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How can I help my illegal alien husband adjust his status to that of United States resident? What is the process?

Salt Lake City, UT |

I am a United States citizen that has been married to an illegal immigrant for eleven months now. He entered the country illegaly, has been here for almost 5 years. My husband has never worked with someone else's documents, he has never been in trouble with the law, not even a ticket, nor has he ever been fingerprinted. He works for a company that moves heavy machinery, and does his taxes every year.

I forgot to add that he pays child support.

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Attorney answers 2


Unfortunately, the fact that your husband entered illegally (not necessarily that he is not in legal status now) is a big problem here.

With legal entry, even someone out of status can still get a green card in the U.S. without leaving based on marriage to a citizen.

But if the person entered illegally, they would need to leave the U.S.and process through the U.S. consulate in their home country - and the act of leaving after one year of "unlawful presence" makes him subject to a ten-year bar to coming back.

There is a waiver of this bar available based on extreme hardship to a U.S. Citizen spouse or parent - you should speak with an attorney to see if this is a viable possibility.

Lisa Michelle Anderson

Lisa Michelle Anderson


You should also find out if anyone ever petitioned him (or his parents when he was under 21 years old). He may be covered under a law commonly known as 245i. See an experienced immigration attorney who can advise you on that. There are other ways to qualify as well such as if he had a previous marriage and a petition was filed for his ex-wife. There are filing dates to meet in order to be qualified but it is worth looking into. If he does not qualify under such as law, he can then consider a consular process but he will require a waiver for his prior unlawful presence.


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