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					       The                                                                                       English Edition

                                                                                           Jo u r n a l
     A Publication of Hispanas Organizadas de Lake y Ashtabula                                 February - March 2 0 04

        WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I MARRY?                                                        both are eligible to marry; 3. That they
     Important Facts about Family-Based Immigration                                       are now married; 4. That the marriage
                                                                                          is bona fide; and, 5. That Elena is quali-
   Ana is a citizen of El Salvador. She       riage is real. When approved, David and     fied to enter the United States. But there
entered the United States on a tour-          Patricia must then prove that Patricia      is a problem: the law says that because
ist visa. Two months later, she mar-          qualifies to enter the United States. If    Elena was in the United States illegally
ried John, who is a U.S. citizen. Ana         approved, Patricia will receive a green     more than a year, she cannot enter the
and John want a “green card” for              card. She can now live with David in        United States for 10 years, unless she
Ana. To win their case, they must prove       the United States. Patricia must stay in    can prove that it will cause extreme
several things. 1. That Ana entered law-      Mexico through the process, about 12        hardship to her husband. This requires
fully; 2. That when she entered she did       to 18 months.                               an application for special permission
not intend to stay in the United States;         David’s third choice is faster. David    called a “waiver.” Once everything is
3. That John is a U.S. citizen; 4. That       marries Patricia in Mexico. Then David      approved, including the waiver, Elena
both Ana and John were legally eligible       files documents to prove the marriage       can enter the United States with a green
to marry; 5. That they are now married;       is real. David files for a special visa     card. During this process, Elena must
and, 6. That the marriage is bona fide        (K-3) that allows Patricia to enter the     leave the United States and stay in her
(a “real” marriage, not marriage just to      United States and stay here while her       country 12 to 24 months or longer.
get a green card). Once Ana and John          case is decided. Once approved, David
file the proper forms, Ana should be          and Patricia must prove: 1. That David      NOTE: This article is offered for infor-
able to obtain a green card. Ana can stay     is a U.S. citizen; 2. That they were eli-   mational purposes only. It does not con-
in the United States with John during         gible to marry; 3. That they are now        stitute legal advice. If you have legal
this process, which takes from 12 to 18       married; 4. That the marriage is bona       questions regarding immigration issues,
months.                                       fide; and, 5. That Patricia is qualified    please consult with an attorney.
                                              to enter the United States. If approved,
David is a U.S. citizen. His girlfriend,      she can enter the United States and re-     Linda Silakoski is an attorney
Patricia, lives in Mexico. They want          main here until a green card is approved.   specializing in immigration matters.
to get married and live in the United         Patricia must stay in Mexico during         She is also a member of the HOLA
States. David has three choices. First,       approval of the K-3 visa, about 8 to 12     Board of Directors.
he can apply for a fiancé visa (a K visa)     months.
for Patricia. When approved, Patricia
will be interviewed at the U.S. Consu-        Elena is in the U.S. without papers –          The HOLA Journal is published
late in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, where          she is undocumented, and did not               bi-monthly by HOLA, Hispanas
                                                                                             Organizadas de Lake y Ashtabula, in
she must prove that she qualifies to en-      enter lawfully. She has been here 3            both Spanish and English language
ter the United States as a fiancé. Patricia   years. She married Tom, a U.S. citi-           versions. All articles are property
must remain in Mexico during approval,        zen. Tom and Elena want to get a               of HOLA and cannot be reprinted
about 8 to 12 months. Then Patricia           green card for Elena so she is here            or duplicated without permission.
can enter the United States and marry         legally. Under the law, Elena must
                                                                                             Unless otherwise noted, all articles are
David within 90 days of her entry. Af-        leave the United States in order to ob-        written by Verónica Isabel Dahlberg
ter the marriage, they will file forms to     tain a green card. There is no law that        and translated into Spanish by
apply for Patricia’s “green card.”            will allow Elena to stay. Tom can file         Adriana Pérez.
    David has two other choices, which        documents with US CIS to prove that            Please send letters to:
require that he marry Patricia in             the marriage is real. Once approved,           Editor
Mexico. In the slower process, David          the U.S. consulate in Elena’s country          The HOLA Journal
and Patricia marry in Mexico. Then            will interview them. They must prove:          PO Box 1728
David files documents to prove the mar-       1. That Tom is a U.S. citizen; 2. That         Painesville, Ohio 44077

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