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USCIS Clarifies Guidance on Spousal Petitions Involving Minors

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Pasricha & Patel Takeaways:

USCIS clarifies its guidelines that (a) the age requirements for a petitioner filing an Affidavit of Support for a spouse in conjunction with a concurrently filed I-485 is 18 years old [note: there is no formal age requirement for petitioner filing a spousal form I-130]; and (b) adds factors that the adjudicators should consider when adjudicating form I-130 spousal petition involving minors.

On the issue of form I-130 spousal petition involving minors, USCIS instructs its adjudicators to make sure: (1) the marriage was lawful in the place it was celebrated; (2) if the couple resides outside the place of celebration, the marriage is recognized as valid in the U.S. state where the couple currently resides or will presumably reside and does not violate the state of residence’s public policy, and (3) the marriage is bona fide, and the minor(s) provided full, free, and informed consent to enter into the marriage.

USCIS does say that these updated guidelines are part of their efforts to make sure that its policies and processes are current and they are in keeping with current immigration laws. But USCIS does also say that ultimately, it is up to the U.S. Congress to give more certify and legal clarify to this process for all parties involved in this process, including for the USCIS adjudicators.

This clarification does bring into focus the issue of marriage-based petitions involving minors, and it appears to reflect the USCIS’s concerns about child brides and also trying to take into account the cultural and religious sensitivities of marital relationships based on different nationalities.

Should the reader require any further clarification about this particular subject, please do not hesitate to contact our office to schedule consultation.