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Will US immigration law permit my spouse to move here?

Getting married usually means selecting a venue, picking out outfits and planning a honeymoon. For some couples, though, the process is much more involved. Louisiana citizens who marry foreign spouses must apply for their partner to enter the United States legally with a green card. However, US immigration law is complicated, and couples must prepare to pass an interview with immigration authorities.

Couples seeking a marriage-based green card must prove that their union is genuine in an interview, during which an immigration officer will question them on crucial aspects of their relationship. These interviews are meant to weed out those who are potentially trying to help one person gain a green card through a fraudulent marriage. Couples who "fail" the first interview can try again to demonstrate the authenticity of their marriage in a Stokes interview, which is typically longer and more detail-oriented than initial interviews.

During the initial interview, couples will be asked questions for which they previously answered on their applications. Although annoying, this is to verify that individuals can provide consistent replies and information. If answers have changed since the time the application was submitted, individuals should prepare their explanations. For those who cannot remember, it is best to be honest and tell the interviewer so.

In addition to being honest, couples should also bring relevant documentation to their interview. Important documents may include bank records from joint accounts, marriage certificates, photographs, emails, letters and bills that contain both spouses' names. These can corroborate answers provided by couples.

Having to prove the validity of a relationship in an official interview can be extremely nerve-racking. Careful planning by Louisiana citizens and their spouses can help ease some of those nerves, but navigating US immigration law alone is often difficult. Reaching out to experienced immigration counsel can help ease some of the nerves couples tend to experience when dealing with this system.

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