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