Can I get a green card if my wife is a US citizen and I originally entered the US legally? 6 Answers as of July 20, 2011

My wife is an American citizen, and we are thinking in applying for the green card for myself. The thing is that I am currently out of status. I've been living here for more than 10 years. When I first came to United States I used my Tourist Visa so it was a legal entry. But I do not have the I-94 anymore, I probably lost it. I still have my old passport with my expired tourist visa and a stamp that the US immigration has placed in my old passport. In 2008 I had a business that unfortunately had a couple of problems with the IRS. I do not have the Business anymore. Will the Immigration request to see my tax returns or my wife's only? I never had any problems with the Law, there is no criminal record on me. Is there a chance of having problems applying for the Green Card in this circumstances? Can I apply for the green card myself? How much will I spend in the whole green card process? Also would it be possible to get the Green Card if you left the country and came back by illegal means? Thanks!

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Law Office of Christine Troy
Law Office of Christine Troy | Christine Troy
From your statement below you appear eligible for adjustment in the US however you must have your case fully analyzed by a competent immigration attorney to determine if any other issues are present. You do need to settle whatever payments with the IRS because that can be a civil or criminal issue and also show you have bad moral turpitude. These can lead to green card denial. As long as you have your entry stamp, you don't need the I-94. If you don't, then you need to order a new one from immigration.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/20/2011
Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC
Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC | Reza Athari
If you never left after legal entry, you may apply for adjustment of status based on your marriage. But if you left and entered without inspection, you will have to go back to your country and apply for a waiver. Regarding your taxes, I am not sure what kind of "problems" you had with IRS. In any event, immigration matters may seem simple but may become very complicated. Once you make a mistake you may not be able to undo it. Better to hire an experienced immigration attorney to help you.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 7/20/2011
Pauly P.A.
Pauly P.A. | Clemens W. Pauly
You must consult with an immigration lawyer concerning this situation. You may be eligible to adjust your status, but only if you stay and NOT LEAVE and re-enter illegally. If you retain an attorney to assist you, you will have to expect approx. $2,500-$4,000 for fees and costs for this process, provided you are not placed in removal proceedings. Good luck with your case.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 7/20/2011
Verdin Law Firm, LLC
Verdin Law Firm, LLC | Isaul Verdin
Since you entered with lawful inspection, and are now married to a US citizen, then you can adjust your status. You'll need to provide the proof of lawful entry by presenting your stamped passport.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 7/20/2011
Law Office of J Thomas Smith
Law Office of J Thomas Smith | J. Thomas Smith Ph.D.
You present a number of issues. However, I will only address the most significant ones. Generally speaking, you can become a permanent resident if you are the spouse of a U.S. citizen. Since you are in the U.S., your spouse must initiate the process by filing the proper petition with USCIS. However, you may be denied adjustment of status after your spouses visa petition is approved, for a number of reasons. First, you are living unlawfully in the United States, in that you stayed past the date your visa expired and/or you entered the U.S. illegally. Furthermore, since your last entry was illegal, you will not be able to adjust status in the U.S. You will be required to return to your country of citizenship to adjust status. However, if you have been here for "10 years" after your illegal entry, and if your removal will create a "hardship" to your U.S. citizen spouse or child you MAY qualify for a "waiver" under certain circumstances. Do contact an experienced immigration attorney who can advise you on your best course of action in light of your illegal presence and the other issues you present.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 7/20/2011
    Marie Michaud Attorney At Law
    Marie Michaud Attorney At Law | Marie Michaud
    If you came on a tourist visa (your entry is usually allowed for 6 months), not a problem. File the adjustment / family petition package with USCIS. If you came under the visa waiver program (You usually get a small green I-94 + 90 days, and did not need to go to the consulate before), it may be a little more tricky depending on you live. Also, certain type of visa may prevent and adjustment (J visa or D visa, for example). This is why you should actually speak face to face with an attorney who could review your visa used to enter. The missing I-94 is not a big deal as long as you still have the passport and the stamped page. (the forms will ask for your I-94 number, just say; LOST). Do not leave the US and attempt to re-enter illegally: this would trigger either a permanent bar (Something that could only be cured by returning for 10 years to your country). Re-entering legally, assuming you would manage to enter, would make you subject to another problem which requires a waiver, not always so easy to obtain even with a good attorney.So please stay in the US. The USCIS will ask for your wife's tax return only. As long as your problem with the IRS was not criminal, this should not be an issue. Some people do the paperwork without an attorney, but I can't recommend it. Better be safe than sorry. The filing fee is $1490. The legal fee will vary for one attorney to the other. Price will be based on the estimated amount of work and the type of work provided. I always prepare the adjustment package, teach you about the type of documents you should keep or obtain, prepare an additional package before the interview (to prove that your marriage is the real thing) and I go to the interview provided the interview is local. (I'll not attend the interview if one client moves to Florida, for example-I am located in California). I urge you to call an attorney and speak with her / him. Many have free consultations. (I do!). Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/20/2011
Click to View More Answers: