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If the US government thinks your marriage is a fraud

When you arrived in Texas, you might have been one of thousands of immigrants who emigrated from other countries in order to marry the loves of their lives. Whether yours was a whirlwind relationship and you decided to start life afresh in the United States after only a few months of dating, or you and your partner have been together for years, you were likely excited and a bit nervous when you finally began bringing your marriage plan to fruition.

Now that you're ready to apply for a marriage-based green card, there are definitely several important issues to keep in mind as you navigate the interview process. Immigration officials may act at their own discretion in determining whether they believe your marriage is legitimate. This is why it is critical that you arrive at your interview prepared with necessary documents and ready to answer some very personal questions.

What kinds of questions will they ask?

If you are applying for a marriage-based green card, U.S. immigration officials want to make sure you're not committing fraud. This is because many people marry immigrants for the sole purpose of helping them obtain permanent residency. In fact, some people trick others into paying them money with a promise that they will speed up their application process or other false statements.

To determine if your marriage is valid and that you are not trying to "beat the system," interviewers may ask personal questions, such as where you and your spouse went on your first date, what color your bedroom is or what are some of the names of guests who attended your wedding. The more detail you can provide in your answers, the better.

Other documents and things that might help

You'll want to arrive at your interview with all necessary documents in hand, such as a copy of your marriage license, your immigration paperwork and anything else that might help convince your interviewer that your marriage is for real. If you have photographs, greeting cards or letters you and your spouse have exchanged, it would definitely be in your favor to show them to your interviewer.

What if they don't believe you?

Obtaining a green card or eventually applying for U.S. citizenship might be among your greatest immigration goals. However, if your marriage interview doesn't go well and officials suspect you of fraud, they may not only deny your eligibility for a green card but can take you into custody and place you in detention, in which case you'd be at great risk for removal.

Before attending a marriage interview, many Texas immigrants connect with legal advocates who are well-versed in U.S. immigration law. This often helps make the interview process less stressful, and it's also a conduit for guidance and support if a detention occurs.

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