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Do’s and Don’ts for the Green Card Petition Process

The process of obtaining a green card can be long and challenging. Married couples seeking to obtain a green card for one of the spouses should keep in mind the following do’s and don’ts for the green card petition process.

  • Submit timely petition documents with the necessary supporting information.

  • Be prepared for your interview with US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). Dress professionally and review your green card application prior to the interview. Spend some time reviewing the facts and circumstances of your relationship with your spouse prior to the interview, including where and how you met, how the relationship developed, who proposed, and things that you like to do together.

  • Be patient. The process of obtaining a green card can be a long one. In some cases, the USCIS officer will approve your application and stamp the passport of the immigration spouse at the interview and, within 30 days, the immigrant spouse will receive the official green card in the mail. In other cases, the USCIS will not have adequate time to perform all of the necessary security checks on an applicant so the case will be marked as “pending security checks,” with the applicant required to check back periodically regarding status. And in some cases, the USCIS will request additional documents or a subsequent interview.

  • Consult with an immigration lawyer who understands the process of obtaining a marriage-based green card.

Petitioners for a marriage-based green card SHOULD NOT:

  • Do not, under any circumstances, lie on your application, supporting documents, or during the interview with immigration officials. You will be asked to take an oath of truthfulness at your interview with USCIS officials and violating this oath will not only result in a denial of your petition, but could also result in criminal charges and fines.

  • Do not miss filing deadlines or be unprepared for your USCIS interview.

  • Do not be offended by personal questions asked throughout the process. Part of the review process for marriage-based green cards is for the USCIS to determine whether the foreign national and his or her spouse are a legitimate couple and that the couple wasn’t married for the sole purpose of obtaining a green card. As a result, USCIS officials may ask personal information about both spouses and their relationship.

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