might need to apply for a Green Card from outside the U.S. These include:
- You currently reside in your home country: If you are not in the U.S., you must apply for a Green Card from your home country.
- You entered the U.S. illegally: If you entered the U.S. without inspection by an immigration officer, you might need to leave the U.S. and apply for a Green Card from your home country. This process is known as consular processing.
- You overstayed your visa: If you came to the U.S. legally but overstayed your visa, you might need to leave the U.S. and apply for a Green Card from your home country.
Process for Those Who Entered the U.S. Illegally
If you entered the U.S. illegally, the process for obtaining a Green Card is different and more complex. Here’s a general overview:
- Leave the U.S.: You must leave the U.S. and return to your home country to apply for a Green Card.
- Apply for a waiver: If you have been in the U.S. illegally for more than 180 days, you must apply for a waiver of inadmissibility before applying for a Green Card.
- Consular processing: You must go through consular processing, which involves an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country.
- Wait for a decision: After your interview, you will need to wait for a decision on your Green Card application. This can take several months or even years.
It’s important to note that this is a general overview, and the exact process can vary depending on your circumstances. It’s also worth noting that immigration law is complex and constantly changing, so it’s always a good idea to consult an experienced immigration attorney before starting the process.
Identifying the Right Route
The process of applying for a Marriage Green Card can vary significantly depending on whether you use it from within or outside the U.S. Understanding these differences and the deciding factors for each route is crucial. Factors such as your current immigration status, how you entered the U.S., and your marital status can all influence the best path for you.
Reaching Out for Specific Queries
Understanding the process of obtaining a Marriage Green Card is crucial for anyone considering this route. For more information, watch the full interview with Yakov Spektor.
If you have specific questions about your situation, don’t hesitate to contact Yakov Spektor for a consultation. Every case is unique, and understanding your circumstances is critical to successfully navigating the Marriage Green Card process.
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DISCLAIMER: This information is for reference only and might vary depending on your situation. Please always consult your lawyer for legal matters.