Legal Permanent Residency for Undocumented Spouses of US Citizens
Whether you need to file for an I-485 Adjustment of Status or an I-601 Application for Waiver on Grounds of Inadmissibility, to become a Legal Permanent Resident, you should hire an Attorney to do the legal work for you. With over 15 years of legal experience, Attorney Jeffrey C. Pettys knows how to prepare the necessary documents and make the most persuasive legal arguments on your behalf to best support your efforts to become a Legal Permanent Resident. Call today or email today for a free consultation.
It is estimated that there are some 15 to 20 million illegal aliens residing in the United States today. Many of these illegal aliens are married to US Citizens, have children, are working and living productive and good lives. Unfortunately, illegal aliens live with the constant threat of being discovered, reported and removed from their families and lives in the United States. The road to residency for illegal aliens who have married US citizens is difficult, but not impossible.
The Immigration and Nationality Act allows for an illegal alien who entered the United States lawfully and who is married to a US Citizen, to become a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) and remain in the United States. In such cases, the US Citizen spouse must file a petition on behalf of the illegal alien and then file an for Adjustment of Status using the I-485 Immigration Form. Most likely, under this scenario, the immigration sins of the illegal alien will be forgiven and Legal Permanent Residency (LPR) will be granted.
Where there is a marriage between a US Citizen and a illegal alien, and the illegal alien entered the United States unlawfully, the problem is far more difficult to resolve, but again not impossible. Illegal aliens who enter the United States unlawfully and stay more than 180 days, are likely to be barred from adjusting their status to a Legal Permanent Resident or from returning to the United States for a period of ten years once they leave or are removed. In such cases, an I-601 Application for Waiver on Grounds of Inadmissibility must be filed and approved to overcome this problem.
UPDATE March 2013-Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers
Today, if your foreign spouse is in the US illegally, he or she may not have to depart the U.S. and wait for a decision on the I-601 waiver. In March of 2013, certain immigrant visa applicants who are spouses, children and parents of U.S. Citizens (immediate relatives) can apply for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers before they have to leave the United States. This new process allows immediate relatives to stay with family until a decision is made on the waiver and if approved, the immediate relative can stay in the U.S. with his or her family until a day or two before the scheduled visa interview at the US Embassy in the immediate relatives country. To obtain approval for the waiver, the US Citizen spouse must file a petition on behalf of the illegal alien and then demonstrate that removal of the immediate relative will cause extreme hardship for the U.S. Citizen.