Author Topic: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage  (Read 70517 times)

PencilThinStash

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$15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« on: March 06, 2015, 07:07:46 AM »
I can't decide if this is depressing, hilarious, or a brilliant financial move. Thought I'd share so some of you can get a kick out of it, too. Names have been changed to protect the innoce... well... potential felons, if we're being honest.

My friend Sarah wanted my advice the other day, because a guy she's known for a while, George, is living in the US illegally. I guess his visa expired a while back, and for some reason he couldn't renew it. George makes significantly more money here than he ever could back in his home country, but he's worried about being deported and can't leave the country to see his family without giving up his life here.

So George asked Sarah to be his Green Card Wife. It would require 2 years of marriage before they could get divorced and go their separate ways. Strictly platonic, but she'd have to put her own love life on hold for 2 years so that things look legitimate if the government came snooping. In exchange, he's offered to pay her expenses for the duration of the marriage (rent/utilities/etc), plus a $15k lump sum up front. He travels for work, and owns several places around the country, so she could live wherever she wanted, would never even have to see him.

Now obviously, it's a felony if they get caught. Up to $250k fine and 5 years in prison.

I've known Sarah since we were 12, and I'm 95% sure she's not ballsy enough to go through with it. During our conversation, she was freaking out about how she'd never be able to tell anybody, including her parents. From a business perspective, though, I think it's a great move. She's in roughly $20k of student loan debt, with a job that doesn't pay particularly well, and she's been struggling to turn her financial life around for the last few years. If she played her cards right, she could pay off her debt and build a semi-decent savings, even on her minimal salary. This could be a major break.

Granted, if someone made me that offer, I'd shoot it down. Not that I care about the legality (I don't - rules are for people who don't know what they're doing. Sorry for being a bad American and letting you down, Gipper), it's strictly that putting my love life on hold for 2 years doesn't jive with my 5-10 year plan. If I had different end goals, though... damn, it'd be tempting.

So I'll ask my fellow single 20somethings: For $15k and 2 years of paid expenses, what would you do?

rocksinmyhead

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2015, 07:14:00 AM »
I agree with your assessment. well, I'm not single anyway, but if I were I wouldn't want to put my love life on hold for 2 years. but I think that would be the main thing holding me back.

Sibley

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2015, 07:17:53 AM »
Nope. Money isn't everything.

ltt

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2015, 07:30:25 AM »
It's ILLEGAL.......no!!!

Mississippi Mudstache

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2015, 07:48:54 AM »
I probably wouldn't do it, but not for legal reasons. But damn, it'd be tempting.

SpicyMcHaggus

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2015, 08:06:04 AM »
Well, she already told you.
That means she has loose lips. She'd wind up sleeping with the fishes.

rocksinmyhead

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2015, 09:10:33 AM »
Well, she already told you.
That means she has loose lips. She'd wind up sleeping with the fishes.

I don't think it's a capital offense, LOL. but good point on the loose lips.

KCM5

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2015, 09:15:40 AM »
I have a real green card marriage (as in, we did all that immigration crap because we love each other, not for the green card).

I also must have low morals, because I'd do it if I were single. Really, as long as you're living together and know each other well, there's no need for you to put your dating life on hold. But you also do have to combine your lives in many many ways, so she needs to like this guy enough to really spend 2 years in his company. But his doesn't have to be the only company she keeps, if you know what I mean.

I know someone who has married an Irish guy for the same reason except the Irish guy had some designs that it wasn't just a green card marriage. So that's a super messy situation. But if everyone is definitely on the same page that there's not expectation of a relationship, sure.

Professor Ecks

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2015, 09:20:32 AM »
If the price is right, sure. I have a friend who has done it twice, actually. He immigrated to the US legally years ago. He has had two marriages and subsequent divorces for this very purpose. His deals weren't nearly as sweet as the one she's being offered. He got something like $3 - $5k down and like $250 - $300 per month for two years. He called them "Used Car Marriages"

Paul der Krake

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2015, 09:36:18 AM »
If he's already overstayed is legal presence, that is likely to attract attention when they file with USCIS. It is extremely difficult to fake a relationship once they start looking into you. The internet is filled with stories of people who raised flags one way or another and the questions they are asked to determine whether the marriage is a sham are extremely effective.

Couples with similar backgrounds fly under the radar and are rarely brought in for additional questioning, but by overstaying he's just made this a lot harder to pull off. Not worth the risk.

Nubs

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2015, 09:39:13 AM »
Maybe they are really meant to be together but they don't know it yet, and the green card marriage will show them how perfect they are for each other!  This could totally be the plot of a romantic comedy . . . it probably already is. 

-----

In all seriousness I don't think I would do it.  Not enough reward for the risk of spending 5 years in jail. 

slugline

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2015, 09:43:29 AM »
Maybe they are really meant to be together but they don't know it yet, and the green card marriage will show them how perfect they are for each other!  This could totally be the plot of a romantic comedy . . . it probably already is. 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099699

Yup!

PencilThinStash

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2015, 10:25:48 AM »
That's more than some marriages have.  Heck, I wouldn't even mind STAYING married if I kept on liking them enough.  But then, I'm super not into emotions and sex anyway.  Bring on a business partner/housemate any day.

Hahaha I've toyed with the idea of marrying a friend or two purely because we get along well, don't find each other unattractive, they have the potential to be a great parent someday, and having a dual income until kids came along would really speed up the FI journey.

...of course, actually HAVING kids would totally screw up the FI numbers, so more calculations would be in order

socaso

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2015, 10:43:12 AM »
There are SO many things that could go wrong here. First and most importantly they could get caught. Huge problem. Secondly lying to your family for 2 years! Third you'd have to get a divorce and that's something you would have to explain to any future partners while STILL hiding it from your family. Fourth and finally (that I can thing of) you are almost guaranteed to meet someone you would really want to be with and probably lose out on the chance to be with them if not just because of the circumstance but also potentially because they might find your actions reprehensible. That being said, I would consider it myself but in the end I know I'd pass.

BlueHouse

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2015, 10:48:09 AM »
When I was in my twenties, I would have considered it, but ultimately, probably would be too chicken to do it.  Now, I've learned enough to know that it's just not worth it to lie or cheat or steal in any way.  I've built enough on my own to not want to risk it.  And it's just too darn difficult to have to live with a lie forever.  Living life clean and neat and tidy is so worth it to me.  I never have the stress of trying to remember which lies go with whom.

Nubs

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2015, 10:54:02 AM »
Maybe they are really meant to be together but they don't know it yet, and the green card marriage will show them how perfect they are for each other!  This could totally be the plot of a romantic comedy . . . it probably already is. 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099699

Yup!

Hahahaha, the internet is an amazing place. 

johnny847

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2015, 11:02:29 AM »
Maybe they are really meant to be together but they don't know it yet, and the green card marriage will show them how perfect they are for each other!  This could totally be the plot of a romantic comedy . . . it probably already is. 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099699

Yup!

Also (well not a green card, but close enough) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1041829/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

Tabaxus

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #17 on: March 06, 2015, 12:21:58 PM »
The risk of getting caught and the life implications seem nuts to me for far too low a payoff. 

lhamo

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #18 on: March 06, 2015, 03:26:40 PM »
Don't get me started on the whole "if you marry someone from another country the government suddenly has the right to snoop into every corner of your private life and possibly throw you in jail/take all your assets if they decide you aren't "in love"."  Total crock of BS in my book.  People get married for all kinds of reasons.  Good and bad.  Some people are in love, some are pretending to be, and for some it is just a business deal.  It is a legal contract with certain benefits -- why do certain classes of people get their use of those benefits scrutinized more than others.  Anyhoo, I digress.....

In this case, I wouldn't do it.  He is already out of status and that could get REALLY complicated and expensive.   Dude should have figured out what he was going to do before his visa ran out.  Now it would be really risky for the person who joins him in this arrangement. 

To be totally upfront, my DH (who is now a naturalized US citizen) and I were in a committed relationship and loved each other, but if he hadn't been approaching the end of his graduate studies and needing a way to ensure he could stay in the US, I'm not 100% sure we would have gotten married when we did, or at all.  But the situation was what it was and we decided to go ahead and do it, and we got married on New Year's Eve because I figured out we would save about $4000-5000 on my taxes if we did it in 1996 versus waiting until 1997.  So it was a personal/emotional decision but very much also a financial decision.  Nothing wrong with that in my book.


Northerly

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2015, 03:42:30 PM »
She's willing to marry him so he can become a citizen. Sounds like love to me! What is love, anyway?

People marry for money, sex, power, love. What an absurdist proposition that his motives for marriage can be policed by the government (I know that they can be, I'm just saying it's nuts).  I don't remember that question on the marriage license app: "Are your motives pure? Is this just love, or are you a transactional asshole?" Sheesh.

crispy

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #20 on: March 06, 2015, 03:43:14 PM »
She should also plan on being married more than two years.  A friend's husband was in a similar scenario (expired visa) when they got married, and it took 3 or 4 years, a lot of money, and a lot of time answering questions and filling out paperwork before he was able to get his green card.  There can be a lot more to it than staying married for two years and filling out paperwork.  I think there circumstances were probably suspect because they eloped after a quick courtship so they were scrutinized pretty intensely.  On a happy note, they have been married for over 9 years and are very happy together.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2015, 09:12:51 AM by crispy »

Cpa Cat

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #21 on: March 06, 2015, 04:03:22 PM »
In this case, I wouldn't do it.  He is already out of status and that could get REALLY complicated and expensive.   Dude should have figured out what he was going to do before his visa ran out.  Now it would be really risky for the person who joins him in this arrangement. 

I agree with Llamo. When my husband and I went through this process, our lawyer was pretty specific about potential problems. Overstaying one's status makes it more complicated. She shouldn't embark on this without consulting with an immigration attorney first. It's so important that she speaks to one before she ties the knot and not afterwards.

LucyBIT

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #22 on: March 06, 2015, 04:05:23 PM »
I have a Canadian friend who married a US citizen. At one point in trying to get her green card, they'd been married for a few years and the officials were questioning the validity of their very real marriage because they didn't have enough photos of them together at family events--because his family lived in California, hers in Toronto, and they were living in Colorado.

My friend eventually did get her green card, but based on just this story, it seems likely that you actually wouldn't get away with it if you kept it a secret from your families.

socaso

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #23 on: March 06, 2015, 04:24:53 PM »
I have a Canadian friend who married a US citizen. At one point in trying to get her green card, they'd been married for a few years and the officials were questioning the validity of their very real marriage because they didn't have enough photos of them together at family events--because his family lived in California, hers in Toronto, and they were living in Colorado.

My friend eventually did get her green card, but based on just this story, it seems likely that you actually wouldn't get away with it if you kept it a secret from your families.
I had friends who went through the same thing. Canadian marries Californian, mounds of paperwork commence.

NoraLenderbee

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #24 on: March 07, 2015, 11:39:16 AM »
And what if he runs up a ton of debt while they are married? Loses his jobs and any savings he has (or spends it wildly)? Incurs hefty medical bills?  While her pre-marital assets remain hers under "most" circumstances, he may be entitled to 50% anything she earns or buys once they are married.  Depending on the State they marry in, she could be equally or even totally responsible for any debts he incurs while married to her. If/when they divorce she may also have to pay spousal support if he isn't working or is earning less than her - and may have to pay it much longer because he is a foreign citizen she took full responsibility for (which added extra years to an alimony settlement a friend of mine had to pay when he married a foreigner and brought her to this country even though she was working). 2 years doesn't sound like a long time (and as pointed out by others it could be much longer) but green-card-hubby's financial and personal situation may change dramatically in that time and she may be on the hook for it for a very long time afterwards - or at the least have her own credit damaged. Definitely not worth the risk IMHO.


This, absolutely. Illegality and romance aside, she is exposing herself to an incredible financial risk, far more than $15K.

Cassie

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #25 on: March 07, 2015, 12:51:11 PM »
My son is in  a real green card  marriage & it is a big deal if you overstay your visa. /they were really careful about that so she went home until allowed to come back legally.  It is intense scrutiny & they kept all the pics, plane tickets, etc of visiting each other to prove it was real. You also have to agree as others have mentioned to be financially responsible for this person. It is a huge risk for $ plus illegal for a reason. If it wasn't people would make careers of marrying others.  Also because of this type of fraud it is harder for people that are really in love to get married, etc.

MrsPete

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #26 on: March 07, 2015, 07:54:46 PM »
No, I wouldn't do it.  Putting aside the very real moral issues, the risk of 5 years in prison (and having to explain that to future employers, etc.) would deter me from it. 

However, my daughter has been dating a guy from another country for a long time, and I suspect they'll get married after she finishes college next year.  Let me be clear:  They're really dating.  Everyone who knows them could vouch for their long-time relationship, and they can show plane tickets, etc. going back several years -- if he just wanted to come to America, he could probably find someone else who would move faster!  Several of you have been in such situations:  What's been easy /hard about this? 


Hey It's Me

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #27 on: March 07, 2015, 08:09:16 PM »
An ex of mine did this. She was in debt and creditors were calling her day and night, so she was in a really poor place in her life. The man she "married" was an old family friend, and all around decent guy. He paid off her debt, and she helped him out. The immigration system (like many other things) in the US is so fucked up, it's impossible to get residency as a person in his position without marriage.

I don't keep in touch with her, so I don't know how it ended up, but I wish the man success. To the govt.: if you want people to follow a system, make sure the system actually works. If it's broken, people will find a way around it.

TreeTired

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #28 on: March 07, 2015, 08:12:45 PM »
For the terms as stated,  I would decline this offer.   However,  if he sweetened the pot with a $1mm life insurance policy making his green card wife the sole beneficiary,  in that case I would be all for it.

If you are going to break the law.............

Hey It's Me

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #29 on: March 07, 2015, 08:15:33 PM »
For the terms as stated,  I would decline this offer.   However,  if he sweetened the pot with a $1mm life insurance policy making his green card wife the sole beneficiary,  in that case I would be all for it.

Why would that be enticing? It seems like they're both in their 20s... Or are you suggesting she commit... murder?

Dimitri

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #30 on: March 07, 2015, 09:22:45 PM »
I don't know what the PV of two years of expenses is but on the face of it the offer seems low.  I was offered $20,000 straight up back in 1988 by a Brasilian lady who had overstayed her tourist visa.  I think a counteroffer is in order.

Bob W

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #31 on: March 07, 2015, 09:32:44 PM »
50k,  prenup, all expenses.  The only reason your friend is over thinking is the money is not right.  Make the money right and the deal is done.  Felony smelony.

dividendman

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #32 on: March 07, 2015, 10:59:43 PM »
In this case, I wouldn't do it.  He is already out of status and that could get REALLY complicated and expensive.   Dude should have figured out what he was going to do before his visa ran out.  Now it would be really risky for the person who joins him in this arrangement. 

I agree with Llamo. When my husband and I went through this process, our lawyer was pretty specific about potential problems. Overstaying one's status makes it more complicated. She shouldn't embark on this without consulting with an immigration attorney first. It's so important that she speaks to one before she ties the knot and not afterwards.

The problem with consulting an immigration attorney in this context is that attorney-client privilege generally does not protect advice obtained for the purpose of committing a crime or fraud. The attorney would be legally required to disclose the fraud if asked about it by USCIS, and might be free to disclose it even if not asked about it (depending on local ethics rules). Attorney-client privilege is specifically not intended to allow people to plan crimes.

Maybe in some places... I thought in most places the attorney can only breach confidentiality to "prevent the client from "committing a criminal act that the attorney believes is likely to result in imminent death or substantial bodily harm "

Anyway, it appears if this is going down in cali you can talk to your attorney about committing a crime without much fear... I'm not a lawyer though :) Here is my source: https://www.law.cornell.edu/ethics/ca/narr/CA_NARR_1_06.HTM

It actually looks like California lawyers have to keep their mouths shut for pretty much everything relating to their client pretty much no exceptions - that's how it should be!

SnackDog

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #33 on: March 08, 2015, 03:37:48 AM »
Most immigration attorneys have less respect for immigration laws than the average person. They live them every day and know how idiotic they are and how needlessly they disrupt the lives of otherwise upstanding people. Migration is a basic human right and most attorneys will help you find a path to freedom.

shadowmoss

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #34 on: March 08, 2015, 06:46:10 AM »
Along the lines of the potential financial liabilites in a marraige like this is one that happend many years ago when I was in college.  A friend of my roommate (extra bedroom so rented it out to someone I didn't know well) got pregnant and after the baby was born went to get welfare.  She was 'married' to a man who was in it  just to get his citizenship and even lived in a different city.  She was turned down for welfare because her husband was making money.  My roommate was outraged that the government was actually expecting the friend's husband to accept responsibility as the baby wasn't even of his race and he was in no way the father.  I felt badly for the husband as he now had a life-long liability that he probably hadn't taken into consideration as a possible issue. 

The financial responsibilities of being married can slip up and slap you in unexpected ways, even when you are in it for real, when you go for a 'non-traditional' setup.  A strictly business set-up has even more potential ways for the Universe to decide to have fun with you.  In my not-so-humble opinion.

Dee18

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #35 on: March 08, 2015, 07:48:02 AM »
Tell your friend that if the guy gets caught, the only bargaining chip he has is to turn her in. (Hasn't she read/seen Orange is the new Black?)  There are other, legal,  ways to get free housing, such as by living with an older person who needs occasional transportation.  As for $15000, try working 15 hours a week at a second job for two years. 

Hey It's Me

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #36 on: March 08, 2015, 12:17:13 PM »
Most immigration attorneys have less respect for immigration laws than the average person. They live them every day and know how idiotic they are and how needlessly they disrupt the lives of otherwise upstanding people. Migration is a basic human right and most attorneys will help you find a path to freedom.

This.

ehqa353y1365

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #37 on: March 08, 2015, 06:30:04 PM »
nah. people aren't just entitled to move here. i'll buy into it until I'm not legally trapped in the US and can just show up in a country with a higher standard of living and live there instead.

Cpa Cat

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #38 on: March 09, 2015, 08:12:51 AM »
In this case, I wouldn't do it.  He is already out of status and that could get REALLY complicated and expensive.   Dude should have figured out what he was going to do before his visa ran out.  Now it would be really risky for the person who joins him in this arrangement. 

I agree with Llamo. When my husband and I went through this process, our lawyer was pretty specific about potential problems. Overstaying one's status makes it more complicated. She shouldn't embark on this without consulting with an immigration attorney first. It's so important that she speaks to one before she ties the knot and not afterwards.

The problem with consulting an immigration attorney in this context is that attorney-client privilege generally does not protect advice obtained for the purpose of committing a crime or fraud. The attorney would be legally required to disclose the fraud if asked about it by USCIS, and might be free to disclose it even if not asked about it (depending on local ethics rules). Attorney-client privilege is specifically not intended to allow people to plan crimes.

I will note that our attorney was pretty careful about how he spoke to us and what he asked us. At no point did he say, "Is this a fake marriage?" He may even have said, "It's not important that I know the reasons that you're getting married." (It's been years - so it's hard to remember). He certainly never asked if we were in love. He -definitely- never asked if I was paying my husband for my green card.

What an attorney can do - without ever getting into the details of your motivation, is tell you the best timeline, the best process to take, the possible pitfalls, the evidence you need to support your union, what income was needed, etc.

He also shared tales of the "bad things" that happen to people when they just plow ahead with good intentions and no clear view of the process.

For instance, he asked if I was on a valid visa and when I said yes, he said, "Are you sure? Because this is what could happen if you got married while your visa is expired..." We didn't actually need any shady advice... but our lawyer was actually pretty shady and gave us some anyway. He was also pretty clear that the best time to visit him was before we were married. By the time they get married, many people have already made costly mistakes.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2015, 08:19:57 AM by Cpa Cat »

I'm a red panda

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #39 on: March 09, 2015, 08:43:11 AM »
There is no way I'd do it.

However, she should know that this is not true:
Quote
would never even have to see him.

Immigration officials are going to do interviews with them, and part of the interviews are designed to make sure the marriage is real.  Like separately answering questions such as "describe how the cabinets in your kitchen are arranged, where do you store your dishes?"  or "What color toothbrush is your husband currently using?"  "Describe the standard routine you have when you go to bed each night?"  They will need to show photos to prove they have been together at events, that they share the same friends, that their families know each other.

If they live separately, they are going to get caught.

If you do a green card marriage, it is best to go into it as an actual marriage with an expiration date.  (And better hope it is someone you really trust- because if you live in a community property state, the person could be pretty awful to you upon said divorce.)
« Last Edit: March 09, 2015, 09:01:09 AM by iowajes »

Paul der Krake

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #40 on: March 09, 2015, 12:42:49 PM »
He was also pretty clear that the best time to visit him was before we were married. By the time they get married, many people have already made costly mistakes.
Do you have any examples? Is it foolish to think that filing forms without a lawyer is possible?

KCM5

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #41 on: March 09, 2015, 01:42:49 PM »
He was also pretty clear that the best time to visit him was before we were married. By the time they get married, many people have already made costly mistakes.
Do you have any examples? Is it foolish to think that filing forms without a lawyer is possible?

You can definitely do it without a lawyer. In our experience, consulting a lawyer was a worse idea than doing it ourselves because the lawyer gave us this technical way to get around a requirement that ended up causing a 6 month delay. In the end (well, not end I suppose since my husband isn't a citizen yet) we used a lawyer for the K1 visa (lots of issues due to aforementioned technicality), and did the adjusting of status and 10 year green card ourselves with no issues. If you're going to do it yourself I would take a look at the website visajourney.com. Just brace yourself for a lot of mail order bride wtf-ery.

CheapskateWife

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #42 on: March 09, 2015, 02:24:27 PM »
What I find horrifying in this is that the State Department injects itself into your relationship/marriage and decides what makes a "valid marriage." 

The financial risks are large enough that injecting all this other "fairytale relationship expectations" into the mix just seems rediculous. 

Instead, I would propose that we change the law to reflect divorce = green card is revoked.  Problem solved. 

Cpa Cat

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #43 on: March 09, 2015, 03:19:18 PM »
He was also pretty clear that the best time to visit him was before we were married. By the time they get married, many people have already made costly mistakes.
Do you have any examples? Is it foolish to think that filing forms without a lawyer is possible?

The primary one being that people get married on an expired visa. I am not an immigration attorney, but what he told us often happens is that the person on an expired visa must then exit the country and apply from outside the country (a process that can take 9-12 months). Furthermore, they put themselves in a position to be constantly explaining throughout the process why they were on an expired visa.

They do this, because they think marriage is all they need for a path to citizenship - which is untrue. It is not guaranteed.

He was clear that if people are planning on getting married in the USA for green card purposes, then they need to be on a valid visa on the date of the wedding. Although, according to the law, that isn't exactly right. You see, you aren't supposed to -plan- to get married for green card purposes. So when you do things that make it look like you were planning it (like a big ole wedding), it will draw suspicion. Well, let me clarify - you are allowed to plan to enter the country and get married if you have a valid Fiance visa, which you applied for while outside of the country. On any other kind of visa, you are not allowed to enter the country with the intention of finding or marrying a spouse. But if it happens accidentally, then it's ok.

The forms themselves are relatively simple, as is the process. Unless you've accidentally created complications for yourself, because you didn't understand the exact rules.

Another example, is not understanding what exactly the support requirements are.

Simply having a marriage certificate is absolutely not enough to guarantee legal status. It is only one part of the puzzle.

Quote from: CheapskateWife
Instead, I would propose that we change the law to reflect divorce = green card is revoked.  Problem solved.

This can already happen if the marriage lasts less than 2 years. There are exceptions - such as spousal abuse, or spousal death. During those two years, the individual has "temporary" permanent residency. Permanent residency only becomes truly "permanent" after that time period has elapsed. Once a person becomes a non-temporary permanent resident, they are entitled to apply for citizenship or continue as a permanent resident.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2015, 03:23:34 PM by Cpa Cat »

CheapskateWife

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #44 on: March 09, 2015, 03:26:34 PM »
Quote from: CheapskateWife
Instead, I would propose that we change the law to reflect divorce = green card is revoked.  Problem solved.
This can already happen if the marriage lasts less than 2 years. There are exceptions - such as spousal abuse, or spousal death. During those two years, the individual has "temporary" permanent residency. Permanent residency only becomes truly "permanent" after that time period has elapsed. Once a person becomes a non-temporary permanent resident, they are entitled to apply for citizenship or continue as a permanent resident.

I understand that, but what I am proposing is much less humane...if you no longer have a spouse here, and there are no children, buh bye.

A bit draconian, I admit, but imagine the reduction in "fraudulent" marriages as proposed above.   The amount of federal resources wasted on investigating what color your toothbrush is, in order to prove your marriage is valid, reduces drastically.

Paul der Krake

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #45 on: March 09, 2015, 03:38:31 PM »
He was also pretty clear that the best time to visit him was before we were married. By the time they get married, many people have already made costly mistakes.
Do you have any examples? Is it foolish to think that filing forms without a lawyer is possible?

The primary one being that people get married on an expired visa. I am not an immigration attorney, but what he told us often happens is that the person on an expired visa must then exit the country and apply from outside the country (a process that can take 9-12 months). Furthermore, they put themselves in a position to be constantly explaining throughout the process why they were on an expired visa.

They do this, because they think marriage is all they need for a path to citizenship - which is untrue. It is not guaranteed.

He was clear that if people are planning on getting married in the USA for green card purposes, then they need to be on a valid visa on the date of the wedding. Although, according to the law, that isn't exactly right. You see, you aren't supposed to -plan- to get married for green card purposes. So when you do things that make it look like you were planning it (like a big ole wedding), it will draw suspicion. Well, let me clarify - you are allowed to plan to enter the country and get married if you have a valid Fiance visa, which you applied for while outside of the country. On any other kind of visa, you are not allowed to enter the country with the intention of finding or marrying a spouse. But if it happens accidentally, then it's ok.

The forms themselves are relatively simple, as is the process. Unless you've accidentally created complications for yourself, because you didn't understand the exact rules.

Another example, is not understanding what exactly the support requirements are.

Simply having a marriage certificate is absolutely not enough to guarantee legal status. It is only one part of the puzzle.
Thanks for clarifying. We plan on having a courthouse wedding and skipping the lawyer, so your original post raised a few alarm bells in my head. The paperwork seemed simple enough and my visa doesn't expire for a while so the worst I could see happening was a short delay followed by an uncomfortable interview.

Cpa Cat

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #46 on: March 09, 2015, 03:42:18 PM »
Quote from: CheapskateWife
Instead, I would propose that we change the law to reflect divorce = green card is revoked.  Problem solved.
This can already happen if the marriage lasts less than 2 years. There are exceptions - such as spousal abuse, or spousal death. During those two years, the individual has "temporary" permanent residency. Permanent residency only becomes truly "permanent" after that time period has elapsed. Once a person becomes a non-temporary permanent resident, they are entitled to apply for citizenship or continue as a permanent resident.

I understand that, but what I am proposing is much less humane...if you no longer have a spouse here, and there are no children, buh bye.

A bit draconian, I admit, but imagine the reduction in "fraudulent" marriages as proposed above.   The amount of federal resources wasted on investigating what color your toothbrush is, in order to prove your marriage is valid, reduces drastically.

It seems extreme. And realistically, easily circumvented simply by applying for citizenship. The vast majority of marriages to immigrants are real marriages that frankly, don't involve anyone knowing the color of anyone's toothbrush. Honestly - I've been married 12 years, and I have no idea what color my husband's toothbrush is. I guess my marriage is fake after all. ;)

Thankfully, they didn't ask me that during my immigration interview. Nor did they stalk me, or visit me at home, or whatever else. I'm not really sure that many federal resources are wasted on that kind of investigation.

If anyone actually gets kicked out for a fake marriage, it's probably because they were stupid enough to walk into their interview and admit to it. They are far more likely to get kicked out for not following the proper procedures, for not having a valid visa, for not meeting support requirements, etc.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2015, 03:46:12 PM by Cpa Cat »

Cpa Cat

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #47 on: March 09, 2015, 03:45:10 PM »
Thanks for clarifying. We plan on having a courthouse wedding and skipping the lawyer, so your original post raised a few alarm bells in my head. The paperwork seemed simple enough and my visa doesn't expire for a while so the worst I could see happening was a short delay followed by an uncomfortable interview.

We ditched our lawyer pretty quickly after getting married. But it was comforting to have an expert tell us what to do, what to expect, and what to avoid.

The other one that I recall that you need to watch out for is once you're married, but while your initial paperwork is being processed, if you leave the country, you must restart the process from outside the country (with all of its delays). You need to have your permanent residency firmly in place before you plan any overseas travel.

KCM5

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #48 on: March 10, 2015, 07:31:26 AM »

The other one that I recall that you need to watch out for is once you're married, but while your initial paperwork is being processed, if you leave the country, you must restart the process from outside the country (with all of its delays). You need to have your permanent residency firmly in place before you plan any overseas travel.

This is a good point but I think it should be clarified. You can leave the country once you've applied for a permit to re-enter. You apply for that at the same time as you apply to adjust your status to a conditional permanent resident. It takes maybe 60 days to get? So you don't have to wait until your green card is processed, which can take longer - closer to 6 months.

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Re: $15k and 2 years of expenses for a Green Card Marriage
« Reply #49 on: March 11, 2015, 11:52:08 PM »
I have a different take from some of you.

She is young, putting her (relationship) life on hold in her 20's, lying to friends and family for a net gain of what.. $15k?
That is pretty low sum for so much out of her life.   

What! you are pointing out the rent free offer? 
To that I say -- she will be taking care of the place for the owner...   If this is really what she is thinking, there are other options for low low rent.

1) move in with parents for 2 years to save money
2) house sit
3) rent a room or be a senior's "companion".... e.g., room boarder that checks up on the senior in the house / provides occassional company, for low low rent..
4) share a rental with lots of roommates to keep housing down...


etc. etc. etc.


$15k for 2 years of live and possible legal action?!  I say NO!