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Visa overstay, about to get married, bench warrant. What should I do?

Los Angeles, CA |

I came to the US (Colorado) on an F1 Visa. I've been out of status since 2012. I got a bus ticket while I was a student, I was going to go to court because I was eligible for free public transit, but I haven't yet gotten my free sticker for that semester. I forgot about my court date and months later found out from a police officer that I have a bench warrant. I didn't take care of it because I was paranoid of getting deported. Now I no longer live in Colorado. I'm about to get married and I don't know if the warrant will cause issues when my husband will file papers to fix my status get a green card & work auth. I'm not sure what I can do to take care of it without going back, and I'm not sure if going back and taking care of it could get me deported. What can I do?

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Attorney answers 3


Unlikely that your situation will cause a deportation. You should nevertheless take care of it. You can call the court and ask if you can pay a fine for the bench warrant and a fine for the ticket and many times they will allow you to do that without needing to appear. If they don't, then you should contact an attorney to help you. But again, it is very unlikely a violation such as this would trigger removal proceedings.


USCIS requires a disposition for all criminal offenses before they will adjudicate the residence application. Contact an attorney in Colorado to straighten out the ticket. Sometimes these offenses are charged as theft. The attorney will need to verify that the final disposition does not render you inadmissible.

Please note that this response is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney-client relationship.


Get married, have your spouse sponsor you for a green card and take care of this other matter prior to your immigration interview.

Mr. Shusterman's (former INS Trial Attorney, 1976-82) 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.

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