Can I Get Married to My Fiancee Who is Here Illegally? - Liberty Law

Marriage is considered a fundamental right under the United States Constitution. As such, there are few restrictions on whom you may marry, other than laws that prevent you from marrying someone when you are in an existing marriage or marrying someone who is underage, the same gender as you, or a close relative. However, the question of whether that marriage will allow the illegal alien to gain permanent U.S. residence is another matter, best explained by a Salt Lake City immigration attorney.

The primary concern is how and in what manner your fiancée entered the U.S. If the person initially entered the country lawfully, and is married to a U.S. citizen, there is a much easier path to become a legal permanent resident. Those who entered unlawfully face far greater difficulties.

For those who entered legally, the U.S. citizen spouse may file a petition on behalf of the illegal alien spouse for an adjustment of status. If granted, the alien spouse becomes a legal permanent resident. The most significant benefit of having entered lawfully is that the alien spouse is not subject to removal from the country while the petition is under review. The process is conducted within the United States.

For those who entered unlawfully, it may be necessary to return to his or her country of origin and initiate the petition process from there. How long the alien was in the U.S. after the illegal entry may be a factor in the length of the waiting period before he or she may return. This wait time may be as long as ten years. However, an experienced Salt Lake City immigration attorney may be able to successfully argue some extreme hardship existed as a factor in the illegal entry.