If you are planning to get married abroad, make sure you know the requirements of that particular country before you start your travel. Generally, it is the local civil or religious officials who perform the marriages and US consular officers do not have a say in that. The process and procedures differ from country to country it might be time consuming.
In some countries, per the law, the persons who intend to get married should have been a resident in that country for a stipulated period of time before they can get married in that place. Parental consent, blood tests are other requirements. In certain countries, documents certifying for the end of a previous relationship (death or divorce certificate) is mandatory. It has to be translated into the local language and authenticated. Some countries do ask for an affidavit by the parties as proof of legal capacity to enter into a marriage contract. (This can be executed at a US Embassy or Consulate.)
As mentioned earlier, the process can be time-consuming and expensive. So if you are planning to get married abroad, it is very important that you find out the requirements of that particular country before beginning travel. You can get in touch with the embassy or tourist information bureau of the country where you intend to get married. The list of foreign embassies and consulates in the US is available on the Department of State’s website. You can also get US embassy and consulate contact information on the Country Specific Information for each country. You can contact the nearest US Embassy or Consulate if you are already abroad.
After you get married in a foreign soil, US consular officers can authenticate your foreign marriage document. However, this authentication simply proves that your foreign marriage documents are real, but it does not mean that your marriage will be recognized by your home state in the US. In such cases, to get the marriage recognized in the US, consult the Attorney General of your state of residence in the US.
Birth Abroad of a U.S. Citizen
Per the Child Citizenship Act (CCA), most children born abroad to a US citizen parent(s) acquire US citizenship at birth. After the birth, the US citizen parent has to contact the nearest US Embassy or Consulate. If the Consulate believes that the child has acquired US citizenship, a consular officer prepares a Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the US. This document is recognized in the US as proof of US Citizenship, and can be used to get a passport, entering school, and most other purposes. If you do not document the child’s citizenship, it might be difficult later when trying to get a passport or register for school.
Divorce and Death Abroad
If you were divorced abroad, its validity will differ according to the requirements of your state of residence. It is best recommended to consult the authorities of your state of residence in the US to know these requirements. US consular officers abroad will provide assistance to the families of US citizens who die abroad.
The green card marriage interview is a sophisticated process. It will be more intense and probing. The reason is because many get married just to get a green card as getting a green card through marriage is another legal way to get one.
Clearing the marriage interview to get a green card :
As soon as you get the letter asking you to come to the green card marriage interview, ensure that you have copies of all the documents they ask for. Generally preferred documents are recent tax return and affidavit of support and photocopies of birth certificates and passport.
Another important aspect is to have photographs and joint bank accounts ready and prepared. Also having photographs of your wedding, honeymoon, vacations, birthday parties are added advantages.
Bank Accounts are extremely vital. The interview officers will be convinced seeing you and your spouse share assets. And also make sure the bank accounts have income of both parties credited and joint expenses debited. For example, you can make the lease or mortgage payments through the account. Simple issues like the drivers license being same as the tax return address will prove vital. Also having mobile phone bills and other bills such as electric bill going into each persons name.
The questions in the green card marriage interview questions may range from the usual, “how did you meet her” to very detailed and intense questions. So be prepared and make it extremely important to sit together a few days before the interview and discuss. Because if the officer interviewing you suspects that your marriage is fraudulent, you will have to meet the fraud unit. An officer will interview you and your spouse separately and explicitly. And then the results of both your interviews will be compared.
It is an irony that sometimes, truly married couples also get suspected because of their personal characteristics and may have to go through a fraud interview. And persons who do not share a common language, or differ significantly in age, class, religion or even educational background and also those who don’t live at the same address might be called for a fraud interview. You may also be called if your application missed facts that your marriage is genuine or if it contains some inconsistencies or looks suspicious.
Generally, green card marriage interviews are held only in the U.S. If you are called for such an interview while abroad, your U.S. spouse need not attend the interview, just you alone. When you get an advance notice of fraud interview, it is recommended to hire an attorney. Though an attorney does not have any right over the questions, he/she will be in a better situation to deal with any follow-up matters.
The officer may sometimes apply harsher tactics, such as falsely telling one person that their spouse has already “confessed” that the marriage is fraudulent, just to push the interviewee into confessing. At times, the officer might intimidate you, reminding you about the jail term and fines if caught committing marriage fraud. They may also sometimes ask you to withdraw the visa application or tell you to sign stating that your marriage is a fraud. If your marriage is genuine, do not sign such things. If asked to do so, you can reschedule the interview and you can bring an attorney with you the next time.
Whereas, if your marriage is a fraud, no matter how hard you work or prepare, it is easy not to be able to answer some very simple questions.