There are a lot of stereotypes and myths that surround green cards, such as how they grant immediate citizenship with just a marriage. But like many stereotypes, many of these are false or at least partially untrue.
A marriage green card is often a surefire way for an immigrant to be with their American spouse. This is one of the most common types of green cards, as many couples these days meet online. But is obtaining a green card for marriage the right thing for you?
As with many processes in American immigration, things can get complex. Alongside the benefits, there will be downsides. Keep reading for all the pros and cons of getting green cards for marriage in the US.
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The Pros of a Marriage Green Card
Green card options exist to help future US citizens enter the country. They are a stepping stone that eventually leads to full-on citizenship, and all of the benefits that entails. Here are some of the pros of getting green cards.
Apply for Citizenship in Five Years
Applying for citizenship can be a maze for those who go through the lottery. With a green card, you can apply within five years. If you have already gotten married, then you only have to wait three years to apply.
You Can Sponsor Other Non-Citizens
Once you have your green card, you can sponsor specific family members. For example, you may be able to help a parent or sibling change their TN visa to green card.
Travel Is Easier
Traveling in and out of the US can be stressful as a non-citizen. Fortunately, a green card makes this process a lot easier. You will have to spend less time at customs and borders as a green card holder.
You Can Pay Tuition
If you plan to study in the US, a green card makes you eligible. You may also be able to apply for some financial grants and scholarships.
Renewal Is Easy
Some people do not manage to get their citizenship. Or, their plans to get married don’t work out. Fortunately, your green card still allows you to extend your stay in the US.
Once you have it, all you need to do is renew it. Renew once every 10 years and you are good to go.
Support Your Favorite Candidates
Non-citizens do not have the benefit of making financial contributions to political entities and candidates. All of that changes once you get a green card. By law, you can donate to the campaigns that you believe in.
This is a great way to influence politics toward being more immigrant-friendly. You can support politicians who want you to remain in the country. Especially politicians that vote on policies that ease the financial burden on immigrants.
Responsibilities of All Green Card Holders
Before we move on to the cons, it’s important to understand your obligations. You cannot get something for nothing. To get your green card, you will have to fulfill the requirements of living in the United States.
Here are just a few of those requirements:
- Obeying and sustaining the law
- Reporting your revenue to the IRS, and filing all necessary forms
- Avoiding any activity that attempts to change the government illegally (i.e. false voter registration)
- Registering yourself (if you are male) for the Selective Service
Cons of a Marriage Green Card
A green card does not give you all the benefits of being a US citizen. While you can live in the country legally and pay taxes, there are certain things you cannot do. Let’s cover the downsides of having a green card.
You Cannot Vote
Green cards do not allow you to vote, this is a right reserved for citizens. While you can make financial contributions to political entities, you cannot vote for them. Attempting to do so would be illegal.
Your Sponsor Priority Is Low
Don’t get too excited about sponsoring your relatives ASAP. While you can, you do not have priority. US citizens sponsoring other immigrants will get their requests pushed up to the top.
Difficulty with Your Child’s Citizenship
If you have a child, it may be difficult to get them citizenship. This is only for children born outside the US. If you have a child inside the United States, they automatically become a US citizen.
Run As an Elected Official
Naturally, if you can’t vote, you can’t become a politician. Even if you try, the law will bar you. You will need full citizenship before you can run for office.
Obtain a US Passport
US passports are only for United States citizens, and no one else. Green card holders will have to use their green card when traveling in and out of the US. Until you apply for citizenship, you cannot get a passport.
You Have No Deportation Protection
Unfortunately, a green card does not protect you from deportation. Many who enter the US fall victim to this false assumption. If you break the law, then you may be in peril of deportation.
Deportation only applies to non-citizens. Once you get your full US citizenship, you are immune to deportation.
Previous Criminal History May Disqualify You
Have you entered the US illegally in the past? Or do you have a criminal history in your home country? Then you may be disqualified from ever obtaining a green card or US citizenship.
Get Your Marriage Green Card Today
A marriage green card is often the perfect way for a US citizen and their beloved to be together. That said, it does not come without its own disadvantages. As you apply for your green card, consider the above.
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