Dear Mrs Walker- Huntington,
My fiancÚ's mom filed for him in 2010 and he is now living in Philadelphia. We have been in love from age 14 and now we are both 34 and want to get married. He will be coming back to Jamaica in December, but I want to know if we can get married at that time without messing up his chances of becoming a citizen.
Please advise us on what to do because we really want to get married soon so we can start having children.
As a Green Card holder, your fiancÚ can marry you and file a petition for you to join him in the United States (US). Many people are under the mistaken assumption that only a US citizen can file for his or her spouse. The reality is that only a US citizen can file to change the status of his or her spouse, i.e., if you are in the States and are out of status, only marriage to a US citizen would allow you to remain in the US and become a permanent resident. If a Green Card holder has a spouse who is outside the US, he or she can file for that person in the F2A preference category. In September 2013, that category is current; however, in October 2013, the priority date is September 8, 2013.
Although you have been friends with your fiancÚ for 20 years, you should not assume that you will automatically be approved for a Green Card when he does file for you and you appear at the US Embassy for the interview. Ensure that you document your wedding in December. It does not have to be a large affair; but make sure that you take pictures of yourselves and also of the persons attending the ceremony and the event.
Keep all proof of your communications, e.g., phone, email, texts, letters, and cards. Take and print photographs of yourselves together and with friends and family. You may also have photographs together from before he left Jamaica. You should try to locate them and get them together in an album. Some people tell me that they 'don't like to take pictures'. My response is usually that when you are married and immigration is involved in your life, you must produce the type of evidence they are looking for in order to approve your petition or you can end up being permanently separated from your loved ones.
If you go anywhere in Jamaica for a weekend or honeymoon, be sure to keep your receipts. At your interview, you will also need to provide proof of your fiancÚ's trips to Jamaica and be expected to answer questions about your relationship and his family. If you own anything together in Jamaica such as a bank account be sure to take proof of that fact to the interview. If your fiancÚ has sent you money via money transfer, gather the proof and take it with you to the interview.
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. email@example.com