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Passing the test to obtain a green card for your spouse

Immigration Services

Your marriage celebration may have been a momentous occasion for you, especially if it involved the traditions and customs of your spouse from another country. If you are a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident who married outside the U.S., you may have had goals from the beginning to bring your spouse to Kentucky. However, you may already know how complex the U.S. immigration system can be.

Because of the high rate of attempts to use family immigration as a way to obtain a green card unlawfully, agents at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services are always on the lookout for evidence that a marriage is fraudulent. You can expect to spend a great deal of time proving you are seeking lawful permanent residency in good faith, and this begins with demonstrating that your marriage is valid.

What does the U.S. consider valid?

While you may believe your marriage is true and valid, the real test is when you compare the circumstances of your wedding to the laws of the U.S. federal government. In most cases, the USCIS will consider your marriage to a foreign national to be valid if your spouse's country recognizes it as valid. This includes common law marriages and same-sex marriages, in most cases. However, the U.S. does not recognize any marriage between two people who are members of the same family.

Furthermore, the USCIS will want to know that you and your spouse are married only to each other. Even if your spouse's country permits marriage to multiple spouses and even if any additional spouses remain in the other country, the U.S. will not recognize your marriage as valid if one of you is legally married to more than one person. You or your spouse would have to divorce the other spouses and remarry each other for the marriage to be valid under U.S. law.

Is your marriage a fraud?

Perhaps the most challenging issue to face when seeking a green card for your spouse is whether your marriage is authentic. USCIS officials will thoroughly investigate your circumstances to determine if you are a true married couple or if you have married solely to obtain a green card for your spouse. Agents will interview you and require extensive documentation of your marriage. It can be a difficult and stressful process.

However, you have the right to legal counsel and guidance from the very beginning. An attorney who has extensive experience helping couples obtain green cards can improve your chances of reaching your goal of bringing your spouse to the U.S. with all the benefits lawful permanent residency offers.

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