In Manhattan, the home of federal immigration headquarters, the future of many couples depends upon whether they can prove to the government that they did not marry solely to acquire a green card for one spouse. If a couple can successfully pass their interviews with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the foreign spouse will become eligible for a green card; however, the actual receipt of a green card requires a separate application and security clearance.
According to an agency worksheet, red flags for immigration interviewers include: unusual cultural differences, a large age discrepancy between spouses, an unusual number of children, and a U.S. citizen spouse with little means. Interviewers also seek evidence of a legitimate marriage, such as the commingling of assets and other joint documentation, and a mental and emotional connection as the result of shared life experiences.
The actual number of green card petitions denied on the basis of fraud is quite small: only 506 of the 241,154 petitions filed by citizens last year were denied. The criminal penalties for perpetrating a marriage fraud are up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Could your marriage survive the interviews? Check out these sample questions compiled by immigration attorneys who often sit in on their clients’ interviews.