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Is there any way my wife can gain citizenship without leaving america?

Haines City, FL |

my wife entered on a tourist visa with no intention of marrying. we've been talking for a while now so when she flew to the us we decided to meet and i proposed to her, and she said yes, so we got married and now we're trying to make sense of all of this paperwork but its terrifying to both of us because some websites say she may have to go back to her home country (she comes from an abusive home) and we don't want to get separated or for her to get deported or banned from coming back. we are about to send off the i-130 because her visa is about to expire and we're hoping that will mean they wont deport her.. please, any help is greatly appreciated, they make all this so confusing and we don't know what to do.

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Attorney answers 6


She's not eligible for citizenship because she must apply for permanent residence first. If she arrived on a visa, she should not have to depart the U.S. for this process. You should retain an immigration attorney in your area to prepare your adjustment of status package and to represent you during the interview.


You probably mean residence (aka: greencard) and not citizenship ... this is a common mistake.

You need to file more than the I-130.

You really will benefit from meeting with an immigration lawyer, to learn about the process.

Many of us do Skype consultations.

PROFESSOR OF IMMIGRATION LAW for over 10 years -- This blog posting is offered for informational purposes only. It does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Also, keep in mind that this is an INTERNET BLOG. You should not rely on anything you read here to make decisions which impact on your life. Meet with an attorney, via Skype, or in person, to obtain competent personal and professional guidance.



yes i meant a greencard sorry, we're just scared they may deport her because she entered on a tourists visa, but since that visa is about to expire shouldn't the i-130 be our top priority? i spoke to a USCIS rep on the phone and she said as long as that is pending they can't deport her.. but yes we will definitely have to get a lawyer at least for the peace of mind.. thank you all

F. J. Capriotti III

F. J. Capriotti III


NO ... a pending I-130 all by itself doesn't protect her. You are wise to meet with an attorney ... the people on the CIS phone bank are not lawyers.

Ardian Gjoka

Ardian Gjoka


I agree with Mr. Capriotti and some other colleagues. Ardian Ardian Gjoka, Esq. GJOKA LAW FIRM, PLLC 8613 Old Kings Rd. S. Suite 601D Jacksonville, FL 32217 Phone: 904.351.8749 Fax: 904.800.1102 Email: Web:


Your wife appears eligible for adjustment of status and need not depart the country for consular processing. It is advisable, however, to retain an immigration attorney to handle the process since you might have to deal with a possible inference of preconceived intent at the time of entry.

Answers to questions are for general purposes only and do not establish an attorney-client relationship.


First step is Adjustment of Status; however I strongly recommend you retain a qualified immigration Attorney to help you through the application process.

Morales Law Firm P.A. 2100 Coral Way Ste 703 Miami, FL 33145 (305) 851-7856 This response is not offered as legal advice, but is only a general informational response for public interest. No one reading this is authorized to claim that an attorney client relationship exists with this writer or the writer's law firm.


You should schedule a consult with an attorney and go through your options. In many situations she may obtain her resident status in the US.


If you're a US citizen, she should be able to get her green card without leaving the US. Provided you are still married, she will be eligible to apply for citizenship 3 years after she gets her green card. The process is tedious, and you are justified in feeling intimidated by the amount of paperwork. Your best bet is to hire an immigration attorney to help you put together the Adjustment of Status packet, with all the necessary forms and evidence, and represent you at the interview.

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