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How Are US Citizenship Applications Affected by Marriages to an Illegal?

Updated on April 10, 2010


If INS feels you are seeking US citizenship in so that your illegal wife (no green card) can stay legally, they may ask you to go to a fraud interview in order to prove your marriage is valid and not just to get her a green card. They may ask to speak with her and interview her. They could deport her. They could tell you to file a I-601 form (Hardship) or I-130 to adjust the illegal status to legal. She may have to wait up to 10 years, once deported, before she applies to enter legally.

If the alien is illegal because he or she snuck into the United States without any visa or permit, than that person cannot "adjust status" and has to leave the country before obtaining a green card. If the person was illegally in the country for more than a year, than he or she is barred from ever coming back for 10 years (known as the "10-year-bar") The only way to overcome having the 10-year-bar is by the US citizen spouse filing a petition for a waiver of the bar. The petition has to prove that it would cause extreme and exceptional hardship to him or her to move to his or her spouse's country.

Once you are married you can start the process by filing the I-130. once it is approved, he\she will have to go back to Mexico for an interview to get his visa at the American consulate in Mexico. He\she will be denied the visa because he was illegaly present in the US for over a year. At that time, he will be instructed to file the I-601. You will have to present evidence proving that you could not live in Mexico. This would include evidence of medical problems you may have, financial obligations in the US, familial obligations (i.e. caring for aging parents or disabled relatives.) and anything else that would make it impossible for you to move to Mexico. You have to prove that the hardship would be ABOVE and BEYOND the hardship that could be obviously expected. Not easy to do.

The Green Card holder would need to file an immigrant visa petition after marriage under the F2a family preference category. However,those petitions take 5 years before they are valid for use. Until that time, they provide no immigration benefits at all. Plus, it will be impossible for the illegal immigrant to adjust to green card status while in the US. He'd have to go home for an immigrant visa interview than then apply for a waiver.

The person here legally, the Green Card holder, may have the whole process to become a US citizen delayed or stopped. On the other hand, INS may conclude nothing else occurs to the permanent resident who is applying for US Citizenship and the deportation of the illegal wife is hardship enough.



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    • perrya profile image

      perrya 3 years ago

      Totally valid

    • profile image

      Sonofimmigrant 3 years ago

      When did you get this information from? This article is such a bunch of crap.

    • perrya profile image

      perrya 5 years ago

      @natalie- I doubt it.

    • profile image

      natalie 5 years ago

      Can i file my hubby's visa, permission to work,& I160 at thr same time while he is still illegally present un tje us?

    • perrya profile image

      perrya 6 years ago

      I would think you could just apply at the nearest immigration office, but, the rules are always changing. I would see an immigration attorney.

    • profile image

      NB 6 years ago

      I have an usual situation. I came into US in September 2001 under a visit tourist. At that time, I had some difficulties at home country. Upon my arrival in US, a refugee application was filed under my behald. The person who did it reported that I entered into to the country illegally (I knew this mistake was made just recently). I got married and have a kid with my husband who is a US Citizen, he files for me, we had the marriage interview and it has been approved. Because I have an history of illegal entry, when I call USCIS, the immigration officer told me that I have to get back to my country in other to file for the green card because I entered the country illegally. I have the passport with the US Visa dated from 2001. How should I go to have this rectify so that I can apply for the green card without leaving USA? Your answer will be greatly appreciated. Thanks

    • profile image

      Jessica Potter 6 years ago

      What baseline does the USCIS consider for approving a waiver for the 10 yr bar? Suppose the illegal immigrant has a child with the US Citizen after marriage and is now on the verge of being deported, will it serve to obtain a waiver?What is the legal status of such a child?

    • Darknlovely3436 profile image

      Annie 7 years ago from NewYork

      so how about someone married just for the Green card

      the person got the green card and is not living with his wife, after 2 years into the marriage. can they revoked

      the green card..(INS

    • perrya profile image

      perrya 7 years ago

      Thanks. The thing is, INS probably will know about the wife or husband who is illegal because you have to submit a marriage certificate. They will know the spouse is illegal because that person will not be in their "system". If you come legally, you are in the system. The question is why doesn't INS\ICE simply come to your house and pick up the illegal. It is a low priority. ICE targets business that hire illegals because they then impose heavy fines. It is more effort to come to your house.

    • thevoice profile image

      thevoice 7 years ago from carthage ill

      terrific reading hub write thanks