If I am illegal and married a U.S citizen, can my wife petition for me and get a green card for me?

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If I am illegal and married a U.S citizen, can my wife petition for me and get a green card for me?

I entered the country at the age of 9 with my family. I have lived in this country ever since. I recently married my beautiful wife. She wants to petition for me so that I can become a permanent legal resident. Where do we start? What documents do we need to fill? in what order do we do them? Where do we take them? What are the chances that our cases will be successful? Any additional information that my wife and I should know about?

Asked on December 6, 2011 under Immigration Law, New York

Answers:

SB, Member, California / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you entered the US unlawfully, under the current immigration laws, you will not be able to legalize your status within the US.  You would have to go back to your home country to consular process.  However, as soon as you depart the US, you will automatically trigger a 10 year bar to reentry, which can only be waived by a showing of extreme hardship to a US citizen spouse, and this is fairly difficult to do in most cases.  I would strongly suggest that you consult with an immigration attorney prior to starting anything to understand your particular chances of such a waiver being approved.


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