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Can I still marry my boyfriend, who is undocumented, without penalty?

Los Angeles, CA |

My boyfriend is a japanese national who has been here illegally since his student visa (F1) expired in 2002. A company promised to give him the work visa but it turned into them blackmailing him in order for them to not report him. (He continued to work for them). We've been together and were hoping to marry because we are in love and of course to fix his status. Is this possible? I am a u.s. Citizen. (Also I'm a mexican citizen also)

-if we technically drove to mexico, since they usually don't even look at passports, and we applied for a visa from there would he be okay? His current passport doesn't have biometrics.
- what would be our best route without him being banned from the u.s. For ten years?
-do we have any options?
- do the authorities know he is illegal already?

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Attorney answers 5

Best Answer

If you don't want him to have a 10 year ban, DO NOT let him leave the country until he gets his green card. You can file for him while in the US. Because he entered legally, he is eligible to adjust here (assuming he meets the remaining requirements for purposes of adjustment of status). Schedule a consultation with an immigration lawyer.

This answer is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.


Get married and sponsor him for LPR status (greencard) He will trigger the 10 year bar if he leaves the US. What you describe in your post re him applying for a visa in Mexico is fraud and a very bad idea.

Due to the nature of this forum, I often do not have all the information required to provide legal advice. Accordingly, my responses on Avvo are intended as general and not legal advice.


Upon marriage all sponsoring paperwork is filed with the USCIS. Generally violations of the immigrant spouse's (when you are married) status are absolved based on bona fide marriage to a U.S. citizen.

Your spouse will receive employment authorization in about 3 months after correctly filing the appropriate petition and applications. He should not travel outside the U.S. even if issued an advance parole document by the USCIS.

Consult with an immigration attorney for case-specific advice. Contact info is in Avvo or at


Because your fiance last entered the United States with a valid visa, once you marry, your husband may adjust status, and generally his overstay will be forgiven (that is if there are no other pending issues (i.e. illegal reentry while out of status)), and you meet all the other requirements for a bonafide marriage.

This response in no way establishes attorney/client privilege or relationship.


I cannot stress this enough.. DO NOT leave the country. He will incur a 10 year time bar the day he steps out of the country. Your boyfriend entered the US lawfully, thus, upon marriage to a US citizen he can adjust his status to lawful permanent resident in the US as long as you can prove a bonafide marriage. Consult an immigration attorney to help you prepare the correct applications and support documents you will need to submit. Good luck!