One question we are frequently asked during our initial legal evaluations for cases involving “green cards” through marriage is: Why do I need a lawyer? For many reasons, a lawyer is necessary for the green card process.
You may not be eligible for a marriage-based green card following the traditional route.
The law and the government’s policies are complex.
For example, any prior criminal history, immigration violations (such as overstaying a past visa or working without authorization), information you listed on a mortgage, school, or job application, or a denial of a past visa or green card application, can impact your eligibility for a green card now.
If you are not eligible to complete the process the usual way, there may be alternative options for you. To avoid serious consequences, you need to have a plan in place before submitting any applications to the government.
The green card application process is not just about filling out forms.
This is a common misconception. The process is about knowing the law, the government’s policies, and how the bureaucracy works, and submitting the answers and evidence that the government expects to see. The government requires strict compliance with the rules, and unfortunately, they do not always make the rules clear.
Evidence is key. The government wants to see documentary evidence that your relationship is real. This can be a problem for all couples, especially those who have not been together long, have different cultural backgrounds or a significant age difference, who have lived apart, who do not share finances, etc.
Details matter. Your situation may seem similar to that friend of yours who already went through the process, but minor differences may make or break your case. You may think you know how to answer a question on a form or at the interview, but without a thorough knowledge of the law, you may get into trouble.
Preparation for and representation at the interview are important. If you know what to expect, you will be more relaxed, in the best position to answer questions and avoid any misconceptions, and in good hands if something goes wrong.
The law and the government’s policies are changing rapidly in a post-Trump world.
The experience your friend had with the process a year ago may not be the experience you will have now.
What if I do not hire a lawyer?
· If you were not eligible for a green card in the first place, you could be placed into deportation proceedings
· Your process could be delayed for months or even years
· A stressful second interview may be scheduled for you and your spouse, when one could have been avoided
· Your application could be denied on a technicality, and you would need to start again from scratch (including paying the substantial government filing fees again)
· Your application could be denied due to a misunderstanding, and you could be placed into deportation proceedings
We are here to help. To schedule an initial legal evaluation, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 415-496-9040.