my boyfriend is illegal : LUSENET : Immigration Law - Law Offices of Michael Boyle : One Thread

My boyfriend is from Jamaica. He has been in the United States for about six years but has no visa. We are thinking of getting married, and I want to know how I can sponsor him for a green card.

-- Anna Lundgren (, November 22, 2001


How easy (or hard) it will be to sponsor him will partly depend on what "no visa" means. The easiest case would be if he entered the US with a valid tourist visa, and simply overstayed and lost his I-94 card (the little white card the INS staples in a noncitizen's passport at the airport). If we can pinpoint the date and place he entered, we can apply for a duplicate. After we receive it, as a US citizen you could sponsor him immediately and do all your processing in the US. In Connecticut, the INS is relatively fast, and processes this kind of application in about six months.

If your boyfriend has no visa because he entered using someone else's passport (This is pretty common coming from Jamaica.) , it will be more complicated. If he has the passport or I-94 card (or if he knows the info about when he entered and what the name was so that we could request a duplicate), we could ask for a 212(i) waiver -- a kind of pardon for the fraud he committed. To get this we would need to show that you would suffer extreme hardship if he were removed. This is a big task, but usually doable.

If he crossed the border or has no proof of being inspected, the case is much more complicated. We would either need to wait for an amnesty or change in the law, or split the application into two parts, and do the first part here, followed by a further application overseas. Because he has been here out of status for so long, this would involve another waiver application and would require that he spend months overseas. Since this is such a long, messy process, most people stay here quietly and wait for the law to change. From December 2000 until April 2001, there was a brief "miniamnesty" call the LIFE Act that allowed people in this situation to process their aplications here in the U.S. and there is some chance that it will be renewed.

-- Michael Boyle (, November 22, 2001.

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