inside immigration information about marriage green cards and work visas in America


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Moving to the USA as a marriage green card permanent resident can be stressful, but immigrating to the USA can also be a great life experience.  Many U.S. citizen spouses, including same sex spouses, turn to an American immigration lawyer to help them with the marriage green card process. The assistance of a kind, caring, and competent immigration lawyer can really help your new marriage go well.

Why Can’t I Rely on American Government Websites for Reliable Immigration Information about a Resident Card?

The USCIS government websites are getting better and better.  However, there still are problems:

  • Government immigration agencies are not responsible or liable when they give you the wrong information because their websites about permanent resident cards are outdated.  For example, if you rely on the USCIS government website while preparing the marriage green card paperwork and send the wrong forms to the wrong place with the wrong amount of money it may be rejected, you may miss a deadline, and/or you may not get your government fee money for the permanent resident card refunded. The USCIS considers the marriage green card forms you submit as your “legal case” so if they are submitted improperly it may count against you.
  • Government immigration agencies are predisposed to keep foreign people out of the USA, especially due to the high unemployment rate for American citizens.  Oftentimes these sites only give you a piece of the information, such as “if you have a green card you can stay outside the USA for up to 1 year.”  They neglect to tell the caller the full story, such as (a) If you try to return to the USA 1 day late due to a plane delay your green card may be considered no longer valid to re-enter the USA; or (b) If you are outside the USA over 180 days your application for American citizenship may be seriously delayed.
  • Government immigration agency 1-800 Customer Service Representatives are not immigration lawyers, immigration officers, or adequately trained in immigration law. They read their answers about permanent resident cards off of a cue card.  There is no way for them to answer phones 8 hours a day and also keep up with the daily changes in immigration law concerning permanent resident cards unless they volunteer to do so on their time off, which most don’t.  For example, a Customer Service Representative told my client (before he hired me) that the certified letter he sent to the USCIS was sufficient to request a new date for his marriage green card interview – but then his wife’s case was closed and she was put in deportation proceedings. You can imagine the arguments that took place between husband and wife because he had not wanted to hire an immigration attorney for her permanent resident card and she did.  It took a lot of work for us to get the USCIS to admit to their mistake on her permanent resident card case and reopen her it, but it was possible.
  • Government agency personnel, whether they are the USCIS Customer Service Representatives or the USCIS INFOPASS District Office Immigration Officers, do not have the time to (a) find your husband or wife’s permanent resident case file; or, (b) read his or her entire immigration history, which is necessary to give you the correct advice on how to proceed. Let’s say your wife entered the USA with a B-2 Tourist Visa and you are seeking to adjust (get a marriage green card) her status in the USA based on her marriage to you, a U.S. citizen. The issue of  her “intent” upon initial entry to the USA will likely be an issue in her case, but the Customer Service Representative has no obligation to tell you (if they even know). If you file her marriage green card case on your own, and the USCIS determines that her “intent” was to enter the USA as a B-2 Tourist and adjust status through her USC spouse in the USA, the USCIS can claim that she committed visa fraud and deny her a marriage green card on that basis and you will never see it coming.  Had you known about that rule, there are easy ways to fix that situation, but the USCIS has no obligation to tell you before you make the mistakes.

marriage green card attorney

It takes a lot of time to figure out which marriage green card forms to file, what documents to attach to the forms, where to send the forms, and how much money to send with the forms.  The immigration governmental agency websites have out of date and confusing instructions that go with the forms and a lack of inside information could lead to mistakes that can be costly in terms of time and money. If you have to hire an immigration lawyer later, your mistakes may limit your options and immigration lawyers are likely to charge more to clean up the mess.

A good immigration lawyer should be able to give you an honest and thorough assessment of your permanent resident card case and be able to explain the options that are available to you based on not only the current law, but changes that are in the legislative and judicial pipeline at any given time, such as the recent approval of same sex marriage green cards.  The immigration lawyer can then work with you to prepare your permanent resident card case and represent you before the USCIS.

danielle nelisse customer reviewsThe immigration lawyer can explain to the USCIS government agency why your permanent resident card case meets the requirements of the law and if problems arise, the lawyer often has additional resources available to help resolve the issues or can prepare your case for an appeal.  I cannot tell you how many husbands have thanked me for repeatedly explaining everything to their wives and emailing them often about the progress of their case, thus making their lives much easier and less stressful.  I personally have gone through the marriage green card process (my husband is from Holland) so I know first hand the anxiety that does with trusting your future to a governmental agency!

Many immigration lawyers specialize in a certain type of immigration law.  The subspecialties are employment, adjustment of status through family, asylum, deportation, business, investment and citizenship. It is important to question the immigration lawyer about whether they have a strong background in your particular type of case. We have done hundreds of these marriage green card cases over the last 12 years for many husbands and wives.

The relationship with your immigration lawyer is important.  Finding a lawyer who really seems to care about your case results in a trusting relationship and a good overall experience. The immigration lawyer normally works for both the husband and the wife in a marriage green card case, so that both of them always know what’s going on in the case.

American immigration lawyers have clients all over the USA and often handle permanent resident card cases completely through fax, phone, mail, and email. We are in San Diego, California but currently we have clients in Florida, Washington, Alaska, Arizona, Texas, Kentucky, Michigan, California and New York.  We also represent some family members who are still in their countries, such as Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Mexico and South Africa.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are actually immigration lawyers out there who swear they have never lost a case even after a lengthy career. Be nervous about immigration lawyers who promise 100% success as we are not allowed to do that. An immigration lawyer who honestly presents the risks is worth a lot more. Likewise, be careful of immigration attorneys who claim to have special influence with the USCIS government agencies – that is out of the ordinary.

Due to the economy, some people may not have the money to be able to hire an immigration lawyer to handle the full marriage green card process due to the costs.  More and more lawyers are offering services to help with a part of the marriage green card process, such as reviewing the paperwork before you submit it, or preparing you for the marriage green card interview. This means that instead of handling a case from beginning to end, the immigration lawyer will prepare only parts of the marriage green card case to provide the client with the immigration lawyer’s expertise.

For example, perhaps you want to submit your marriage green card application yourself, but would like to consult with an immigration attorney and have that immigration attorney review and critique your marriage green card application before you submit it to the government, that is possible.  We are able to quote you a lower price to review your marriage green card package before submission to Chicago, or to prepare you for your marriage green card interview.

The risk involved in not hiring an immigration attorney to handle a marriage green card case is simple — you will go through the marriage green card process without the inside information regarding what is required to successfully complete your marriage green card case in a timely manner. This means that you probably have a higher likelihood of your  marriage green card case being rejected or delayed at some stage.

American immigration law is much more than just filling out marriage green card forms. There are a lot of instructions that the marriage green card forms do not give you. Your immigration lawyer, whether in San Diego, CA or Dallas, TX, identifies all the red flags in your case (if there are any) and walks you through the process of getting beyond them. They are also there for your support and piece-of-mind and to answer all the marriage green card questions you and your wife will have along the way.


danielle nelisse

Call Danielle Nelisse at (619) 235-8811 in  San Diego,  California if you want to discuss legal representation for your marriage green card case.


  1. Jo
    October 26, 2013

    We’re about to file I-751 for my husband but we don’t know that we have to do joint filing income tax. We file separately with a different address. Is that going to be our big problem for filing the I-751? Thanks

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 26, 2013

      Dear Jo,

      Please amend your tax returns to be a joint filing. You can amend your tax returns at any time.
      I can’t say if it would be a problem because I know nothing about your case. It is safer to just amend the tax returns.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

      • Anonymous
        October 29, 2013

        We have to file our I-751 now. Our 90 days started already. If we amend our tax return now how long for that? Thanks

        • immigrationworkvisa
          November 1, 2013

          Dear Anonymous,

          Most tax preparers can finish your amended tax return within a week, but it depends upon your circumstances and your tax preparer. The due date for the I-751 is the date the 2 year card expires.

          Kind regards,

  2. Anonymous
    January 9, 2012

    Hi Danielle,
    I’m a green card holder & i want my wife Who has a 5 year USA visa to come and live with me in the US. What should i do?


    • immigrationworkvisa
      January 9, 2012

      Dear Anonymous:

      Sounds like you need to apply for a marriage green card.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

      • Anonymous
        January 10, 2012

        Will she be able to enter the USA & live with me till the green card is issued?


        • immigrationworkvisa
          January 11, 2012

          Dear Anonymous:

          In some cases yes,and in other cases, no. I’m not trying to be vague just to get hired. It’s complicated. You can research the two methods of getting a marriage green card for a spouse on the internet. The two methods are called “adjustment of status” and “consular processing.” Sorry that I cannot explain every situation here.

          Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

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