Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Age Difference for Marriage Green Card? Sex Questions?

same sex marriage green card age difference
I have noticed that my same sex couple clients often have more of an age difference than my different sex couple clients.

I am not sure why, but because there is a 25 year difference between me and my spouse (and I sponsored him for a marriage green card years ago), I am probably more sensitive to this issue than most immigration attorneys.

Be Ready for Questions

What type of questions do the Immigration Officers ask if there is more than a 5-10 year age difference between spouses?  It depends.  Some Immigration Officers do not ask any questions pertaining to age because it seems they have already decided, based on your body language and circumstances, that you are really living together and really married despite the age difference.

The Immigration Officers I have encountered while representing clients at marriage green card interviews with couples who have more than a 5-10 year age difference tend to ask indirect questions about age differences, such as:
  • Does your spouse take any medication (assuming older spouses take medication and the younger one is relied upon to help with medication maintenance);
  • What do you and your spouse have in common? What do you do together for fun?
  • How did you meet?
  • How long have you been in an committed relationship?
  • Do you and your spouse have common friends? 
  • What do you like about your partner?
  • What do you dislike about your partner?
  • Why did you marry your spouse?
  • Do you have your spouse on your Facebook page?
  • Have you always been attracted to older (younger) people?
Real Life is Not a Movie

I have found that the Immigration Officers do not expect your life to be like a movie. Most couples are not spectacularly attractive.  Most people did not have a fantasy sky writing marriage proposal.  They probably asked each other to marry them during a commercial break while sitting on the couch. Or in the garage. Most people did not have a fantasy destination wedding.

Most people usually go to the local courthouse to get married.  Most people that the Immigration Officers interview do not have the money to express their love and devotion like the movie stars on television. There is probably no giant, expensive wedding ring - usually just a simple band.  My point is that the Immigration Officers are not allowed to judge couples based on their financial capacity to prove they are married. More than expensive gifts or weddings, they are interested in your day to day life because people who really live together, no matter what age, have to get normal every day things done like cook and clean and take out the trash.

 Let's Talk About Sex, Baby

So far my clients have not been asked about their sex life.  Not when they have it, how they have it, or where they have it.  But it is possible.

For example, one of my different sex clients was asked when was the last time he had sex with his wife, but that was because (I believe) he forgot some other crucial information (like where and when he met his wife).

My client frankly expressed his confusion about whether oral sex constituted having sex but eventually it ended up with an awkward moment followed by approval of the green card.

Some of my clients, due to age and disability, no longer have sex, but they are affectionate with their partner.  Some of my clients sleep in separate rooms due to all kinds of medical or psychological reasons.

The Dept. of Homeland Security is simply trying to figure out if you are really married or not -- and let's face it, not having sex and not sleeping together is what a lot of marriage couples end up doing.  It seems to me the government does a pretty good job trying to define what type of marriage you have without judging, but then again they are under a legal obligation to make a decision whether the marriage green card application was just a scam to help someone stay in the USA.

Please Talk About Age Difference and Sex Before the Marriage Green Card Interview

same sex marriage green card questions
I believe the best way to prepare for the marriage green card interview is to have a discussion with your partner before going to the interview regarding how you define your marriage, and develop a way to describe it in short sentences.

For example, if the immigration officer asks, "why don't you sleep in the same bed together?" you do not need to give your entire medical history and all the gory details.  It is ok to give a short abbreviated answer about your current medical condition and the other ways that you are affectionate with your partner.

Danielle Nelisse, Immigration Attorney
During your pre-interview discussion, be sure to discuss how you would describe your relationship in terms of love, affection and companionship.  What small niceties do you do for each other every day? What sweet nicknames do you call each other? What favorite foods do you cook for each other? What small gifts do you pick up for each other at the store? What do you do for each others' family members?  All of these gestures of kindness describe a loving, committed, married relationship.

Most couples I know whose age differences are more than 10 years like it that way.  Be prepared to discuss why this is so and what you like about being married to someone who is much older or younger than you.

If you are still anxious and uncertain about the marriage green card, why not hire an Immigration Attorney in your area to go with you?  The fee is usually $500 - $700 and the peace of mind? Priceless.
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Danielle Nelisse, Immigration Attorney                                         Email  
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Other Immigration Questions Concerning Same Sex Married Couples:

What are the issues if my gay spouse entered the USA as a B-2 Tourist ?

Exactly what happens at a marriage green card interview?

How does a person get married in the USA? 

Tips on how to help your helping your partner adjust to America during the Adjustment of Status process.

What if my spouse entered the USA legally, but overstayed their visa?

What if my spouse is HIV positive?

Is “coming out” important to the Immigration Officer who conducts the marriage green card interview?

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