May 1, 2009
Fong & Chun is an immigration law firm with extensive experience with family-based petitions. Although we are located in Los Angeles, we handle cases throughout the USA, and we have recently noticed that the economic slowdown being felt in the USA is causing some married couples to take jobs in different cities.
This situation is hard enough on families where everyone is a US citizen. The effect on a couple which has pending marriage-based application for a legal permanent resident card -- the so-called "green card" -- can be horrendous. In my experience, many immigration officers don't or won't understand that economic need, job opportunities, family issues, and other circumstances can cause a perfectly legitimate married couple to have to live apart for a time.
Couples with marriage-based immigration cases should take care to (a) document the circumstances of the separate residences, (b) include any employment contracts or offers, (c) continue to place both spouses names on documentation like bills, insurance policies, leases, etc., to demonstrate that the couple is living in marital union.
If you have a marriage-based immigration case, and you are living apart from your spouse or are "commuting" back and forth between two residences due to economic reasons, you should contact counsel experienced with family-based immigration matters. --jcf