Marriage allows those who come to U.S. on visitor’s visas to change status, interview for green card
|Marriage allows those who come to U.S. on visitor’s visas to change status, interview for green card|
Q. I came here on a visitor’s visa and I plan to marry a U.S. citizen. I am concerned that my visitor’s stay will expire before my green card interview. If that happens, will I face problems?
I came from Guyana on a visit and met a lady who I want to marry. My wife-to-be says that if we marry and I apply to adjust status to permanent resident, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services won’t penalize me for overstaying. I’m skeptical.
Ayodeji, Staten Island
A. Your future wife must be reading my column. USCIS won’t penalize you, even if your status expires before you apply for your green card or USCIS interviews you.
Most foreign nationals who come here legally and marry a U.S. citizen can adjust status and interview for a green card while in the United States. USCIS won’t penalize the applicant even if he or she has overstayed or worked without permission.
Only a few categories of lawful nonimmigrants can’t adjust status — including those who enter with crewmen visas, individuals who were in transit to another country and admitted to the U.S. without a visa, and those who entered on fiancé or fiancée visas but do not marry the U.S. citizen who brought them here.
Q. My U.S. citizen wife and I have been living apart for the past five years, traveling regularly to be together. Can I get my green card despite our living apart?
Name withheld, New York
A. If you can prove regular visits with your wife or that you lived together before the separation, USCIS should find that yours is a bona fide marriage despite your separation.
When considering a marriage case, USCIS has the right to view the fact that a couple is living apart as potential evidence that a marriage is not bona fide. In any event, the law requires USCIS to consider only the couple’s intentions at the time they married.