USCIS Strengthens Guidance on Spousal Petitions Involving Minors

WASHINGTON U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Providers (USCIS) announced today that it is publishing guidance for its officers to take into account when adjudicating spousal petitions involving minors.
The guidance, published as an update (PDF, 210 KB) to the USCIS Adjudicator's Area Guide (AFM), clarifies age necessities for a petitioner filing an Affidavit of Support for a spouse in conjunction with a concurrently filed I-485, and identifies aspects officers really should look at when adjudicating a Kind I-130 spousal petition involving a small.

USCIS is taking action to the highest extent permitted beneath current immigration law to highlight specific concerns in the adjudication of marriage-based immigrant petitions involving a minor, said USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna. Our updated advice complements the flagging method USCIS developed to determine small spouses. Whilst these are methods in the proper path, in the long run it is up to Congress to deliver much more certainty and legal clarity to this method for each petitioners and USCIS officers.

While there are no statutory age specifications to petition for a spouse or be sponsored as a spousal beneficiary, USCIS will look at no matter whether the age of the beneficiary or petitioner at the time the marriage was celebrated violates the law of the place of celebration and is recognized as legitimate or violates the public policy of the state where the couple resides or plans to reside. In some U.S. states and in some foreign nations, marriage involving a small could be permitted beneath particular circumstances, like the place there is parental consent, a judicial purchase, emancipation of the minor, or pregnancy of the minor.

The updated advice stresses to adjudicators that marriages involving a small warrant unique interest. When taking into consideration a petition, USCIS officers ought to ensure that:
The marriage was lawful in the location it was celebrated;
If the couple resides outside the location of celebration, the marriage is acknowledged as valid in the U.S. state where the couple at the moment resides or will presumably reside and does not violate the state of residence's public policy, and;
The marriage is bona fide, and the minor(s) presented complete, absolutely free, and informed consent to enter into the marriage.

This AFM update is aspect of a continuing work by USCIS to make certain that our policies and processes stay recent and are in trying to keep with present immigration law.
Prior to this AFM update, USCIS designed a flagging program that sends an alert in the electronic method at the time of filing if a small spouse or fianc is detected. Soon after the preliminary flag, the petition is sent to a particular unit that verifies that the age and connection listed are proper prior to the petition is accepted. If the age or classification on the petition is incorrect, the petition will be returned to the petitioner for correction.

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