Is an undocumented immigrant immediately immune from deportation upon marrying an American citizen?

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Is an undocumented immigrant immediately immune from deportation upon marrying an American citizen?

I am engaged to an undocumented immigrant. She came in on a valid visa but has overstayed. When we get married, is she immediately immune from deportation or would we need to take further steps? (We will likely need further assistance with getting her a green card. She is also behind in her income tax; we will need assistance negotiating with the IRS and the state comptroller.

Asked on January 10, 2012 under Immigration Law, Virginia

Answers:

SB, Member, California / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No, absolutely not!  Marriage to a US citizen only provides a BASIS for legalizing one's status (adjustment of status to permanent residence) but you have to take steps to actually do that by filing the appropriate petitions and supporting documentation to USCIS.  Until you do that, your spouse is still subject to removal if she is in the US unlawfully.


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