September 29, 2008: Should This Couple Get Married And File For Residency?

Should This Couple Get Married And File For Residency?

I have been with my African fiancee for two and a half years. We’ve been engaged for a year now. He has a Ph.D and is 44 years old. I am 51. He’s been here (USA) for about 4-5 years and has been denied twice for a green card.(reasons I’m not sure of). He has an immigration lawyer that is working on his case. We want to get married but he’s afraid that since his case has been going on so long that immigration will think that he’s only getting married now so that he can get his green card.

We were originally waiting for him to get his green card first before we get married but since it’s taking years. We figured that we have a 2 year relationship going on that’s legitimate and we are in love and have pictures from different events we attended together from 2006 onwards and people that can prove that our relationship is a true one (even our church pastor) but he’s afraid that they still will cause problems for him. What can we do?

Do you think that us getting married now will hurt his case or cause immigration to raise their eyebrows thinking that it’s an arranged marriage? His lawyer told him that we can get married but he can’t guarantee that immigration won’t suspect something. I feel that we have nothing to hide and our love is true so why not just do the darn thing. Thanks.
— Anonymous

You are welcome. The fact that your fiance’s case has been denied twice for reasons you are not sure of is extremely troublesome. What kinds of petitions were filed for him, and what are the basis for the denials? There are many types of immigration petitions, and many reasons for denial. Some denials result in a fraud finding. Others result in a permanent bar to having any further petitions filed for the person. Yet others result in the institution of deportation proceedings against the person. Each denial may have ramifications if the person wishes to file again. Therefore, it is impossible for me to tell you whether a petition based on your marriage will result in his getting his permanent residency.

Clearly, the intent of your marriage is bona fide, based on your representations. But that is only one of many criteria that qualifies a person for permanent residency. He must be “otherwise eligible.” Something in his immigration history may render him ineligble. Before giving any advise on a matter such as this, I would first need to carefully review both denials and obviously speak with you and your fiance. Only then would I be able to offer competent legal counsel in this matter. I trust this adequately answers your questions.

Michael Shane and Evan Shane, Immigration Lawyers