While there are many legitimate international marriages, South Carolina residents are sometimes taken advantage of by foreign-born individuals who are simply looking for a green card. If a U.S. citizen marries a non-U.S. citizen who did not enter the marriage in good faith, there are some steps that the U.S. citizen can take to ensure their spouse does not obtain a permanent green card.
After marrying a U.S. citizen, a foreign-born person will receive a two-year conditional permanent resident card. The conditional status will become permanent status after the U.S. citizen spouse signs the non-citizen spouse's petition for a permanent card. If the citizen spouse does not sign the petition and does not agree to divorce the non-citizen spouse, the non-citizen spouse may end up getting deported when the conditional resident card expires.
A non-citizen spouse may apply for permanent resident status without help from their U.S. citizen spouse if the marriage ended in divorce or annulment. To do this, the non-citizen spouse must prove that the marriage was bona fide and that the marriage was entered into the marriage in good faith. Non-citizen spouses may also obtain permanent green cards by proving that they were victims of spousal abuse or by showing evidence that leaving the country would cause extreme hardship.
A U.S. citizen who is unsure what to do about a marriage to a foreign national may want to discuss the situation with an immigration attorney. An attorney may be able to help an individual to understand how certain actions will affect the other party's immigration status.