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Obtaining citizenship through marriage may be easier now

On Behalf of | Dec 15, 2018 | Immigration Law

People can secure legal residence status or citizenship in the United States through a number of different methods. Some people enter the United States for work opportunities. Other people are able to come because a member of their direct family has entered the United States. It is also possible for people to move to the United States and seek citizenship because they marry someone who is a U.S, citizen.

For decades, those entering the United States through marriage visa programs have had to overcome many obstacles in order to finalize the process. In addition to lengthy wait times between the initial entry of the United States and the removal of conditions from their visa, those who enter the U.S. because of marriage to a citizen usually also have to go through a rigorous vetting process that includes verbal interviews.

Those who hope to seek U.S. residency or citizenship through marriage will be excited to learn that, in some cases, the requirements for the process have changed.

Interviews may no longer be necessary

For green card holders who came to the United States due to marriage, the final interview that results in removing conditions for that green card is often nerve-wracking. Spouses typically wind up separated for the interview process, and the interviewer may ask many intense and highly personal questions about the individual, their spouse and their marriage.

The intent of this process is to determine if the parties have engaged in a fraudulent marriage as a way of sidestepping immigration requirements. However, the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) has updated its procedures, including its stance on those final interviews.

There are now situations in which couples where one spouse holds a green card can avoid that final, frightening interview. Provided that there is adequate evidence that the marriage is authentic, there is no indication of fraud on any immigration paperwork and that USCIS has already engaged in an interview with the green card holder, USCIS now has the ability to waive that interview process.

This updated process could make immigration easier for some

Even couples who have a deep bond and connection with one another can struggle to answer some of the invasive and personal questions that USCIS asks in these interviews. Couples may resort to studying flash cards in order to fully memorize important details, such as the other person’s favorite movie.

Now, fewer people will have to worry about the interview process and using that time to convince someone from the USCIS that the marriage is valid and not fraudulent. Anyone hoping to gain residency or citizenship in the United States should familiarize themselves with the process for the Visa program they intend to use. After all, as this sudden change in policy shows, immigration procedures change with some frequency.