You are currently viewing Can an undocumented immigrant get married in the U. S.

A common question immigration attorneys receive is: “Can an undocumented immigrant get married in the U. S.?” To start off, it is possible. Of course, there is also a possibility that the immigrant cannot obtain the Green Card through marriage.

In this blog we will detail the feasibility of obtaining a favorable result. If you require assistance with this or any other immigration matter, do not hesitate to speak with one of our New Jersey immigration lawyers.

Can An Undocumented Immigrant Really Get Married In The U. S. In 2024?

If you are an undocumented immigrant in the United States, nothing prevents you from getting married. In fact, it is common for American citizens to marry illegal immigrants in the U. S.

Therefore, you can marry whoever you want, as long as the marriage is genuine. 

marrying a citizen while being illegal in the us

However, whether you entered the United States legally or illegally will be a determining factor as it could have legal consequences when adjusting status

Next, we will examine different scenarios.

Marriage To An Undocumented Immigrant Who Entered The U. S. Legally

In these cases, the spouses are recognized as immediate family members under U. S. immigration laws. Therefore, the foreigner should not have problems obtaining a Green Card based on marriage.

Despite this, each case may present specific difficulties. For this reason, it is essential to have the assistance of an attorney who is an expert in immigration law.

Marriage To An Undocumented Immigrant Who Entered The United States Illegally

If the foreign spouse entered illegally and remained in the U. S. for more than 6 months, they will need to travel to a U. S. consulate or embassy abroad. This will be to conduct an interview and thus obtain the Green Card.

Illegal entry into the country can carry severe penalties that could prevent your re-entry and affect your residency application.

waiver of inadmissibility

In addition to learning how can an undocumented immigrant get married in the U. S, we invite you to read our blog dedicated to the waiver of inadmissibility where we cover the subject in detail.

What Does An Immigrant Need To Get Married In The United States?

Regardless of the immigration status and the way in which they entered the country, the immigrant must meet the following requirements: 

  • Be over 18 years old.
  • Have a request from a citizen or lawful permanent resident through Form I-129F, petition for foreign fiancee.
  • Obtain the K-1 fiancé(e) visa of an American citizen .
  • Prove that your marriage is bona fide and not a fraudulent one.
  • Get married within 90 days of admission to the United States.

If you need to request an immigration waiver of inadmissibility, at Curbelo Law we will evaluate your situation. Do not hesitate to contact us to start a new stage of life with your loved one.

What you need to get married by civil ceremony in the United States?

To get married by civil ceremony in the United States, you must first obtain a license that grants authorization to marry. Additionally, you must meet the requirements for getting married in the U. S. mentioned above. 

undocumented immigrants getting married in the usa

The guidelines for applying for this license can vary significantly from state to state, so it is advisable to consult with an attorney. Other requirements to meet are:

  • Government-issued photo identification, such as a New Jersey driver’s license.
  • Birth certificates.
  • Social Security number.
  • Divorce decree (if requested). 
  • Death certificate (if requested).
  • Parental consent (for minors).

Marriage licenses usually have a limited duration, so it is advisable to obtain one before getting married.

What Is Considered An “Illegal Immigrant”?

An illegal immigrant is someone born in another country who has entered and remains in the U.S. without legal authorization. Generally, these fall into one of the following categories: 

  • Entered legally with a visa but did not leave after it expired. For example, staying on a tourist visa in the U. S.
  • Entered without a visa or permit.
  • Lied on their visa application. 
  • Acquired falsified documents or a fake Green Card.

What Evidence Should I Submit To Prove That My Marriage Is Not Fraudulent?

There are several tests of authenticity that may be valid for USCIS. Some of the most frequent are:

  • Documents that demonstrate the evolution of the relationship over time. For example, love letters or photographs.
  • Proof of shared finances, such as bank accounts or tax returns.
  • Evidence of cohabitation, such as a rental agreement, joint property deeds, or utility bills.
  • Documents that prove shared paternity in case you have children.
  • Evidence of trips taken together, such as airline tickets or stamps in passports.
  • Sworn testimonies from family, friends and colleagues who can attest to the relationship.

At Curbelo Law, our professionals can assist you in gathering the necessary evidence and preparing for your interview with USCIS. 

If you came here to look for an answer to the question: “Can an undocumented immigrant get married in the U. S.” do not put your future with the person you love at risk, we will assist you.

Can An Undocumented Immigrant Remain In The United States?

Generally yes, an undocumented immigrant can marry a US citizen and eventually stay in the country. However, marriage does not guarantee legal status or the process to obtain a Green Card or American citizenship.

Doing this through marriage can be complex and time-consuming. Therefore, it is recommended that the couple seek specialized immigration legal advice to understand the necessary steps and requirements.

What Is The Process To Obtain A Green Card By Marriage?

The procedure to obtain the Green Card through marriage includes the following steps:

  1. Marriage validation: The marriage must be registered and have the corresponding documentation.
  2. Apply for an immigrant visa: The citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse must submit Form I-130 to USCIS. 
  3. Choose adjustment of status or consular processing: Once the visa petition is approved, the foreigner must undergo adjustment of status or consular processing.
  4. Conduct a medical examination and interview: The foreign spouse must undergo a medical examination. Additionally, an interview will be scheduled with a USCIS officer to examine the authenticity of the marriage.
  5. Receive the Green Card: If approved, the foreign spouse will receive the Green Card. However, it will be initially valid for 2 years in the case of recent marriages. Later, you can request a 10-year one.

Can I Sponsor My Spouse’s Green Card If He Or She Is Undocumented In The United States?

Family reunification is key to U. S. immigration policy, as it allows immediate family members to live together in the U. S.

In fact, many immigrants are considered “legal” if they have been inspected by Customs and Border Protection (CBP). This usually occurs when they have entered the U. S. on a visa or through the visa waiver program.

For more information on this, read our blog dedicated to bringing your foreign spouse to the US.

Process To Obtain employment authorization

Getting a job in the U. S. illegally has serious consequences. Therefore, you must apply for a work permit. If you apply for adjustment of status, you may be eligible for this authorization. 

After your approval, you will receive a government-issued employment authorization document (EAD).

Additionally, applicants may apply for the EAD by completing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. 

Can I Travel Abroad When Filing For Adjustment Of Status Due To Marriage?

Adjustment of status applicants can also generally travel abroad if they have obtained an advance parole travel document before leaving. 

However, those who have accrued unlawful presence in the U. S. should take precautions before traveling outside the country. 

fixing documentation when marrying in the united states

Either way, applicants can typically request advance parole by completing Form I-131.

We recommend that you contact one of our immigration attorneys to address this issue.

Re-Entry Bars When Leaving The U. S.

Aliens who leave the United States after certain periods of unlawful presence could be barred from re-entry for:

  • 3 years, if you leave the country after having accumulated more than 180 days but less than one year of unlawful presence during a single stay.
  • 10 years, if you leave the United States after having accumulated one year or more of unlawful presence during a single stay.
  • Permanently, if you re-enter or attempt to re-enter the United States without having been admitted after having accumulated more than one year of unlawful presence.

This shows why marriage to an undocumented immigrant who has left the United States can complicate things.

What Documents Do I Need To Apply For A Green Card For Marriage?

To apply for a Green Card by marriage, the following forms must be submitted to USCIS:

  • I-485, application to register permanent residence or adjustment of status.
  • I-130, petition for a foreign relative.
  • I-130A, supplemental information for beneficiary spouse.
  • I-864, affidavit of financial sponsorship.
  • I-693, immigration medical examination report and vaccination record.

What Other Requirements Must I Meet To Obtain A Green Card Through Marriage?

As we have already said before, it is necessary to demonstrate that the marriage is legally genuine. To do this, spouses must submit to a series of marriage-based Green Card interview questions.

In addition, the couple will have to overcome other possible reasons for inadmissibility, such as not having a criminal record.

If there is suspicion of fraud, it is possible for the couple to go to a stokes interview.

Can I Get American Citizenship Through Marriage If I Am An Undocumented Immigrant?

It is not possible to complete the process to obtain U. S. citizenship by marriage if you are undocumented in the United States. To do so, you must first have been a lawful permanent resident and meet other additional requirements.

What Happens If I Get Divorced Before Getting The Green Card For Marriage?

If you divorce before obtaining a Green Card through marriage, you risk losing your legal status and cancellation of your immigrant visa. In addition, it is possible that you will be deported to your country of origin.

As if that were not enough, the residency application could be affected, which would require the presentation of additional evidence. This will be to demonstrate the authenticity of the marriage and that it has not been a means to obtain immigration benefits.

How Long Does One Have To Be Married To legalize the immigration status?

Usually, obtaining a Green Card through marriage involves a waiting period that varies between 9 and 36 months. It should be noted that these deadlines vary widely, so we recommend that you consult with our immigration lawyers.

how can an illegal immigrant become legal in the U. S.

Now, if you want to find more information on how to fix papers in the United States if it is illegal, visit our post: How can an illegal immigrant become legal in the U. S.

Can I Get Married In The United States If I Have A Tourist Visa?

It is not advisable to get married while holding a B-2 tourist visa, as it could be interpreted as immigration fraud. 

So what happens if I get married in the United States with a tourist visa? Well, it is better not to do so, as it may negatively influence your eligibility for future visas and the Green Card.

Can I Marry An Undocumented Immigrant Who Has A Criminal Record? 

Marrying an undocumented immigrant with a serious criminal record or prior crimes can significantly complicate the process. 

In fact, having multiple criminal offenses may be sufficient grounds for inadmissibility to the United States. If you are in this situation, discuss your concerns with an immigration attorney before submitting any forms to USCIS.

Can The Spouses Get A Green Card Through Marriage Even If their Visa Expired?

If the spouse has an expired visa and wishes to apply for a Green Card through marriage, the process will be similar to those with legal status. You can consider the K-3 spousal visa, but this usually takes longer due to visa availability. 

Either way, leaving the U. S. before obtaining a Green Card can result in a 3-10 year re-entry ban.

What Is Marriage Fraud In The United States?

Marriage fraud consists of getting married with the sole objective of obtaining immigration benefits. For example, a Green Card or an American visa, without having the true intention of establishing an authentic relationship.

Can My Spouse Re-Enter The United States If Deported?

If your spouse was deported from the United States, you may be able to qualify for an immigration waiver. However, these issues are complex, so we recommend that you contact our immigration attorneys.

At Curbelo Law, we will help you determine if you may qualify for immigration relief, such as cancellation of removal . Likewise, we will represent you if you appeal an immigration case

Can I Marry Another Immigrant In The United States If We Are Both Undocumented?

When both spouses are undocumented immigrants, obtaining legal proof of a valid marriage can be complicated. 

This is because marriage licenses are issued by counties, and most require that at least one individual present legal identification. For example, a U. S. driver’s license. 

For specific requirements, it is recommended that you consult the county clerk’s office or our immigration attorneys.

How Does DACA Affect The Foreign Spouse’s Eligibility For A Green Card Due To a Void Marriage?

Eligibility for a Green Card based on marriage may be affected by DACA, especially if the foreign national arrived in the United States illegally. 

If the spouses applied for DACA before turning 18 or within 180 days after turning 18, they generally would have no problem re-entering. Of course, they had to apply for the Green Card outside the country. 

Additionally, if the DACA spouse has traveled on advance parole, they can apply for residency in the U. S. This removes the need to return to their home country.

For more information regarding this program, we invite you to enter our dedicated article on the DACA application requirements.

How Can Curbelo Law Help an undocumented immigrant get married in the U. S?

As you read in this article “Can an undocumented immigrant get married in the US” you will see that there are immigration options and relief available. 

Attorneys Curbelo and Lieberman are very familiar with the types of matters that could affect a couple where one spouse does not have legal status. 

The best way to proceed if you get married while being a undocumented immigrant is to have a prior consultation with our lawyers.

Let us analyze your case from our offices in Ridgewood, New Jersey where our online team of immigration law specialists can be your best ally.