One of the most common questions an immigration attorney receives is: “Can I get married in the United States while I am an illegal alien?” In principle this is possible. However, the alien may not be able to obtain U.S. residency by marriage.
Therefore, in today’s article, the experts at Urbina Immigration Law will tell us what happens in these cases and what is the probability of success. If you need help with this or other immigration issues, we are here for you. Talk to an attorney today and start your path to a new life in the United States.
Tabla de Contenidos
Can I get married in the U.S. while being an illegal alien?
So, can I get married in the U.S. while being an illegal alien? As mentioned above, you can. In fact, it is common to see U.S. citizens marrying undocumented immigrants.
However, it must be taken into account whether the undocumented person in question entered the country legally or illegally. This is because such an issue could have consequences when it comes to adjusting their status. We will see below what can happen in each case.
Marriage to an undocumented immigrant who entered legally
In these cases, the spouses are considered immediate relatives by the immigration laws, so you should have no major problems in obtaining residency by marriage.
However, keep in mind that each case may present particular complexities. Therefore, it is important to have the help of an immigration lawyer specialized in family law. At Urbina Immigration Law we can help you. Tell us your case and let’s start defending together your right to marry the person you love.
Marriage to an undocumented person who entered illegally
If the undocumented alien spouse entered illegally and remained in the country for more than 6 months, then he or she may have to attend to a Green Card interview at the U.S. consulate or embassy in his or her home country.
On the other hand, by entering the country illegally, they could also receive certain penalties that would prevent them from re-entering and obtaining residency. However, certain applicants who are family members of U.S. citizens may apply for an I-601 waiver if they are inadmissible.
Requirements to get married in the United States
Regardless of how you entered the country and your immigration status, to get married in the United States as a foreign national you must meet the following requirements:
- Be over 18 years of age.
- Have a petition by a citizen or permanent resident through Form I-129F (Petition for Alien Fiancé(e)).
- Obtaining the K-1 fiancé(e) visa of a U.S. citizen.
- Get married within 90 days after being admitted to the United States.
- Be able to prove that you have a bona fide marriage and not a fraudulent one.
Depending on your case, there may be additional requirements, such as the need for an immigration waiver if you entered the country illegally. At Urbina Immigration Law we will analyze your case making sure that you meet all the established requirements. Contact us and take the first step towards a life with the person you love.
What evidence can I present to prove the authenticity of my marriage?
While there is much evidence of authenticity evidence of authenticity that USCIS considers valid, some of the most common and compelling are:
- Evidence of the relationship over time, such as photographs and love letters.
- Evidence of combined finances, such as joint bank accounts and joint tax returns.
- Proof that you live together, such as rental agreements or deeds of joint ownership and shared utility bills.
- Proof of joint parenting if you have children, such as birth certificates and legal custody documents.
- Evidence of joint travel, such as passports with stamps and airline tickets.
- Affidavits from family, friends, and colleagues testifying about the relationship.
At Urbina Immigration Law, our attorneys can help you gather the necessary evidence and prepare for your USCIS interview. Don’t risk your future with the person you love. Contact us and get the visa and/or adjustment of status you are looking for.
How is the Green Card process for marriage?
The process to obtain a Green Card by marriage consists of the following steps:
Step 1 – Valid Marriage
It is essential that the marriage be valid and recognized by law. It must be legally registered, and have supporting documentation. Fraudulent marriages are not eligible for the marriage-based Green Card process.
Step 2 – Immigrant Visa Petition (Form I-130)
The citizen or permanent resident spouse must file an immigrant visa petition with USCIS, using Form I-130. This initiates the process and must be properly completed and documented with the evidence of the spousal relationship mentioned above.
Step 3 – Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing
Once the immigrant visa petition is approved by USCIS, the foreign spouse must choose between these two avenues:
– Adjustment of status in the U.S.: If the foreign spouse is in the country, he or she can file an application for adjustment of status (Form I-485). If approved, he or she will obtain the Green Card without having to leave the country.
– Consular Processing: If the foreign spouse is out of the country, he or she must go through the consular process. This involves picking up the immigrant visa at the U.S. embassy or consulate in his or her home country and then entering the country to receive the Green Card.
Step 4 – Medical Examination and Interview
In both adjustment of status and consular processing, the alien spouse must undergo a medical examination. In addition, an interview with a USCIS officer will be scheduled to verify the authenticity of the marriage and the applicant’s eligibility.
Step 5 – Receipt of Green Card
If approved, the foreign spouse will receive a Green Card as a permanent resident of the United States. This is valid for an initial period of two years in the case of recent marriages. After this period, a ten-year Green Card can be applied for through the removal of conditions process.
It is important to keep in mind that the process may vary according to the particularities of each case. Therefore, professional legal assistance is essential. At Urbina Immigration Law we will walk you through the process. Don’t risk your future by facing the immigration system alone. Tell us about your case and take the first step towards permanent residency.
I am an illegal alien and I married an American citizen, can I apply for a Green Card by marriage?
Yes, you can apply for residency by marriage even if you are illegal in the United States. However, being undocumented, the process of applying for a Green Card by marriage changes. It can be summarized in the following steps:
Step 1 – File Form I-130 with USCIS
The citizen or permanent resident spouse must file Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) with USCIS to prove the valid spousal relationship. USCIS usually takes 6 to 8 months to approve the I-130.
Step 2: Submit your Visa Application at the U.S. Consulate
Once the I-130 is approved, the spouse must file the immigrant visa application with the U.S. consulate or embassy in his or her home country and pay the appropriate fee.
Step 3 – Apply for a Provisional Exemption (Optional)
If deemed necessary due to inadmissibility issues, a provisional waiver may be requested. To do so, a receipt must be obtained from the National Visa Center (NVC) showing that the visa application has been filed. The decision on the exemption may take up to 6 months.
Step 4 – Interview at Consulate or Embassy
If the waiver request is approved, the spouse must attend an interview at the U.S. consulate or embassy in his or her home country.
Note that waiver requests can be risky, as they could result in a 3 or 10-year punishment for the undocumented spouse. Therefore, it is best to seek the advice of an immigration attorney to better understand your situation and follow the process properly.
What documents do I need to apply for a Green Card by marriage?
For your application for a Green Card by marriage, you must submit the following documentation:
- Form I-485: This form is essential to adjust the status of the foreign spouse and obtain the Green Card. Documents the application for permanent residence in the United States.
- Form I-130: This form is filed by the citizen or permanent resident spouse to demonstrate the valid spousal relationship and request approval of the immigrant visa petition.
- Form I-130A: This form collects additional information about the foreign spouse, such as personal history and details of the marriage.
- Form I-864: This document is filed by the citizen or permanent resident spouse to show his/her ability to financially support the alien spouse once he/she obtains the Green Card by marriage. It is a guarantee that the spouse will not become a public charge.
- Form I-693: This form requires the alien spouse to undergo a medical examination by a professional designated by USCIS. The vaccination history is also recorded. This step ensures that the applicant does not pose a public health risk in the United States.
These documents are essential for the process of obtaining the Green Card by marriage. Therefore, it is advisable to seek professional legal assistance to help you file them in a timely manner. At Urbina Immigration Law we can help you. Contact us today and let’s get your paperwork in order.
Can I obtain U.S. citizenship by marriage while being undocumented?
No, it is not possible to obtain U.S. citizenship by marriage if you are an undocumented immigrant in the United States. To apply, you must have been a lawful permanent resident and meet other requirements.
What happens if I get divorced before I get my Green Card by marriage?
If you divorce before obtaining a Green Card by marriage, you could face the loss of your legal status and the cancellation of your immigrant visa. In some cases, this can lead to deportation to your home country.
In addition, your application for permanent residency may be affected, requiring changes to the petition or additional evidence to prove the authenticity of the marriage and that it was not a means to obtain immigration benefits.
Can I get married on a tourist visa?
It is not advisable to marry on a tourist visa in the United States, as this could be considered marriage or immigration fraud. In addition, doing so may affect eligibility for future visas and obtaining a Green Card.
What is marriage fraud?
Marriage fraud refers to entering into a marriage for the sole purpose of obtaining immigration benefits (such as a Green Card or some kind of visa) without the sincere intention of establishing a genuine and lasting marital union.
Getting married in the U.S. illegally: the importance of legal advice to avoid inconveniences
As we have seen, although there is no law that prevents you from getting married in the United States while undocumented, this could bring you several disadvantages, especially if you entered the country illegally. For this reason, in addition to love, it is important to have professional legal help to accompany and guide you through the process.
At Urbina Immigration Law, our attorneys have extensive experience in family immigration cases. They will help you through any setbacks, guiding you through the entire process. Don’t let difficulties keep you away from the people you love. Contact us today and take the first step towards permanent status in the United States.
USCIS – Adjustment of Status
USCIS – Citizenship and Naturalization
USCIS – Citizenship Resource Center