Wed | Jun 23, 2021

I want my husband here

Published:Tuesday | June 26, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington

Hi Mrs Walker-Huntington,I married my high-school sweetheart in Jamaica and I am trying to find the fastest way to get him here to the United States of America (USA), so I was planning to let him apply for a visitor's visa. My question is, will he get it or not if he is married to a USA citizen? Or can he hide from letting them know that he is married and, once he gets the visa and enters the USA, do a status change for permanent residency. Please help.- RW

Dear RW,

As a United States citizen, your husband is considered an immediate relative and the processing of his application for an immigrant visa via the US Embassy (consular processing) should take between nine months to one year to get an interview. If during the interview the consular officer believes the marriage is a bona fide one that can be documented, the officer will issue the immigrant visa.

However, if the officer is not convinced of the validity of your marriage, he or she can return the package to United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) for the issuance of a Notice of Intent to revoke the previously approved petition. If that happens, USCIS will give you an opportunity to rebut the reasons why the embassy believes that your marriage is not real.

If your husband applies for a non-immigrant visa as the husband of an American citizen, the chances of him receiving the visa is slim. Every applicant for a non-immigrant visa must convince the consular officer that they do not intend to migrate, and that they have enough ties to their home country that they will visit the USA and return home. In the case of a person who has a US citizen spouse, the presumed intention is that the applicant intends to travel to the USA and remain with their spouse, which is exactly what you and your husband intend to do.

Immigration fraud

If on the application for the non-immigrant visa, your husband omits the fact that he has a wife in the USA, he is committing immigration fraud. This fraud will make him inadmissible to the USA - forever. In the event he is successful in his lie and travels to the USA on his visitor's visa and you file to adjust his status from a visitor to a permanent resident - his omission will be revealed and he will be denied his green card. If he does not receive the visitor's visa and you file for him as an immediate relative (as you should), his omission will once again be revealed and he will be denied the green card.

If your husband is denied his green card for fraud and misrepresentation, he will need a hardship waiver before he is either allowed to enter the USA from Jamaica or is granted adjustment of status in the USA. In order to obtain this waiver, you the qualifying relative (USC spouse) would have to demonstrate extreme hardship that could only be relieved if your husband were allowed to live with you in the USA, and further why you could not return to live in Jamaica.

Do not sacrifice short-term gain for long-term pain. You have a legitimate pathway to having your husband migrate to the USA and live with you - do not jeopardise this by submitting an erroneous application for a non-immigrant visa.

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