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Green Card question relating to a US citizen and wife with expired staus who came here legally but has been out of staus for man

Boston, MA |

I am a US Citizen and am married to a non citizen. My wife came to the US about 18 years ago on a tourist visa. She has her I-90 and was inspected as she entered the country. Her status expired a long time ago. She has been working and paying taxes for at least 15 years, maybe more. We have been married for about 8 months, lived together for close to 2 years and would like to be able to sort out the green card issue. I understand that an i-130 and i-485 would need to be completed as well as a couple of other peices of paperwork, and while i am confident we could complete these ourselves, I understand a lawyer would be a wise choice. I am curious as to how difficult this kind of case would prove to be and how likely it would be that we encounter difficulties. Thanks

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Attorney answers 6


very likely

NYC EXPERIENCED IMMIGRATION ATTORNEYS; email:; Phone: (866) 456-­8654; Fax: 212-964-0440; Cell: 212-202-0325. The information contained in this answer is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.


It does not sound difficult at all.

Please click the link below for additional information.

Carl Shusterman, Esq.
Former INS Trial Attorney (1976-82)
Board Certified Immigration Attorney (1986 - Present)
Schedule a Legal Consultation - Know Your Rights!
600 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1550
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 394-4554 x0
Web: (English) (Spanish)

(213) 394-4554 x0 Mr. Shusterman is a former INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) with over 35 years of immigration experience. His response to your question is general in nature, as not all the facts are known to him. You should retain an attorney experienced in immigration law to review all the facts in your case in order to receive advice specific to your case. Mr. Shusterman's statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship.


If you have no criminal issues, and your wife has no criminal issues, and you never petitioned someone in the past to get a green card, and any prior marriages for either of you have been properly terminated, and you have excellent documentation of your shared life together, and your wife has never lied about her immigration status, and your wife was never involved in a fraudulent marriage, and your wife doesn't come from a country with an actual or perceived high rate of immigration fraud, and you are relatively close in age, with comparable levels of education, and are able to communicate with each other in the same language, then it could be a relatively simple an straightforward process, and the main point of having an attorney would be the comfort and security of knowing that things were going smoothly. As soon as you start to throw wrinkles into what appears to be a clean case, then the need for an attorney rises.

It might be worthwhile to at least have an in-depth consultation with an immigration attorney who can: (1) give you a broad overview of the process, and (2) screen for any possible issues with the bona fides of your marriage, or your spouse's admissibility.

Good luck!


How difficult depends on the full facts of the case.

J Charles Ferrari Eng & Nishimura 213.622.2255 The statement above is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice, as not all the facts are known. You should retain an attorney to review all the facts specific to your case in order to receive advise specific to your case. The statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship. Answers on Avvo can only be general ones, as specific answers would require knowledge of all the facts. As such, they may or may not apply to the question.


Anyone who is out of status runs the risk of removal, but, if you meet all the "bona fides" of a real marriage and can prove a legal entry, your case should go smoothly. An experienced attorney can prepare all the documents for you so there won't be a request for evidence which will delay an already long process. Important issues and don't answer it here, but tell whatever attorney you choose, how did your wife get a social security number and how did she work without authorization?

This is not legal advice until I am retained and have reviewed all facts about your situation.


Based upon what you have written, the case sounds relatively straight forward for an experienced immigration attorney. However, the attorney will need to review all the facts of the case to properly advise you how best to proceed and what to expect.

While this answer is provided by a Florida Bar Certified Expert in Immigration and Nationality Law, it is for general information purposes only and an attorney/client relationship is neither intended nor created. You should seek out qualified counsel to review your case and provide you with advice specific to your situation. Call +1-561-478-5353 to schedule a consultation with Mr. Devore.

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