Sponsoring Green Card for Undocumented Spouse
Updated on 09/22/2020
The latest immigration news may make some married couples worry about their future lives in the United States. If you are wed to an undocumented spouse, you may look at the immigration news today and become convinced that your husband or wife will never be able to get a green card. However, that is not true. Let’s figure out how you may sponsor green card for your undocumented spouse.
Not sure if you’re eligible to apply for marriage green card? You can free check eligibility through DYgreencard without providing any personal information. Check eligibility here if married a U.S. citizen, check eligibility here if married a lawful permanent resident. When you’re ready to apply, DYgreencard can assist you in preparing a complete marriage green card application package. Learn more here if married a U.S. citizen, learn more here if married a lawful permanent resident.
1. What is meant by “undocumented immigrants”?
Undocumented immigrants mean foreign nationals don’t have a legal right to be or remain in the United States. Specifically, there are two groups of undocumented immigrants. One group is those who entered the United States legally but overstayed, including who have been “out of status” or violated their non-immigrant status due to various reasons. Another group is those who entered the United States illegally, in other words, have not been inspected at the port of entry when arriving or used fake document or identity upon entry. Which group your spouse belongs to significantly affects his or her eligibility for a marriage-based green card.
2. Can a U.S. citizen sponsor green card for spouse who entered the U.S. legally but overstayed?
3. Can a U.S. citizen sponsor green card for spouse who entered the U.S. illegally?
It is possible however the accurate answer really depends on foreign spouse’s specified situations.
If the foreign spouse reentered or tried to reenter the United States illegally after having been unlawfully present for more than 1 year in the aggregate during one or more stays in the United States, such spouse will be permanently inadmissible and no wavier is available. As a result, he or she is not eligible for green card forever.
4. Can a lawful permanent resident sponsor green card for spouse who entered the U.S. legally but overstayed?
Again, the answer should be possible however the accurate answer really depends on foreign spouse’s specified situations.
If the foreign spouse who legally entered the U.S. but has overstayed for more than 180 days, the best solution is that the lawful permanent resident becomes a U.S. citizen because a U.S. citizen may apply for green card for spouse no matter how long the foreign spouse has overstayed in the U.S.
5. Can a lawful permanent resident sponsor green card for spouse who entered the U.S. illegally?
The answer is very much similar as a U.S. citizen sponsors green card for spouse who entered the U.S. illegally. Please refer to the item 3 above.
6. How does DACA affect people’s eligibility for a marriage-based green card?
Most DACA holders initially entered the U.S. illegally. Some of them have been granted Advance Parole. They may travel outside U.S and then reenter the U.S. with the Advance Parole. Upon reentry, they are considered as “paroled”, means they entered the U.S. legally. As we described above, a U.S. citizen may sponsor green card for spouse inside the U.S. as long as the foreign spouse entered the U.S. legally no matter overstayed or not. In other words, some DACA holders may cure their former illegal entry issue by reentering with an Advance Parole and accordingly, be eligible for marriage green card.
But, keep in mind, departure will trigger 3-year or 10-year even permanent inadmissible bar if foreign nationals have been unlawfully present in the U.S. for more than 180 days. Good news is that “unlawful presence” doesn’t accrue until a person turns 18 years old. Thus, if the foreign spouse applied for DACA before turning 18, or within 180 days of turning 18, then generally he or she will not trigger 3-year or 10-year bar upon departure.