Tue | Jan 23, 2018

Immigration Corner: How can I get my girlfriend's ban lifted?

Published:Tuesday | March 15, 2016 | 1:02 AM

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

I've been an American citizen for the past 17 years. I'm thinking about marrying my girlfriend of five years. Ten years ago she was denied entry to America using someone else's passport (visa buying). If I marry her, is it possible for me to file a petition for her to come and live with me in America?

- SM

Dear SM,

As a United States (US) citizen you are entitled to file a petition for your wife. You will have to prove to the US government that your marriage is bona fide by showing communications with your wife; visits; wedding photos and other evidence of a real marriage. Your wife will also be asked questions about you during the interview. If the US embassy has questions about the validity of your marriage, they can schedule a petitioner's interview where you will be expected to travel to Jamaica and be interviewed separately and/or jointly with your wife. In rare cases, US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) can also schedule the petitioner to be interviewed in the US before approving the petition.

Your girlfriend's past misdeed is classified as immigration fraud and makes her inadmissible to the US. However, you would be entitled to apply for a waiver of her inadmissibility. You as the petitioner must demonstrate to the US government that your wife's absence from the States is causing you extreme hardship and that this hardship(s) would go away if she were allowed to enter the US. You must also demonstrate that you cannot live in Jamaica with her.

Whereas a US citizen filing a petition for his wife to join him in the US would take approximately nine months to a year, in your situation your wife's filing can take up to two years to be completed.

- Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington, is a Jamaican-American attorney who practises immigration law in the United States; and family, criminal and personal injury law in Florida. She is a mediator, arbitrator and special magistrate in Broward County, Florida. info@walkerhuntington.com.