marriage to a us citizen : LUSENET : Immigration Law - Law Offices of Michael Boyle : One Thread


My name is Wiliams. I entered this country illegally 5 years ago. I now have a girlfriend who wants to marry. Am I eligible to apply for permanent residence when I marry?

Thank you

-- Anne Cordero (, November 04, 2003


Marriage applications have two parts. You are definitiely eligible to do the first part, Form I-130, the Petition for Alien Relative. If your girlfriend is a U.S. citizen AND if you entered the country after being inspected by the INS, you are also eligible to immediately process the second part of the application with the INS.

However, if you entered without inspection across the border from Mexico or Canada, your situation is much more complicated. You would either have to wait until immigration laws are changed or improved, or take your approval back to your country to be processed. You would also need to apply for a waiver (similar to a pardon) for your unlawful presence in the U.S. This process takes many months -- often more than a year -- and requires showing that your wife would suffer extreme hardship without you. Once you leave, you must remain overseas until the waiver is approved. Becuase the process is slow and sometimes difficult, many people prefer to wait in the U.S., hoping that the law will change.

Since you are in Connecticut, you may want to make an appointment to come in and talk about this in more detail.

-- Michael Boyle (, November 04, 2003.

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