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What happens if someone in an immigration removal proceeding leaves and then marries a US Citizen?

New York, NY |

What happens to someone who came into the US legally but then became out of status leaves the country while in a removal proceeding - but then marries a US Citizen? Will he or she be able to come back to the USA after marrying the US citizen?

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Attorney answers 6


Yes that person will be able to come back after a lot of paper work is done. Family petition, consular processing, I 601 waiver and possibly other waivers, and even possible motions and appearances in court.


The person will need to do quite a bit of paperwork, including eventually filing an application for a waiver. Depending on the circumstances of the person's departure from the United States, if the person received an in absentia order of removal, the person might have some significant problems.

This Avvo site is really not the place to handle a case as complex as this one. The person needs to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to go over all of the details and to determine what, if anything, might be done.

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There are so many "ifs" and "buts" in any potential answer to this quesiton that it makes it meaningless to answer this quesiton. Look, one who is prudent, would not just take off and leave while in removal proceedings. If one leave, an order of removal would be issued in his or her absence which would render him or her inadmissible for five years. If one intends to marry it is much better to do that while in removal proceedings and way before the order of removal is issued. Talk to an immigration attorney. You are in NY, it is a blessed place where you can find many good people including experienced immigration lawyers to have consultation with.

NYC EXPERIENCED IMMIGRATION ATTORNEYS; email:; Phone: (866) 456-­8654; Fax: 212-964-0440; Cell: 212-202-0325. The information contained in this answer is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.


Quite a bit depends on how the removal proceedings ented. Administrative closure? Termination? Inabstentia removal order.

Get a copy of the file and talk to a lawyer.

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.


Consult with an experienced immigration attorney.

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It could be a very long shot. If the person has been unlawfully present in the United States for a year or more and then departs, that person is barred from reentry for ten years, unless he or she can show that the U.S. citizen spouse will suffer extreme hardship. That's a tough hurdle to overcome.

Even if the person has been undocumented in the U.S. for less than a year, leaves and tries to reenter, he or she might not succeed because unlawful presence is a negative factor that will be taken into consideration by a consular officer exercising discretion. As such, even if there is no 10-year bar, the person may still be denied reentry into the U.S.

However, someone in removal proceedings may apply for adjustment of status based on marriage to a U.S. citizen, although they have to provide clear and convincing evidence that the marriage is in good faith.

This is a very complex situation. I strongly recommend that the person in removal proceedings consult immediately with an immigration attorney. Being well informed is the only way to properly move forward on such a matter.

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