If I would like to petition for my husbands green card but he has been here illegally for 7 years, how will that effect our efforts?

We have been married 5 years, we have 2 daughters together. He has no criminal record. I would also like to know if he would be able to work and travel during the application process? Also, if he will have to go abroad at all during the process? And the average price of lawyers help?

Asked on February 29, 2012 under Immigration Law, Colorado


SB, Member, California / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If he entered the US unlawfully, under the current immigration laws, he will not be eligible to legalize his status within the US even if he is married to a US citizen.  You would need to petition for him and when the petition is approved, he would have to go back to his home country for consular processing.  However, by leaving the US, he will trigger an automatic 10 year bar to reentry because of his unlawful presence in the US, and that bar to reentry can only be waived by a showing of extreme hardship to a US citizen spouse, which is very difficult to do in most cases.

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