“I am an undocumented immigrant. Can I apply for a permanent residence through marriage to a U.S. citizen?” Absolutely, but you have go through the application procedures.  


I am an undocumented immigrant. Can I apply for a permanent residence through marriage to a U.S. citizen




Yes Daniel, you can. If you have entered the U.S. border without inspection only once, you can apply for a permanent residence.

But, if you did not applied through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before April 30th, 2001 and entered the U.S. after 2000, then you can apply for the first time through marriage to a U.S. citizen.

If you pass the background check, you need to apply for a waiver that will forgive your illegal stay. If the waiver is approved, then you must leave the U.S. to obtain the lawful permanent residence in your home country. You have to spend about a week outside the U.S. before returning.

But, if you have illegally crossed the U.S. border more than once, have committed certain types of crimes, or have any other possible problems of inadmissibility, you need to consult an immigration lawyer before applying in order to avoid issues that could cause the application to be denied.

After all, due to the new laws in the U.S., undocumented immigrants can generally become legal residents, and get a waiver (legal forgiveness) through marriage to a U.S. citizen.

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Natalia Riveros-Jacobsen

Written by Natalia Riveros-Jacobsen

Natalia Riveros-Jacobsen, originally from Bogotá Colombia, serves as an associate at Michael Brooks-Jimenez, P.C where she focuses her immigration law practice on deportation, family and employment based immigrant petitions at the firm’s Oklahoma City law office.