Representing Clients All Over the U.S.
Is it Possible to Live in Separate States, Be Sponsored by a Spouse, and Get a Green Card
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Posted On: April 26, 2013
I often come across couples who are not living together but want to obtain a green card for the immigrant spouse based on the marriage. Even the Immigrant Visa form for family sponsorships request to know how long one has been living with their spouse; there’s really no way around it, no way to hide it from immigration. So how do you face this head on and still prove it’s a real marriage?

In this economy, more and more people are taking jobs anywhere they can find them, even when it means living apart from their spouse. A special consideration is the arranged marriage. Many times, family members are the ones barring the couple from living together – only allowing it after one gets a job that the family approves of or until the formal religious wedding occurs, regardless of the legal wedding happening months earlier. Traditionally, CIS has seen cases where students get married and one has graduated and the other hasn’t and the one still in school can’t leave the program or their financial aid package to follow the other spouse who has obtained a job in another state. CIS is more likely to understand this at the initial interview for adjustment of status (green card application in the US), and this gets much harder to prove a real marriage if the couple is still separated two years later when the conditional green card is expiring.

Showing ongoing communication between the couple, frequent visits to see each other, and documenting the underlying reasons for the separation can help the interview go more smoothly. Affidavits from family members are not so convincing usually to document those visits and that interaction as family are seen as biased by immigration, willing to say anything for their son or daughter (the spouse).  Providing a lot of financial commingling and other evidence of bona fide marriage can be crucial in these cases; the more you have the better.
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Attorney Heather L. Poole practices exclusively in the area of U.S. family-based immigration law and citizenship law. Heather is a nationally-published immigration author, frequent lecturer on immigration issues, and member & officer of the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Southern California Chapter. For more information about Heather and the services offered, visit


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