Can marriage to a US citizen stop deportation?
The short answer is no. Marriage alone won’t stop deportation or prevent you from being deported in the future. But, marriage to a US citizen can make it easier to establish your legal status in the United States.
If you or your spouse is an undocumented immigrant, then what are your options?
Your Immigration History Makes a Difference
After marriage, spouses are legally viewed as “immediate relatives.” However, you’ll only qualify for a green card if you meet one of the rare conditions for adjustment of status. Unfortunately, the majority won’t qualify for these conditions.
What you qualify for will depend on your immigration history. For ease of use, we’ve divided your options by case. Read the one that best describes you.
I have entered the country illegally two or more times
It will be more difficult for individuals who have entered the country illegally more than two times to establish their legal status. Especially if their total stay was longer than one year or they illegally entered the country after being deported.
If this is your situation, it’s possible that you could be permanently barred from returning to the United States. Your best option is to seek counsel from an immigration attorney, who will find the best option for you.
I have entered the country illegally one time and my stay was longer than 6 months
Establishing your immigration status is easier if you’ve only entered the country illegally one time. But, you still need to act quickly and complete the right process to successfully establish your immigration status.
You will be expected to leave the country and complete the green card application process at a US consulate in your country of origin. However, leaving the country could result in being barred from returning to the United States for 3-10 years. To avoid this from happening, you need to apply for a waiver.
This waiver requires you to provide strong evidence that your relative will suffer extreme hardship if left alone in the United States or if they were forced to live in your country of origin. Read this list to understand what qualifies as extreme hardship.
Once this waiver has been approved you’ll be able to complete an immigrant visa application and return if it’s approved without the 3-10 year waiting period.
I have entered the country illegally one time and my stay was less than 6 months
If your stay in the country is less than 6 months, then the simplest option is to return to your country of origin and apply for an immigrant visa. These are generally issued without too many problems since your stay in the country didn’t exceed 6 months.
Pursue the right option with the right partner
Knowing all of your options is essential to successfully stopping deportation and establishing your immigration status in the country. To do it confidently, you need to find a trusted immigration attorney.
At Robichaud, Schroepfer & Correia, P.A. our Minneapolis-based attorneys are specialists in immigration law. We’ve helped many clients successfully stop deportation and legally immigrate to the United States. If you still don’t know what comes next, then schedule a free consultation and let us help.