Immigration and family law: Marriage

By: Leslie Barrows December 6, 2017 no comments

Immigration and family law: Marriage

Immigration and family law questions are common among many new people moving to Southlake, Fort Worth and all over Tarrant County and Texas from all over the United States and overseas nations. We receive questions from U.S. citizens who want to get married to another who is not yet a legal resident or citizen. It is common to seek advice from immigration and family law attorneys before getting married. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website contains information on point and answers to frequently asked questions similar to the following brief overview.

Validity of the Marriage

A common immigration and family law question is whether a marriage performed overseas is valid and recognized in the U.S. For immigration purposes, the rules are similar to family law in that a marriage ceremony performed which is legally recognized as a bona fide marriage in another jurisdiction and country will be recognized as a valid marriage in the U.S., and here in Texas.

Proving Marital Union

In the immigration code there is a specific requirement that a person seeking permanent residence through marriage must live with the other spouse in a “marital union.” The USCIS website contains the regulations and definitions used in proving marital union[i].

Conditional Permanent Residence

Conditional permanent residence is a common immigration and family law issues. Conditional green cards are available to permanent residents in marriages until two years after the marriage at which time the conditional status may be removed. The purpose of the conditional status is to prevent fraudulent marriages. The conditional card is not renewable, and the applicant must file a petition to remove conditions within 90 days of the expiration date of that conditional green card[ii].

Terminating a Beneficiary’s Status

The beneficiary of a legal resident status will not lose their status if they remain married and are living separately. If, however, the status is conditional, USCIS could inquire about the living situation in effort to prevent fraud. If the married couple is divorced, the resident beneficiary loses legal status and may not remain lawfully in the U.S. without another source of legal status.

It is common for foreign legal residents to consult and worth with both an immigration and family law attorney to assist with the dual systems of law that can affect their legal matters.

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[i] U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Marital Union.

[ii] U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Conditional Permanent Residence.

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