Written by attorney Lynne Rogers Feldman

I am a U.S. Citizen but My Spouse is Illegal

I am a US Citizen and my husband entered the U.S. illegally. How can I get him a green card (known as "permanent residency")? In some cases we can file in the U.S.; in others you must process at an overseas consulate; and in others you must not only process at an overseas consulate; but would also need a waiver showing extreme hardship to you, the U.S. citizen. In certain cases there may be no relief. In any case we will advise you as to the costs, timing, any risks and what is required for a strong case. Another common question is "My fiance is illegal. What can I do?" To determine the answer and best strategy, we will need more information. For example: 1) Is your husband or fiance in the U.S.? If just a fiance what are your plans for marriage? 2) If yes, did he enter with or without papers? 3) If he entered with papers is he currently in status? 4) If not in status, has he returned home since becoming out of status or after an illegal entry? 5) Was he ever stopped at the border? 6) Does he have any criminal record? 7) Does he have a prior deportation or removal? 8) Does he have any close family members who are permanent residents or citizens? 9) Has anyone ever filed a petition for him or one of his parents or grandparents? If yes, date filed? 10) To prepare an approvable waiver we will need lots of information about you, your extended family, any children, your finances, any medical conditions you or your extended family may have, your own story of why you don not want to be separated for ten years and why you cannot pick up and move to your husband's country of birth, whether you speak the language of that country, are your job skills transportable to another country, do you have any children from another marriage with visitation rights with a former spouse, etc. We suggest setting up a confidential consultation with our office to determine the best way to proceed, documents required, timing and costs.

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