Red Flags at Your Marriage/Green Card Interview
☝ If you are preparing for your Green Card interview, here are a few notes I’ve accumulated over the years that would serve as red flags to USCIS. If you avoid these mistakes, you’ll have a better idea of if know if your green card interview went well.
🚩 RED FLAGS – TIPS FOR MISTAKES TO AVOID AT YOUR GREEN CARD INTERVIEW
🔶 Different addresses
IDs of the spouses show different addresses. USCIS will check your address history. USCIS cares that you’ve lived under the same roof most of the time, and if you don’t – that’s a huge red flag.
🔶 No shared language
If the couple can’t talk to each other in any meaningful way, how can they really build a shared life together? How do you discuss your lives, your relationship, even legal aspects of marriage together if you don’t share at least one language in common?
If you don’t pass the interview, the government may issue a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID), which means that the government plans to deny your application for a Green Card. Make sure you can show evidence of your loving relationship.
🔶 Big age difference
People of different ages certainly fall in love and get married. Does age affect a Green Card application?
When combined with other red flags, it could represent a compromise by someone who is either interested in obtaining a green card or in being paid to help someone else do so. A relationship age gap bigger than 10 years often comes with its own set of issues, but if you can prove a loving relationship, you can prove that the relationship is real.
🔶 Difference in religions
How does religion affect immigration?
Because religious beliefs are important and fundamental to many people’s approach to life and daily behavior, the U.S. government has serious doubts about petitions filed by people of different religions who have married.
🔶 Same house, but no actual interaction – you don’t know each other’s schedules
If, for instance, your work and other schedules are set up so that you are never home at the same time, or share a bed, the U.S. government will wonder whether that was intentional.
🔶 Different social class or cultural background
People of different wealth levels or place in society often get married, too.
Nevertheless, the U.S. government will be curious to know more about how this occurred, and whether this is true love or not. To prove a bona fide marriage, you need evidence of the loving time you and your spouse spend together.
🔶 Difference in race
You can see a pattern here: Any time a couple doesn’t share basic characteristics, it raises questions in the eyes of U.S. immigration authorities.
They will ask you questions like:
❓ Where was your first date?
❓ When did your relationship turn romantic?
❓ How long was it before you decided to get married?
❓ Who proposed to whom?
❓ Why did you decide to have a long or short engagement?
Confidently answering these questions shows that you love one another and are not going through with a fraudulent marriage.
🔶 Unequal educational background
Studies show that most women don’t believe they could admire a man less educated than they; and that men put intelligence and education at number five on their ranking of desirable qualities in a mate. So if one person in the couple is highly educated and the other not, expect questions.
There is not often a correlation between varying educational levels between spouses.
🔶 Secret marriage
If you haven’t told your friends and family about your union, USCIS will wonder whether it’s because you don’t want them to get all excited about a marriage that you plan to end as soon as the immigrant gets a green card.
Remember: knowingly entering into a marriage for the purpose of evading immigration law can lead to imprisonment or a fine of up to $250,000.
🔶 All-too-convenient timing of marriage
A large number of marriages happen after an undocumented person in the U.S. is caught and placed into removal proceedings, or before someone on a nonimmigrant visa is reaching the date by which he or she must leave the United States. (One can apply for a green card based on marriage as a defense to deportation.)
You will have to explain why you didn’t choose to marry until it became a matter of urgency.
🔶 Attempts to manufacture evidence of shared life right before USCIS interview
You will be asked to provide evidence of joint accounts, assets, memberships, and so on. Those items will likely have dates showing when they were begun.
If the dates are mere weeks before the green card or visa interview date, it will create suspicion that you were trying to make your case look good rather than taking natural steps to join your lives.
🔶 Marriage soon after you met
Most people like to take at least several months to consider getting married. If you got married after only a few meetings or weeks, the government will wonder whether the cause was the heat of romance or, say, money. If you got married solely for legalization/citizenship, remember that it is illegal to marry someone for a green card.
🔶 Marriage soon after one person’s divorce
Again, a marriage by someone who was presumably not free to date until recently could indicate that the “courtship” was suspiciously short. (Or you might have to prove the existence of a long affair!)
🔶 History of U.S. petitioner sponsoring other spousal immigrants
If the U.S. citizen or permanent resident has married and petitioned for one or more other immigrants in the past, it stands to reason that those marriages ended in divorce.
Did that mean a real marriage fell apart, or was the earlier marriage(s) nothing more than a green card scam? And now, since the petitioner didn’t get caught the first time around, is he or she trying it again? Definitely expect heavy questioning in this situation.
🔶 Noncitizen comes from a country with a history of immigration fraud
The U.S. government keeps track of which countries’ citizens commit visa or other immigration fraud at high rates. Though it’s not your fault, if the immigrant spouse comes from one of these countries, he or she will face extra scrutiny.
🔶 No joint children of your marriage if woman spouse is of childbearing age
Giving birth to children is not a requirement of marriage, but having no children can be seen an added negative factor in an otherwise questionable case.
🔶 Impoverished U.S. citizen or resident petitioner
If the U.S. member of the couple lacks a job or is apparently in desperate need of money, U.S. immigration authorities might wonder whether he or she is looking to make some quick bucks through a fraudulent marriage.
🔶 History of crimes, fraud, or lies by either spouse
Anyone who has committed past illegal acts might be looked at as more likely or willing to enter into marriage fraud.
🔶 Dealing With Red Flags in Your Green Card Application
Clearly, any or many of the above factors might be present in a perfectly real marriage. And couples whose cases present no red flags could nevertheless be given a hard time by U.S. immigration decision-makers.
✅ Prepare together with your spouse.
✅ Set up joint paperwork way ahead of the interview.
✅ Set up a joint bank account and use it regularly.
✅ File joint/married tax returns.
✅ Keep joint utility bills.
✅ Keep itineraries and trip tickets for joint trips.
✅ Have good photos together with your spouse and family and friends from different times, at different locations, with different clothes on, having different people in the photos with you.
✅ Show continuity of your relationship with joint documents, photos, travel together, etc.
If you or a loved one are looking to get a Green Card through marriage (for a real marriage/loving relationship), give us a call at Shepelsky Law: 718-769-6352. If you know someone who is fraudulently going through marriage for a Green Card, it puts real relationships at stake by undermining the process.
☎️ You can call USCIS at 1-800-375-5283 to report the fraudulent conduct.
Shepelsky Law Group
US Immigration Experts