As a Las Vegas immigration lawyer dealing with marriage immigration cases, it is true that love knows no borders. Many bi-national couples have long and happy marriages. But it is also true that not every foreign national marries a US citizen or permanent resident with the best of intentions.
The conditional green card versus the 10 year green card
If a marriage is less than two years old when a person is admitted as a permanent resident the Department of Homeland Security DHS will issue a 2 year conditional green card. The foreign national will then have to timely file a joint petition Form I-751 together with required documents including evidence of a good faith marriage to stay in permanent resident status. The couple may be required to attend a 10 year green card interview.
But if the marriage is more than 2 years and the application for an immigrant visa is approved the DHS will issue a 10 year green card. No joint petition is required to remain permanently in the United States.
The fictional story that follows is based on real events.
Alexis a victim of immigration marriage fraud
Alexis a US born 35-year-old of Ukrainian descent had heard about immigration marriage fraud but did not pay much attention because it never affected him personally. In the summer of 2011 he went to Ukraine to see family and reconnect with his roots. There he met and married Oksana, a blue-eyed 22-year-old young student from Mukachevo. Oksana was different from the other young women he met. She seemed very humble and did not ask Alexis for much.
Shortly after their marriage Alexis returned to the United States to resume his employment. He wanted to file an immigration petition for Oksana immediately but Oksana encouraged him to wait until he could save up enough money from his job. In the meantime Alexis would wire money to Oksana every month to help with her living expenses and college tuition.
After several months Oksana became frustrated in his longing for Oksana and approached an immigration law firm because he did not understand the complicated paperwork to get Oksana to the United States. Alexis told the lawyer that he wanted Oksana to come to the United States as quickly as possible. The immigration lawyer explained the process to Alexis and asked to communicate with Oksana. For weeks it seemed as though Oksana was either unable to use her phone or the internet. Eventually the immigration lawyer spoke to her through a male interpreter who described himself as Oksana’s brother.
The lawyer was surprised to learn that Oksana was not happy that her husband had got a lawyer on the case. She told the lawyer that she was not in a rush to get to the United States as she was finishing up her degree. She said that it did not bother her that the process could take up to three years! She also said that she believed Alexis did not need to spend so much money on a lawyer. However Oksana reluctantly agreed to give the documents and information that the lawyer requested.
Oksana was very slow in giving the information and documents requested by the lawyer. She was slow in answering emails and her phone was often out of service. She however was always able to contact Alex to get her money transfers. This dragged on for a few months. Furthermore, the case changed attorneys because the first attorney assigned to the case left the firm.
Fourteen months after the marriage Alexis eventually saved up enough money to make a trip to Ukraine for two weeks to see Oksana. It is on that trip that Oksana realized that she could not do without Alexis and longed to live with him in the United States. But Alexis had heard rumors that Oksana was unfaithful. Oksana convinced him that the rumors were malicious and caused by a friend who was jealous of her marriage. On Alexis’ return to the United States the wheels were in motion. Alexis was ready to come to the United States. The USCIS approved her petition in 8 months and she attended her immigrant visa interview six weeks later.
The US consulate issued Oksana an IR1 immigrant visa because on the date of the interview her marriage to Alexis was a little over 2 years old. Oksana entered the United States at as a permanent resident and began living with Alexis. In two weeks Oksana disappeared. Over her cellphone she told Alexis that she only married him to come to America and that now that she had her 10 year green card she did not need him anymore.
If you suspect that you could be a victim of immigration marriage fraud or you are a foreign national charged with immigration marriage fraud you need to understand your legal options. Call me, Las Vegas immigration attorney Gary Goodin at 702-423-2721 for a consultation.