Sat | Feb 24, 2018

Immigration Corner | Can disabled husband file for me?

Published:Tuesday | November 8, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

My fiance is a disabled United States (US) citizen. If I go up and marry him, can he file a petition for his wife? He gets a disability cheque from the US government every month.

- GB

Dear GB,

When immigrants marry US citizens and present themselves to US immigration for residency for the immigrant, the burden is on the couple to prove that their marriage is valid for immigration purposes.

In the situation where the two are both in the US and are both present for the adjustment of status interview, they must show evidence of their relationship and courtship. Additionally, they have to show that they commingle their assets and their debts and have knowledge of their lives together.

No two cases are the same, and often the interview and the outcome depend on the officer who interviews the couple. Some officers ask several questions and others are brief. There are several factors in a case that can set off red flags; some are age differences between the couple, language barriers, whether there is a young child sired by someone other than the spouse, how long the couple have known each other, etc.

If you plan to visit your fiance in the US, and you marry him and file to change your status with 30 days of arriving in the country, your petition can be denied because the assumption is that you intended to change your status when you entered as a visitor. However, if you marry after the 30 days, your US citizen boyfriend can file to adjust your status. Part of the adjustment of status package is an Affidavit of Support. Your husband will be required to file one even if his income is insufficient according to the US poverty guidelines. Any form of legal income (including disability income) can be used to satisfy the requirement. If your husband does not make enough money, he can either use assets or a joint sponsor.

- 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.