Green Card Vows: ‘Till Citizenship Do Us Part


Coming to America has gone far beyond fairytales of African prince traveling to America in search of his future wife.  In fact, for Africans seeking to emigrate from their native land, coming to America is purely the only motive. Though by what means?

It remains no surprise obtaining a visa has become a goal of extreme difficulty and frustration for multiple years. Older immigrants argue that difficulties emerged soon after their immigrating to America from Africa during a heightened period of rapid emigration in the late 70’s, early 80’s; and since then, things have only gotten progressively worse.  Applicants are consistently being denied visas, while waiting list hopefuls who once had anticipation are left with doubt.  Reasonably, many seek alternative strategies after being denied even temporary entry and apply for visas such as H1B visas (work visas), and student visas.  As expected, those attempts too go unrewarded, though when all else fails at least the men generally seem to have a common plan.

 Like many immigrants, we can affirm that our African countrymen’s primary desire for immigrating to the states are to support the lives of their family and self, eager to move from a developing society of unpromising pace, onto one where ambitions are realistic to the new environment in which they seek to live.    

I can remember tales repeatedly told to me from years ago by aunts, cousins, and both parents warning me the negative possibilities of becoming involved with a man who has no green card being that I have citizenship. Stories began by explaining why the marriage of one of my relative’s wasn’t a success and further mentioning that the man who married my cousin had greedy motives of coming to the country, using her simply to gain American citizenship.  After all, marrying a citizen is how to become a citizen too.   

For many African women its custom they visit home annually whether it be Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, and wherever else.  For such frequent travels it’s often common to meet a man and eventually grow interested in him.  He says all the right words, and promises all these wonderful things that would naturally make her comfortable and convinced to believe that she’s safe with him.  However, many are familiar with how that story may end.  The relationship takes a sudden turn once vows stating, “Do you take this women to be your lawful wedded wife, to love and to hold, in sickness and in health, for rich or for poor, ‘till death do you part?”  You can bet there would be absolute compliance and “I Do’s” coming from both parties.  Though his mischievous interpretation for the final part of the vow is, ‘till citizenship do us part, abruptly parting ways from his new wife after being granted U.S. citizenship, ready to explore the freedoms and opportunities of America.

Judgments from outsiders with an opinion on the matter have split viewpoints.  Do you blame the man for misleading the women into deep feelings, deceiving her for one motive only, or find sympathy in his desperation? 

On the flipside, there continues to be individuals in different positions; where men, even women agree to marry the opposite sex to help friends become U.S. citizens also, while others engage in fraudulent marriage for financial rewards.  Not to count out the countless cases where true love proves to be the foundation between two persons and thus successful marriages.  Unfortunately when being deceived throughout the entire relationship for a green card, the only outcome is distress; leaving lives forever changed and abandoned partners scorned. 

I guess it’s up to the person to decide how genuine the relationship is; otherwise, they’ll end up being that person, scorned.

By: Ashley I. Okonkwo

Photo Credit:


  1. I've always been of the opinion that those who marry for papers are pretty desperate… as in it can't be that serious.

    Also… Naija babes… stop falling mugu for these hopeless guys in naija that will promise you everything just to get that Kpali. 90% of the time that thing they are calling love doesn't exist for them. as my homeboy will say, "who no go love yankee babe?"…lol.

    Nice job Ify

  2. This was very informative. It is sad that things like this are still going on,but at the end of the day either the citizen be male or female have to smarten up and realize what is happening

  3. I don't agree with people marrying just for papers because that spoils the meaning the of marriage and at the same time leaves some females scorned as said in the article, but then again we are only seeing it from our point of view because we are citizens, someone who isn't a citizen is constantly being denied to come here and non-citizens really want to come because of some people who would go back home to show off what they have achieved in the US. Even though fake marriages isn't right in any way, desperate people will always be desperate is just for people to be careful and know what they are getting into.

  4. Great article ash!I had no idea it was you until the end!but yes this was very informative!hopefully it opens more peoples eyes to what's really going on out here because some people honestly don't know!BTW I loved the title!keep writing!

  5. Im glad to know it isnt only men that participate in this kinda activity. People got to the extreme to get their papers. Its a Great ariticle Ash. Keep up the good work.

  6. It's sad to know this is still going on..but what do you expect? They make it so hard for immigrants to get citizenship? I'm glad people are still aware of what's going on with people from the motherland, trying to get citizenship. This issue needs to get resolved…or else more kids well be raised in broken families because of there significant others abandoning them, due there own "hidden agendas"..

  7. Its true. Marrying for papers is a common occurrence.Its just one of the many reasons some shallow African woman chase after American guys! One of the reasons is obviously purely financial.

    • Financial yes … but even more so, a means of survival.

      You only mentiong shallow women … men are just as shallow (if not more so), if 'shallow' is even the correct word.

  8. Damn…this is definitely the ugly truth in life. I remember reading somewhere that women are on it too by becoming pregnant forcing marriage on the man, i doubt it works often but still possible. Good s*** thought ash real talk, really had me feeling like i'm reading a article on CNN or something. Keep it up girl!! GC!!!!!

  9. This is a situation that has been going on datin back since the early 80's,our fathersand mothers,their friends and even family all passed through this phase.This is a land of opportunity and everybody would like to make this their home. For them and their family.but the concept of one using this as a ruse to deceive someone that it is true love and not for a gimmick that is very wrong

  10. Your article is very relevant in light of the countless sad stories and heart broken ending to these cases. It is difficult to predict who is real and who is in it for benefits. unfortunately, many women are that desperate to find partners to the extent of ignoring obvious warning signs. Sad to say, this is going to be a story that will be repeated countless times with various twists.

    I enjoyed the read.

  11. This was a really good article, you definitely hit the nail on the hammer with this one. As you said there are a lot of stories told about people getting into false relationships with those who have citizenship. You have to be wise enough to know someones true intention. In my opinion i really don't think its that hard to tell someones true intentions. keep up the good work hun

  12. This is very informative,and there are many individuals who get married for their citizenship but also some who get married and have a child.Now a child will be in the middle of this falsely marriage. This did not happen out of love but lust of a green card.Marrying someone only for benefits shows that a person can be unloyal and untrustworthy.Love is something that takes understanding,commitment,and effort.

  13. Folks that get involved in this whole thing make it difficult for legit people back home to get visas. Officials that work at the embassies conclude that everybody looking to get visiting visas will end up not returning, hence making that "temporary entry" a "permanent entry". So frankly, i don't blame them for denying as many people as they do, not saying it is right for them to do so. Perhaps, they should improve their screening process.

    And i think it is disappointing that everybody wants to leave their country to come to the U.S, and then decide never to go back home. The whole idea is to come here, learn some positivity, go back home and make crucial improvements to better our country so people may one day decide to seek Nigerian citizenships (for instance).

    I really appreciate this article.

  14. Yo I fel wat your saying here. You see this kinda everywhere, soo many people from soo Many different cultures do this. Its crazy wat people would doo get green card, my boss from workk jus married someone w needed a green card in exchange for $$. Somtims you gotta consider th situation of others and ask yourself what would you do if you were desperate to ge to america?

  15. You all are just running your mouth saying stuff about those who marry for paper. The fact that you all got your citizenship without marriage does not mean it's that easy. I came to america with visa, no job, no money, i cant go to school. I went to community college and i paid out -of-state. Do you all even understand. you HAVE NO IDEA THE HARDSHIP PEOPLE GO THROUGH, YOU CANT EVEN GET FINANCIAL AID TO GO TO SCHOOL. you all just decided to assume stuff that they are desperate. If they are desperate for the good life, then so be it. If you haven't experienced it then abeg no just dey yarn anyhow. I did the contract marriage and i already got my 10yrs green card,it was pure business. It wasn't easy but it was worth it.I am sure some of you don't want the amnesty sef for immigrant. Na wa o, yankee change everybody. My heart goes out to the immigrants without that don't have their greencard/citizenship.

    • Your comment is vey useless. Good for you that u did contract marriage and it worked out for you. She is merely stating the different things that people do to get visa. After all it is not by force to come to America. And don't assume that ppl dnt know what is it like to pay out of state tuition…pshh

  16. The whole visa/ greencard drama is way too agonizing. I believe the desire to settle in Uncle Sam steps from various interests- ranging from selfish to ''wannabee-dom''(No offence meant). Having heard about the situation seekers go thru,i told myself one thing. "Worked hard, make money and holiday overseas for as many times a year as I want". And so far, I have done that. But we all have different stars and lucks and dream-directions. I wish all my niaja bros and sis well, as the pursue the search of the Green-er pastures. I just hope they never have to work horribly hard to get it. But all in all, the end justifies the means…whatever means.

  17. I think you did a wonderful job in portraying what some Africans have to go through in order to enter this country. Your article helped give me insight on on the struggles that many immigrants have to face. Great Job.

  18. this so true. It's now hard to tell whether the guy you meet in college wants to marry you because he loves you or just cause he wants to remain in the country legally. I know majority of the men/women who are here illegally want to remain in America but should this significant other suffer for that?