An Overview of "Green Card" Petitions for Immediate
Relatives, in Guam and
Richard William Hamlin, Esq.
Under federal immigration law,
If a U.S. citizen wishes to petition a fiancé or spouse who lives in a
foreign country, the fastest way to bring him or her to the U.S. or Guam is
often through a temporary non-immigrant visa application, such as the "K-1
fiancé" or "K-3 spouse" visa category. These visa applications are first processed in
Once on Guam, the C.N.M.I., or
2. The alien relative must formally request permanent resident status.
3. The parties must provide complete biographic information, for a background check and assessment of the veracity of their claims.
4. At least one qualified Sponsor must provide personal financial information, and enter a legal contract with the government to support the alien in times of financial hardship.
5. The alien relative must successfully complete a medical examination by a U.S.C.I.S. certified Civil Surgeon.
After the complete application is submitted, the Petitioner and Beneficiary
must appear for an interview regarding the application. For aliens adjusting status on
In all applications and interviews for immigration benefits based upon a marriage, the couple must be able to demonstrate that they have a bona-fide marital relationship. Accordingly, it is important to gather evidence of the relationship's progression over time, in the form of financial records, photographs, and correspondence. Where evidence appears suspicious or weak, the parties should be ready for heightened scrutiny at the interview. Proper preparation of supporting evidence, with an aim to satisfy the particular legal elements, is often critical an application's success.
While an adjustment of status application is pending, the intending
immigrant is not likely to be removed (or "deported") for status
violations, such as overstaying after an entry under the Guam Visa Waiver
Program. However, until the application
is completely approved, it is important that the intending immigrant does not
Even once the application is approved, recently-wed couples will find
that the "green-card" is only a temporary one. This conditional residency serves as an
automatic filter for U.S.C.I.S. to spot sham marriages, and invalidate
fraudulently obtained "green cards".
If the conditional permanent resident does not petition to remove the
conditions within 90 days of their second year anniversary as a resident, then
he or she may be subject to immediate removal from the country. Generally, the
With proper strategy and meticulous preparation, the intending immigrant
may eventually obtain a renewable Permanent Resident Card that is valid for ten
years. The actual application process is
considerably more complex than this general overview may show, and is fraught
with many legal pitfalls and exceptions along the way, most of which would not
be apparent from observing the published U.S.C.I.S. forms alone. Applicants who may have overstayed a visa,
worked without authorization or who have ever been arrested are particularly at
risk of facing strict immigration penalties.
Enforcement of these penalties may be triggered by a departure from the
A qualified immigration attorney will be able ask the right questions, evaluate the available documents, and identify any weaknesses or problems in a proposed application. With the client's assistance, the attorney may then assemble an application that addresses the identified weaknesses or resolves any barriers to application. The attorney may also accompany the parties at interview, and specifically prepare the applicant for the questioning. Once notice is given of the attorney's entry in the case, all official notices, motions, and correspondence will also be sent to the attorney of record. While it is not guaranteed that U.S.C.I.S. will treat a case more favorably simply because an attorney is officially named in record, a qualified immigration attorney will be able to apply specific knowledge of the underlying law and procedure to ensure that the application is examined in the most favorable light, and with the fewest delays.