Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, is a form that is required for most family-based immigration petitions and some employment-based immigration petitions.
The affidavit of support is necessary to prove that the foreign national wishing to immigrate to the United States has adequate means of financial support and is not likely to become a public charge at the time of filing or in the future. The person signing the affidavit of support is called a “sponsor” and is usually the U.S. Petitioner.
Signing the Affidavit of Support is a serious matter. Sponsors who sign this form are entering into a contract with the U.S. Government agreeing to use their resources to support the intending immigrant if it becomes necessary.
Have you ever wondered what is bona fide marriage and what is the evidence required to establish bona fide marriage? In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick will explain how you can go about proving bona fide marriage.
When applying for adjustment of status based on marriage, the foreign national must prove to USCIS that they have what is called a “bona fide” marriage, meaning that the couple has entered the marriage for love, and not solely to obtain an immigration benefit. USCIS requires the applicant to meet their burden of proof of bona fide marriage to prevent green card fraud.
There is certain documentation that must be provided to prove that the couple has a bona fide marriage. This documentation can be provided with the filing itself, or at the time of the green card interview.
What type of documents are required to show bona fide marriage?
Evidence of Cohabitation: to show bona fide marriage, the couple must show that they have been living together throughout the marriage. The types of documents that can establish cohabitation are lease agreements, property deeds, and secondarily utility bills (electricity bill, water bill etc.).
Evidence of Commingled Finances: in addition, the couple must provide evidence of commingled finances such as joint bank account statements showing activity on the account such as payments for rent, food, groceries, and regular household items.
Joint Ownership of Assets: if the couple has any assets held in both of their names such as real property, an automobile, ownership of stocks or bonds etc. they may provide evidence of such assets.
Other Joint Documents: The couple may also provide life insurance policy documents, health or auto insurance, or joint memberships in a club such as gym membership.
Photographs: The couple must present photographs of themselves with friends and family members throughout their relationship to show that they have a legitimate marriage.
Trips: the couple may choose to show evidence of trips or other activities they have undertaken throughout the marriage as proof of bona fide marriage.
In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses how you can obtain permanent residence if your U.S. Citizen spouse has passed away, and you are still in the process of applying for permanent residence.
What happens if you and your spouse have filed the I-130/485, and your US Citizen spouse tragically passes away during the process?
SCENARIO ONE: If the couple married but did not have the opportunity to file the I-130/485 applications with USCIS, before the death of the US Citizen spouse, the surviving spouse can still obtain permanent residence by filing form I-360 as a widow(er), provided the couple had a bona fide marriage. Once the I-360 petition is approved by USCIS, the surviving spouse can proceed on their own in filing the I-485 application for permanent residence.
SCENARIO TWO: In cases where the I-130/485 applications have already been filed with USCIS, but the couple did not have the opportunity to go to their I-485 interview before the passing of the US Citizen, USCIS may still adjudicate the foreign national’s application for permanent residence, even if the US Citizen spouse is now deceased. At the interview, the surviving spouse must provide the US Citizen’s death certificate, as well as evidence of bona fide marriage.
If you have any questions regarding this process, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact our office.
In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses how to complete Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative. Please keep in mind that this video is not intended to be legal advice. The information provided is for educational purposes only and does not substitute the legal advice of your attorney. If you are filing the I-130 Petition for Alien Relative on your own, you must read the form instructions very carefully or seek the assistance of an attorney who will complete the forms according to your specific situation.
If you are filing for adjustment of status, or for an immigrant visa, based on a qualifying family relationship, your petitioner must sign and complete Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative to establish that a valid family relationship exists. If the beneficiary of the petition is the spouse of the petitioner, then the beneficiary must complete Form I-130A Supplemental Information for Spouse Beneficiary.
Filing a Form I-130 is only the first step in helping a relative immigrate to the United States. Certain eligible family members must wait until there is a visa number available before they can apply to become a lawful permanent resident.
Who May File Form I-130
U.S. Citizens and lawful permanent residents may file the I-130 on behalf of qualifying relatives.
For more information about adjustment of status please click here.
1:37 – Our advice or suggestions for this new rule
In September 2017 the Department of State released an amended version of the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM), which is a manual used by governmental agencies and other federal agencies that directs and codifies information that must be carried out by respective agencies “in accordance with statutory, executive and Department mandates.”
The new amended version of the manual expands the definition of misrepresentation, the types of activities that may support a presumption of fraud, and establishes changes to existing policies that federal agents must follow in making assessments of fraud or material representation.
According to the amended FAM: If a foreign national engages in any of the following activities, and applies for an immigration benefit, the FAM directs immigration officers to apply a presumption of fraud or material misrepresentation when the foreign national seeks adjustment of status:
In this video, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick discusses the adjustment of status interview for permanent residence. What happens when a denial is issued? To hear the answer to this question just keep on watching.
As part of the application process for permanent residence based on marriage, you and your spouse are required to attend an in person interview before your green card may be issued. In this video we focus on the marriage visa interview. So what happens when things go wrong?
Typically couples prepare for the green card interview by bringing all of the necessary documents to verify to the immigration officer that they have a bona fide marriage (such documents may include photographs of the couple together and with friends and family, evidence of joint accounts, evidence of commingling of finances, evidence of cohabitation, and joint responsibility of assets and liabilities). In some cases, however the immigration officer may not be convinced by a couple’s particular situation. The immigration officer sometimes finds issue with something the client said, or there may be some inconsistencies that capture the attention of the immigration officer, etc. In these cases, at the conclusion of the interview the immigration officer will notify the couple that they will not able to make an immediate decision. They will send the couple home and tell them to wait for a decision in the mail. If the couple does not receive an approval notice in the mail within 30 days, what will likely happen is that USCIS will send a notice of intent to deny (NOID). In most cases this notice is issued within 30 days of the green card interview.
In this segment Attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick Esq. discusses immigration options for same-sex couples. The Law Office of Jacob J. Sapochnick has been a long time advocate for same-sex and LGBT immigration rights. Our office has worked diligently to assist same-sex couples and the LGBT community in their immigration endeavors since the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision Windsor v. United States, which allows legally married same-sex couples to receive federal benefits including immigration relief.
Can all same-sex couples get legally married now?
No. The Supreme Court’s ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act requires the federal government to recognize marriages in states where same-sex marriage is legal. It does not require all states to legalize or recognize same-sex marriage.
Can they file for Immigration Benefits?
Yes, same-sex couples who are legally married (married in a state allowing same-sex couples to marry) are entitled to the same immigration benefits as heterosexual couples.
For more information about green cards for same-sex couples please visit our website.
In this video, Attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick Esq. discusses one of your frequently asked questions: I entered the United States on the visa waiver program 2 years ago. My stay has now expired. Recently, I married a US Citizen. Can I get my Green Card inside the US?
This question comes to us from a follower in Kansas City. He says: I am an Italian national that entered the United States on the visa waiver program 2 years ago. My visa waiver has now expired. I married a US Citizen recently. Can I get my green card within the United States?
Firstly, the visa waiver program grants foreign nationals from eligible countries, the ability to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without first obtaining a visa. Once a foreign national overstays this 90-day period, however, that individual loses most of their rights including their right to apply for permanent residency (green card).
In this video, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick Esq. answers one of your frequently asked questions: I overstayed my visa and I am now married to a U.S. Citizen. Am I eligible for a green card?
I am married to a US Citizen but I came to the United States over 10 years ago, I overstayed my visa. Am I eligible to apply for a green card?
The good news is, even if you have overstayed or worked in the United States illegally, if you are married to a US Citizen it is possible to legalize and apply for permanent residence. The key to determine your eligibility lies in the manner in which you entered the United States. To be eligible for permanent residence, you must have been inspected by a U.S. Customs Official at a U.S. Port of entry. In other words, you must have entered the United States legally and received an I-94 record of arrival/departure proving that you were inspected upon entry. If all goes well, the immigration officer will waive the overstay and illegal employment, at the time of your marriage interview if you can prove that you were inspected by showing your I-94. Any other grounds of inadmissability such as certain crimes, fraud, or willful misrepresentation may subject you to a bar for a certain period of time. In these circumstances, you will need to obtain a waiver before applying for permanent residence.
For a free consultation please contact our office.
In this video, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick answers one of your frequently asked questions: I stayed overseas after my green card expired. Can I renew my green card?
This is a very important question that we often receive from our followers. Although the green card is a permanent resident card, there are certain rules you must follow to maintain your permanent resident status. If you leave the United States for more than one year, without obtaining a re-entry permit (a document that would preserve your residency), you may risk losing your green card.
In this particular situation, a person who has been out of the country for three and a half years is now at risk of losing their permanent resident status. There are two issues that arise with this situation. The first issue is that it is not going to be possible to renew the green card from overseas. Secondly, even if the green card had not expired, trying to re-enter the United States after such a long period of absence could be a problem. This is because the presumption is that you have abandoned your permanent residency, having been out of the country for so long.
Generally, persons who have stayed overseas for more than a year, but who maintain a valid unexpired green card, may apply for re-entry to the United States by applying for a returning resident visa called SB-1 at a U.S. Consulate overseas. To be successful, you must prove that you had circumstances that were beyond your control requiring you to stay overseas. This may be difficult to prove if you have stayed overseas for a prolonged period of time. The less time you spend abroad after the year, the easier it will be to obtain the SB-1 visa. You must also show that you are not abandoning your permanent residency.
If your green card has already expired and you are overseas, it will be very difficult to re-enter the United States, especially if you have stayed overseas for a prolonged period of time. In this situation you should consult with an attorney to discuss your options based on your situation.
If you leave the US for more than a year without getting, for example, a reentry permit you may lose your green card.
Two issues: not possible to renew it overseas and it could mean you abandoned your residency.
Three years is considered a long time; card now is deemed abandoned. Best thing to do is to consult an attorney.
If your green card has not yet expired and you have stayed overseas for more than one year, you may be able to apply for the SB-1 Returning Resident Visa.
For more information about the SB-1, please contact our office.