Can my green card application be affected if I do not live with my USC wife? 10 Answers as of January 06, 2011

I really need some help with our coming up stokes interview. My USC wife and I will have a stokes interview in a month, but a program called Woman in Need pays 3/4 of our rent and the Officer was not happy with that at our first interview. I (as an immigrant) am not supposed to be depending on any kind of public assistance. I just started working after receiving the authorization and I make about $550/week after tax. But we are not on our feet yet. And I had my brother in law as a co sponsor. 1-Should I keep living with my wife in that apartment. What will be the effect on my case? 2- I just found a room I can afford to rent for only one person and we are a family of 3 people. My wife, my 10 year old stepdaughter, and I. Should I move to that room and keep visiting each other until we save up enough money to rent an apartment? And what will also be the affect since we are supposed to be living together as a couple. Do you think that's a good reason for a couple to be living apart? My wife lost her job a week before our marriage. We really love each other and we are proud. Any guidance please thanks.

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Pacifica Legal Services
Pacifica Legal Services | Floyd Fernandez
To go to another apartment, even if you are not divorced, could give the interviewer at CIS the impression that the whole marital arrangement is fraudulent, jeopardizing your chances. The fact is, your new job, with a weekly income of $550 per week, translates into an annual gross income of $28,600. That, along with your brother-in-law as a co-sponsor, helps you to overcome the barrier of income, which is 125% of poverty rate for a family of three (four, since your brother-in-law would be added to the CIS determination of household size). The issue of Section 8 public housing assistance is a difficulty, since it could be construed that you are a public charge, however, you are not the sole, or even primary beneficiary. The other is your wife, and your child. That will be taken into consideration, especially if the applicant is not you, but your wife. Since you are working, is your share of the rent now much higher than the Women in Need program is paying? The problem is that you are having difficulty proving that you are not the public charge, and to gain adjustment of status forbids the applicant from being a public charge. But showing proof of present employment should help greatly.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/6/2011
Feldman Feldman & Associates, PC
Feldman Feldman & Associates, PC | Lynne Feldman
If the marriage is a good faith marriage and you are only living apart for financial reasons and this is temporary you should be fine but be prepared with lots of documentation on the good faith marriage and be totally honest in any and all responses. I would probably suggest an explanation letter to accompany you when you go to your interview and the financial reasons may raise valid public charge issues so this needs to be addressed as well.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/21/2010
Pauly P.A.
Pauly P.A. | Clemens W. Pauly
Stay with your wife and step-daughter. Your wife is your petitioner and as such must be your primary sponsor and she does not qualify because she lost her job. Your brother-in-law would have to qualify with his income as joint sponsor and your own income can now also be counted as well, but you need to prepare an I-864A for your income to be considered. Please contact a community-based pro bono organization in your area who can help you sort out the details because you need assistance beyond this website.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 12/20/2010
Carlos E. Sandoval, P.A.
Carlos E. Sandoval, P.A. | Carlos Sandoval
I have a question. Is the assistance being provided by the government? Or is that a private organization? One of the things you need to prove in order to get your green card is that you won't become a public charge for the government.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 12/20/2010
Law Office of Immigration & International Trade Law
Law Office of Immigration & International Trade Law | Linda Liang
Sorry for what you are going through. From immigration standpoint, it is not a good idea that you and your wife are not living together. The rule of thumb in USCIS petition is to tell the truth. As long as it is reasonable, the officers will believe you as a real couple.

I don't understand from your statement why you want to live apart from her? for the sake of accepting public assistance? If it is the case, be truthful to yourself. Just live with her.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 12/20/2010
    Fletcher, Tilton & Whipple, PC
    Fletcher, Tilton & Whipple, PC | Kirk A. Carter
    Yes, you and your wife should be living together and must demonstrate a viable marriage. USCIS expects you to be co-habiting and living under the same roof and you should do so. Getting a separate apartment under the circumstances you describe would be terrible and would likely result in the denial of your case. You are not supposed to be receiving public benefits, however, I am not aware of any public benefit program known as "Women-in-Need". I am not sure what state you are in, but having done a Google Search, I have found a lot of information on a "Women in Need" housing program in New York, particularly in the Bronx, which provides rental housing assistance, such as you described. This is not a public benefit! This is a private charity, and as such, should not be a problem, particularly if you have a back-up sponsor. If you are not in New York please inquire about this program to determine whether the program is paid for by the State or Federal Government, or instead is provided by a private charitable organization, like the United Way or Red Cross, or a Church Organization. If none of you are working at this point I see no reason why you should be penalized for taking advantage of charity, however, your wife should probably make it known to the charity that you are also living in the apartment with her as it may effect her eligibility and USCIS may question whether you are really living there with her if the landlord, housing authority, or program which is paying the rent is not aware of your presence. You should also bring with you detailed documentation of your relationship, including photos of the two of you together, copies of joint accounts, bank statements, utility bills, joint purchases, as much documentation evidencing your lives together including affidavits from friends and relatives attesting to the fact that you are married, that your marriage is real, and that you live together. If you do not have an attorney, you would be wise to hire one to go with you to your interview, because this interview will be critical to your future here in the US.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 12/20/2010
    The Vega Law Firm
    The Vega Law Firm | Linda Vega
    You must have clear and convincing evidence of a bona fide marriage. Your living apart is not good for your case. Please consider visiting an immigration attorney for guidance.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 12/20/2010
    Marie Michaud Attorney At Law
    Marie Michaud Attorney At Law | Marie Michaud
    No matter what, you must live together with your wife. If possible, move the whole family to a cheaper place.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/20/2010
    Nicastro Piscopo, APLC
    Nicastro Piscopo, APLC | Louis M. Piscopo
    Yes, your case will be affected if you and your wife are not living together. More so, if your wife is receiving some type of public benefit or assistance that is only available if she and her spouse are not residing together. Additionally, if you are receiving any type of public assistance, it can affect you eligibility for legal permanent residence.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/20/2010
    Calderón Seguin PLC
    Calderón Seguin PLC | Ofelia L. Calderon
    I think there is no question that living separately will affect your petition/application with USCIS. Your explanation sounds legitimate, but frankly, everything you do with USCIS needs to be really well-documented. The fact is that married couples need to live together in USCIS land so I am reluctant in the extreme to advise you to not live with each other no matter how difficult the circumstances are.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 12/20/2010
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