If you are the unmarried son or daughter of a petitioner, lawful permanent resident or U.S. citizen and intend on immigrating to the U.S. as the person’s beneficiary, you must wait to marry until after the petition has been approved. Countless young adults have gotten married not knowing that it can destroy their eligibility for a U.S. green card.
Applicants Must Maintain Eligibility During the U.S. Green Card Process And Until Completed
U.S. immigration law states that everyone must not only qualify for a U.S. green card when an I-130 Petition has been filed but must also keep eligibility until permanent residence has been acquired. If you have been living abroad you will need to stay unmarried until you are able to enter the U.S. with an immigrant visa.
In some instances, depending on the visa category, marrying will completely nullify the application procedure. In other visa classifications you drop into a lower eligibility category causing the application process to delay many years.
Did You Know That If a Child Gets Married It Can Harm His or Her Immigrant Visa Application?
An unmarried child of a US citizen, under 21 years of age, receives an approved I-130 petition as an immediate relative (a category in which unlimited numbers of green cards are available). However, he or she gets married in the months before the green is approved. This is what is going to happen:
- The marriage drops the child into the Family Third Preference Visa Category, for which only 23,400 visas are available each year, thus the child will have a long wait for a green card; approximately ten years
- The unmarried child of a U.S. lawful permanent resident, under 21 years of age is granted an approved I-130 petition in a subcategory 2A of the Family Second Preference Category (for which only 114,200 green cards are available each year, split between subcategory 2A and 2B. After waiting for like two years for a visa, the family is almost ready to receive a green card. However, the child gets married. That child is no longer eligible for a green card. His or her best chance is to wait until one of his or her parents becomes a U.S. citizen and can file a Family Third Preference application on the child’s behalf
- The unmarried child, over the age of 21, of a U.S. citizen, obtains an approved I-130 in the Family First Preference category (for which only 23,400 green cards are accessible each year). The child must wait approximately seven years until a visa becomes available in that category, during which the child gets married. That means the child will drop to the Family Third Preference visa category, which another 23,400 are available each year, but wait time for a green card tends to be even longer; probably another three years
The marriage issue can be a problem for many young foreign nationals immigrating to the U.S. who might grow up into adulthood while waiting for a visa and do not want to put their marriages on hold. However, every applicant must understand the consequences of getting married before an immigrant visa has been issued.
Don’t Hide an Applicant’s Marriage From U.S. Immigration Authorities
Several hundreds if not thousands of applicants have hidden facts about their wedding. For instance, if a child marries after their visa interview but before entering the U.S. with an immigrant visa, how will anyone know about their new marriage?
No matter how long it takes, sooner or later they will be discovered for concealing vital information. U.S. immigration authorities will look at the applicant’s file in its entirety, especially when submitting an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative to bring their spouse into the country (which requires them to submit a copy of their marriage certificate) or when they apply to become a U.S. citizen.
Committing fraud to acquire a U.S. visa by concealing one’s marriage is grounds for a denial and for removal from the U.S.
I Got Married During My Immigrant Visa Process. Do I Need to Speak With An Immigration Attorney?
If you have any questions, or have petitioned for a green card as an unmarried child despite having been married beforehand, it is best to see a well seasoned immigration attorney. Schedule an office appointment with Gambacorta Law Office’s through our website or by calling 847 443 9303.