Saturday, July 30, 2011

"The Proposal" & Green Card Marriages

The Proposal is a romantic comedy in which bossy book editor Margaret (Sandra Bullock) discovers that her visa is being revoked, and therefore must leave her job in the U.S. So she blackmails her assistant, Andrew (Ryan Reynolds), into marry her so that she can receive a Green Card. In order to prove to federal investigators that their upcoming marriage is legitimate, the pair vacations to Alaska to meet Andrew’s family, which includes Craig T. Nelson, Mary Steenburgen, and the fabulous Betty White.

I’ll admit: I will watch anything with Sandra Bullock in it. This particular film is very enjoyable, with very funny one-liners throughout the film delivered by the entire cast. I would definitely recommend it to someone looking for an entertaining chick flick.

Bride - 6/10

For this wedding movie review, and others in the future, I will also have Brandon watch them with me in order to get a guy’s perspective so brides will know if it’s groom-safe or not.

Groom - 4/10 – “I liked it, but I wouldn’t watch it again.”

Each future review will also include a post dedicated to some wedding/marriage related aspect of the film.  Since The Proposal is about Green Card Marriages, here is all you ever wanted (hopefully not needed) to know about the controversial topic:

A Green Card is also known as a Permanent Resident Card, which allows a non-US citizen to be able to live and work in the United States permanently. Green Cards can be obtained many different ways, but the most common form of getting one is marrying a United States citizen[1]. A Green Card is obtained following marriage by the spouse with U.S. citizenship. The U.S. Immigration Department states, “the majority of Green Card Marriage applications are real, but a small percentage are based on fake/sham marriages” [2]. These “fake/sham marriages”, otherwise called "marriages of convenience", are not only the basis for films like The Proposal, but are also a cause for alarm by many couples attempting to receive a Green Card due to the rigorous interview process that newlyweds are sometimes forced to take in order to prove the legitimacy of their union.

Fraud interviews are conducted when there is reasonable doubt the legality of the marriage. This doubt could arise based on the citizenship situation, like that in “The Proposal”, but could also be based on a language barrier between husband and wife, a large age gap, or if the spouses live at different residences. Questions asked during the interview include the following categories and some examples[3]:
·      Development of Your Relationship
o   When and where did you meet for the first time?
o   When did your relationship turn romantic?
·      You and Your Spouse
o   What is your spouse’s phone number at work?
o   Which holidays do you celebrate together?
·      Wedding
o   Who were your bridesmaids/groomsmen?
o   Did the bride change clothes for the reception?
·      Relatives
o   Have you met each other’s parents?
o   Do you buy gifts for your in-laws on important holidays? Do they buy gifts for you?
·      Children
o   Who prepares and packs the lunch for your children?
o   What are their least favorite foods?
·      House
o   Do you write checks for paying the bills or online billing?
o   How many sinks, toilets, and showers are there in your house/apartment in total?
·      Technology
o   Do you watch TV shows together, or separately?
o   How many remote controls are there in your house?
·      Kitchen
o   Who goes grocery shopping? Where? How often? How do you get there?
o   How many times a week on average do you eat out?
·      Bedroom
o   Do you have lamps next to your bed?
o   What color are your spouse’s pajamas?
·      Just Before the Interview (Last 24 hours)
o   At what time did you go to bed?
o   Did you have breakfast? Where and what did you eat?
The spouses are interviewed separately, and their answers are compared. The depth, breadth, and intricacy of the questions make it very difficult for fraudulent couples to prove their legitimacy.

Due to the fact that Green Cards give permanent residence in the United States, and many marriages are not permanent, spouses that engage in a false marriage for the purpose of gaining a Green Card are able to divorce after a short period of time. Once the recipient of a Green Card has had that card for five years, he or she may divorce his or her spouse without the risk of having the card revoked.  

Bottom Line: The Proposal is an entertaining and enjoyable rom-com that makes light of a serious offense in the U.S. The process of obtaining a Green Card can be very useful for true newlywed couples attempting to keep a spouse who is not a U.S. citizen in the states. However, due to films like The Proposal, Green Card, and shows like Parks and Recreation, scam marriages have become a popular topic in the media, which has pushed the U.S. Dept. of Immigration to carrying out rigid interviews to be sure that a marriage is legitimate. The whole Green Card topic is very serious, but The Proposal is much more fun.



  1. If your fiance is NOT in the USA, you can obtain a Fiance Visa which allows your future spouse to enter the country for 90 days and have a marriage in USA. You can then start the marriage visa process and file an Adjustment of status (Form I-485).Get your K1 Fiance Visa quickly. Automated Visa Preparation System without the high legal fees. Approved by Immigration Lawyers.

  2. Thanks for the info, Victor :) Good to know!