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  • Ebony Anuforo

"Marriage-Based Green Card Applications: Top Red Flags That Immigration Officers Watch Out For"

Marriage-based green card applications are a popular route for foreign nationals to obtain permanent residence in the United States. However, the process can be complex, and many applications are subject to intense scrutiny by immigration officers. In this article, we will discuss some of the red flags that an immigration officer may look for when reviewing marriage-based green card applications.

Lack of Evidence of a Genuine Relationship

The most significant red flag in a marriage-based green card application is the lack of evidence of a genuine relationship. The immigration officer will look for evidence that the couple is in a bona fide marriage, meaning that the marriage is not entered into for the sole purpose of obtaining immigration benefits. Some examples of evidence that may be requested by the immigration officer include joint tax returns, joint bank accounts, joint leases or mortgages, and evidence of joint travel or social events. Immigration officers would like to see that the couple has an financial connection and that they are commingling their finances as a married couple. A lack of shared finances and experiences may indicate that the couple is not living together, or that the marriage is not genuine, which could lead to further investigation.

Age Difference

A significant age difference between the petitioner and beneficiary can also raise red flags. While there is no specific age difference that will trigger scrutiny, a substantial age gap, particularly when combined with other factors, may lead to further questioning by the immigration officer.

Previous Immigration Violations

If either the petitioner or beneficiary has a history of immigration violations, such as overstaying a visa or working without authorization, this may lead to increased scrutiny of the marriage-based green card application. The immigration officer may question whether the marriage is genuine or whether the beneficiary is using the marriage as a way to remain in the United States.

Prior marriages

If either spouse has a history of prior marriages, it may raise suspicion. Immigration officers may believe that the foreign spouse is using marriage as a means to immigrate to the United States and has a history of doing so.

Cultural Differences

Cultural differences between the petitioner and beneficiary can also raise red flags. For example, if the couple comes from vastly different backgrounds, speaks different languages, or practices different religions, the immigration officer may question whether they have a genuine relationship.

Short courtship

If the couple got married soon after meeting, it may raise suspicion. Although there is not rule that requires couples to be married for a certain time period before applying for a marriage-based green card, if a couple gets married soon after meeting an Immigration officer may believe that the couple did not have enough time to develop a genuine relationship.

Family and friends not present at the wedding

If the wedding was attended by only a few people, it may raise suspicion. Immigration officers may believe that the couple did not want to invite family and friends because they were not genuinely married.

Inconsistencies or discrepancies in the Application

Another red flag for immigration officers is when there are inconsistencies or discrepancies in the application. This can include discrepancies in the couple's addresses, employment history, or other personal information. It's important to be honest and accurate when filling out your application to avoid any red flags.

In conclusion, marriage-based green card applications are subject to intense scrutiny by immigration officers. It is essential to provide sufficient evidence of a bona fide marriage and provide an application that is complete and accurate. Working with an immigration attorney will increase your chances at success when applying for a marriage based green card. If you would like to set up a consultation to speak with Attorney Ebony Anuforo to learn more about preparing for the marriage-based green card, you can call or text 201.565.0099 or schedule a call directly online at


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