Can a US citizen spouse legalize an undocumented spouse in the US?

This post I receive from a blog reader today.  A US citizen asked me whether she can get a green card for her husband based on their marriage.  Her husband crossed the US border without being admitted sometime in 2003.  Now that they are married the client wants to legalize her husband. 

Based on your facts it appears that your husband is not eligible for legalization under INA Section 245(i) which allows certain immigrants present in the United States on April 21, 2001 with pending employment or family based petition to petition for adjustment of status while in the United States.  Based on the current law, your husband needs to process his documents through United States Embassy in Mexico.  He needs to seek a waiver for illegal entry and unlawful presence in United States.  Once he leaves for Mexico he will be subject to a ten year bar.  As a petitioner and his United States citizen spouse you will need to show that you are suffering extreme hardship because your husband is not in the United States. Although Form I0-601 is deceptively easy, preparation of the documents in support of the waiver is usually time consuming, document intensive and definitely requires expertise of an immigration lawyer. 

Evita Tolu, Esq.
Immigration Law Group LLC

9378 Olive Blvd., Ste. 325

St. Louis, MO 63132

 (314) 872-3988 telephone-general number
(314) 872-9556 facsimile

2 thoughts on “Can a US citizen spouse legalize an undocumented spouse in the US?

  1. So if the spouse entered the U.S in 2001 an but left back to his country a few years ago and the she is suffering hardship now, what actions can she take? But keep in mind that she has filed paper work for him serveral years ago, would she have to resubmitt them again?

    1. If a U.S. citizen spouse is suffering extreme and unusual hardship, it is very important to prepare documents in support of the waiver. I would strongly recommend to prepare the documents well in advance of the consulate interview.

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