In a previous article, I discussed various situations where marriage would affect a person’s eligibility for a visa, and situations where it might be advantageous to marry before being processed for the greencard. Here are some more situations dealing with the effect of a marriage on a person’s eligibility for a visa:
5. Brother or Sister of U.S. Citizen (F-4):
It is always permissible to marry if you are under petition by your U.S. citizen brother or sister. Your marriage will have no effect whatsoever on your eligibility for a visa in the F-4 category. In fact, if you marry before your immigrant visa is issued (or before you adjust status in the U.S.), then your spouse can be included, or added on, as a derivative beneficiary of your brother or sister’s petition. If you get your visa through your brother or sister’s petition as “single” and marry afterwards, your bride or groom would not be included under that petition. You would have to petition your spouse under the F-2A category (greencard spouse petitioning spouse), and they might have to wait an additional five or more years for their priority date to become current.
6. Employment-Based Visas, such as Labor Certification (EB-1, 2, 3):
Marriage will not affect a person’s eligibility for a visa based on a petition by an employer. In fact, it may be advantageous to marry before your immigrant visa is issued (or you adjust status). That way, your spouse would be included under the employer’s petition, and would be eligible to receive a visa the same time as you.
7. Derivative Beneficiaries:
If a child is a “derivative beneficiary” under their parent’s petition (i.e. their parent is being petitioned by an employer (labor certification), or by a parent (F-1 or F-3), or brother or sister (F-4) and that derivative child (even though under 21) gets married, the child would no longer be considered a “child”, and, thus, ineligible to receive a “derivative” visa.
As you can see, there are certain situations where it is “bawal” (or prohibited) to get married, while in other cases, it may be to your advantage to get married. That is why if you have questions about whether or not it is “safe” to marry, I suggest that you seek the advice of a reputable attorney, who can evaluate your situation and tell you whether or not it is best to get married before getting your greencard.
Michael J. Gurfinkel has been an attorney for over 24 years, and is an active member of the State Bar of California and New York, as well as the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the Immigration Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. He has always excelled in school: Valedictorian in High School; Cum Laude at UCLA; and Law Degree Honors and academic scholar at Loyola Law School, which is one of the top law schools in California.
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(This is for informational purposes only, and reflects the firm's opinions and views on general issues. Each case is different and results may depend on the facts of a particular case. All immigration services are provided by an active member of the State Bar of California and/or by a person under the supervision of an active member of the State Bar. No prediction, warranty or guarantee can be made about the results of any case. Should you need or want legal advice, you should consult with and retain counsel of your own choice.)