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What to expect when applying for a green card after marriage

Getting married can be one of the most exciting times in a person's life. Unfortunately, for spouses who have yet to become permanent United States residents, it can also be very stressful.

Immigration law is quickly evolving. Many green card applicants have questions about what to expect. While the process is complex, every green card applicant should be aware of two things as they begin the process after saying, "I do."

You'll be asked to prove the legitimacy of your marriage

While it comes to no surprise that applicants are required to prove the legitimacy of their marriage, many don't know what the process actually entails. To apply, you'll need to provide a copy of your marriage certificate. In addition, you'll have to endure an interview and answer a series of questions about your relationship. You may be asked to provide proof that you live together. They may even visit your home or speak with your neighbors.

But what you may not expect are the off-the-wall questions you will be asked. Such questions can include, "What did you do over the holidays?" or "Does your spouse have any tattoos?" You may be asked to describe when and where the wedding ring was purchased or to draw a layout of your home.

Because applicants don't always know what to expect when it comes to answering questions, you can have an attorney accompany you to the interview.

Every timeline for getting a green card is different

The recent changes to immigration laws have prompted an influx of green card applications. The timeline of the path to legal permanent residency all depends on the department's capacity to process applications. Each applicant's individual situation will also be a determining factor. For example, if an applicant lives in the U.S. and is married to a U.S. citizen, they could receive a green card within a year. If they live abroad and are married to a U.S. citizen, it could take even longer. But, again, this all depends on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' ability to process applications.

The hoops that you will need to jump through to become a permanent resident can be confusing and may even seem overwhelming, but you shouldn't let these things stop you. Remember - while it may not be the fastest process, taking the first step is always the hardest.

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