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Q. I’m at the last stage to get my employment-based green card. If I marry my U.S. citizen girlfriend, can I get my green card that way instead? I’m legally here in H-1B temporary professional worker status with extensions …
Joydeep Roy, Florida
A. No problem. Marry your girlfriend and you’ll have your green card in four to six months. Some employment-based categories have wait times of many years. That’s particularly true for applicants from China and India. The wait is due to the annual quota on immigration for employment-based applicants. As the spouse of a U.S. citizen, you can get your green card outside the quota system. Your having an employment-based case pending will have no affect on your getting permanent residence based on a U.S. citizen spouse petition.
Those receiving disability payments can naturalize
Hailey Abreu, Brooklyn
A. Maybe. To file for your green card without your husband's help, you must self-petition under the Violence Against Women Act. That law requires proof that you or your child were battered by your husband or that you or your child has been the subject of extreme cruelty. You don’t describe any physical cruelty, but if your husband’s refusal to petition for you is causing you great anguish, mental cruelty may be the basis for a self petition. Are you depressed because you don’t have your green card? Does your situation cause you loss of sleep? Do you do things for your husband you wouldn’t normally do just because you are worried about your immigration status? If a mental health professional can confirm a link between your husband not petitioning for you and mental suffering, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service may approve a self-petition.
Allan Wernick is an attorney and director of the City University of New York's Citizenship Now! project. Send questions and comments to Allan Wernick, New York Daily News, 4 New York Plaza, New York, NY 10004 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @awernick.
Certificate of Citizenship not needed to obtain a U.S. passport