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Arrived to U.S. as a 14 year old in 94. Worked illegally as a waitress using my ssn. Always had F-1 visa. Can i get a green card

Toledo, OH |
Attorney answers 3

Best Answer
Posted

Just to clarify - you have maintained F-1 status since your entry at the age of 14, are married to another foreign national, and your spouse would be getting a green card based upon employment (you would be a derivative beneficiary as his spouse under the employment-based case - he isn't sponsoring you for a family case as his spouse), right?

The big question I have is how long you worked without authorization. Up to a certain amount of time, it may be forgiven. If longer than that time, it can be a problem - though perhaps not a fatal one (would just require that you process abroad, causing some delay and inconvenience).

Speak with an attorney about this.

Asker

Posted

Thank you Mr. Reich! I worked on and off between 1995 and 2000 couple of months each year, mostly in the summers, as a waitress. My husband will be sponsoring me through his work. He will be sponsored as a university faculty.

Asker

Posted

I also have a doctoral degree

Stuart Jonas Reich

Stuart Jonas Reich

Posted

OK - here's the thing - there is a provision that forgives up to 180 days cumulatively - so it sounds like the days working w/o authorization really need to be counted up here (I know, that's very tough). Let's assume we're over 180 days - you can still get a green card, but can't adjust here in the U.S. It may be eight or ten months after your spouse gets his card that you are able to get yours. Again, discuss the process with a lawyer.

Posted

If he is a US citizen, then yes.

You should retain an experienced immigration lawyer to review all the facts and advise you accordingly.

J Charles Ferrari Eng & Nishimura 213.622.2255 The statement above is general in nature, 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.

Asker

Posted

Thank you Mr. Ferrari. He is not a U.S. citizen. He is an F-1 student like me, he will get sponsored for a green card. The last time I worked illegally was in 1999, is there some clemency because this was 12 years ago?

Posted

Your issue is not whether you worked or not (as marriage to U.S. citizen "cures" that defect pursuant to INA 245(c)) but whether or not you marked your I-9 at the waitress site and indicated you were a U.S. citizen. That would constitute a permanent bar to permanent resident status. Although not heavily weighted against you in the exercise of discretion, the adjudicating officer can ask you questions about the employment, can investigate that employment and can make your life a bit miserable. [Especially since you are filing in the Cleveland District. There are a couple of AO's who would love to make your life rotten.] Hire a lawyer for the process.

Asker

Posted

Thank you very much for your comment. As far as I remember, I never had to complete an I-9 form and I don't think I never ever indicated that I was a U.S. citizen on any legal document or that I was a green card holder.