Falling in love across the U.S. border may feel like a dream come true, especially if you always wanted to become a citizen. You may have known your spouse for many years, or you may have just met. Regardless, you may believe that you have a clear path to citizenship now that you have wed a citizen.
However, marriage may not result in U.S. citizenship or even a green card in some instances. Take a look at some of the issues you should prepare yourself for now in case the government does not grant you entry or residency.
You must demonstrate the marriage is the real deal
Some people view green card marriages more as a business transaction than a viable partnership. One of the crucial steps in gaining citizenship in this way is to prove your marriage is legitimate. Through a series of application questions and then an interview, you and your spouse must demonstrate:
- The marriage is consensual
- The coupling was not for the sole purpose of citizenship
- The relationship has lasting power
- The marriage is legal
Getting through this hurdle is essential to getting a green card.
Your criminal record matters
You may believe that certain legal infractions in another company do not need disclosing on your application. Perhaps you think it is no longer viewable or was too minor to warrant disclosing. However, during your green card interview, your fingerprints will go through an international database. There are very few crimes that do not turn up, and if you fail to note any detainments or convictions, you may not get your green card.
Where you apply for your green card holds weight
Entering the country on a temporary visa means you will likely reside in the U.S. when you file your green card application. You may apply once you enter the country legally. You may also apply in your home country. If you wait to apply after crossing the border without the proper paperwork or get in trouble for living in the U.S. without residency paperwork, it may thwart your green card efforts.