How can I marry my girlfriend who overstayed on tourist visa? 15 Answers as of May 31, 2013

My girls passport was stamped last on January 2013 I am considering marrying her she is currently n still in the USA n has overstayed. If I marry her, is there a time limit of when I should do so? To prevent her from getting barred from US after we marry? Or if we marry a month from now or year from now it wouldn't matter and she would still be able to stay here through our marriage. She is from Hungary.

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Pacifica Legal Services
Pacifica Legal Services | Floyd Fernandez
You need to marry now. Any time of any day she is in overstay status she is out of status, which leads her to the six-month mark, where she will be declared in unlawful status, in which case if she is caught, she can be removed summarily without a hearing. You need to marry, then petition for her, for when you do she is eligible, even if she overstays.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/31/2013
Law Offices of Svetlana Boukhny
Law Offices of Svetlana Boukhny | Svetlana Boukhny
As long as she does not leave the US, if she marries a US citizen, even if she has overstayed by 20 years, she will be eligible to adjust status to permanent residence on the basis of marriage to a US citizen. However, at all times until you marry and file for her, she is in the US unlawfully and subject to removal due to her lack of lawful status.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/29/2013
Law Office of Adebola Asekun | Adebola O. Asekun
If you are a US citizen, your girl friends' overstay should not adversely affect her eligibility for green card if and when you eventually decide to file petition for her. You must first marry her, and then file both the I-130 and I-485 [green card] application at the same time. Currently, the entire process from filing to adjudication is between 6-8 months when you both will be asked to appear personnaly for an interview at a CIS office. If you decide to pursue this option, I suggest that you hire an attorney.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 5/22/2013
Hakim, Daman & Toma, P.C. | Eman H. Jajonie-Daman
If she entered US on visitor visa you can marry her anytime and petition for her and her green card in one step and all her overstay is waived because she's considered an immediate relative.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 5/21/2013
Havens & Lichtenberg PLLC
Havens & Lichtenberg PLLC | Michael Lichtenberg
No matter how long your girlfriend overstays, a month, a year, or 10 years, it would not interfere with her ability to adjust status (get a green card) on the basis of her marriage to a U.S. Citizen. Consider this, however: a) it is not easy to be illegal, to have no right to work, be unable to get a driver's license and insurance, medical insurance, etc., etc., etc.; whatever the talking heads on TV say, being an illegal alien in this country is no picnic; b) one can get arrested; 95% of all arrests are for some really stupid, moronic acts, and another 4.9% - for being in the wrong place at the wrong time; one way or another, the legal system sorts everything out - except for illegal aliens, who get handed over to the Immigration & Customs Enforcement for deportation; c) imagine for a minute that, for some reason, your petition for your wife gets denied; if it happens while she is in the U.S. Illegally for over 180 days but under 1 year, she will be barred from returning to the U.S. for 3 years; if her overstay at that time is over a year, she will be barred for 10 years. I could continue this list, but you get the picture - you don't have to hurry with this marriage, but, if you do care about her, you should not sleep on it, either.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 5/21/2013
    Christian Schmidt, Attorney at Law
    Christian Schmidt, Attorney at Law | Christian Schmidt
    A marriage alone does not legalize your girlfriend's stay but make her eligible to apply for lawful status if she entered the US on a visa and you are a U.S. citizen. The U.S. government can in the meantime start deportation proceedings against her so that it is advisable to start the application process as soon as possible to not further complicate things.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/22/2013
    Kevin Bluitt, Attorney at Law
    Kevin Bluitt, Attorney at Law | Kevin Bluitt
    When she entered in January as a tourist she no doubt was given permission to stay in USA for 6 months. If she fails to depart before the 6 mo. period she will be an overstay and begin to accumulate unlawful status. If she becomes an overstay she will be out of status and subject to deportation. If she leaves US after overstaying she may have a problem coming back. Her visa could be revoked. Now if she accumulates 6 months of unlawful presence she cannot return for 3 years...if a year of more of unlawful presence..she cannot return for 10 years. If on the other hand you marry her, she can adjust her status in US even if she is an overstay, no matter how long an overstay.(but remember if you do not marry her or file any papers she is subject to deportation) Keep in mind, that this marriage will be scrutinized and if it is found that you entered into a fraudulent marriage, this will be a lifetime bar to adjustment. Best to sit down with experienced immigration attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 5/22/2013
    Feldman Feldman & Associates, PC
    Feldman Feldman & Associates, PC | Lynne Feldman
    Assuming you are a U.S. citizen she would be an immediate relative. Since her original entry was legal they will overlook her out of status time. That being said if she is stopped at any time for any reason she is removable from the U.S. for her overstay so sooner rather than later is probably better to reduce the risk of this.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/22/2013
    Lana Kurilova Rich PLLC
    Lana Kurilova Rich PLLC | Lana Kurilova Rich
    Your girlfriend was inspected and admitted upon entry into the U.S. If you are a U.S. citizen, once you two get married, your wife will be able to adjust her status to the legal permanent resident provided, of course, that she has no criminal history and is otherwise eligible to adjust status, and provided that you can show sufficient financial support (or have a joint sponsor). As to timing, you two should decide on that, but please note that, since she overstayed her welcome, she could potentially be subject to detention and removal proceedings because she no longer has any legal status in this country. Just because you are planning to get married does not mean that she has some sort of protection from her now-undocumented status in this country.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/22/2013
    Richard S. Kolomejec, Attorney at Law
    Richard S. Kolomejec, Attorney at Law | Richard S. Kolomejec
    You can marry and file for the green card anytime. There is no time limit and no penalty for the late filing. If done right, the entire process takes about 3 months from start to finish! There is also no bars since she will not be travelling outside the US until she gets her green card.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/22/2013
    Law Office of Bill Travis Klein
    Law Office of Bill Travis Klein | Bill T. Klein
    There is no time limit to marry her. However if she gets caugt and is put in removal proceedings before you marry her you will have a much more difficult time with getting her a green card. You can sponsor her as long as she was legally admitted to the U.S. I recommmend you consult with an Immigration Attorney who can help you through the process and make sure there are no problems.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/22/2013
    Law Office of Pho Ethan Tran PLLC
    Law Office of Pho Ethan Tran PLLC | Pho Ethan Tran
    Although your girlfriend overstayed her visitor visa, you can still help her. After you get married, you will need to submit an I-130 petition on her behalf and she can concurrently apply for adjustment of status on form I-485. Since she is already out of status, she is subject to being arrested and removed from the US at any time before you submit the required forms. Thus, the sooner that you start on the process, the better it is for your girlfriend.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 5/22/2013
    Law Offices of Grinberg and Segal
    Law Offices of Grinberg and Segal | Alexander Segal
    Assuming you are a U.S. citizen, there is no time frame in which you must marry. However, she will be out of status and can be removed from the country.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/22/2013
    Law Office of Eric Fisher | Eric Fisher
    If you are a US citizen and single, you can marry your girlfriend and file an I-130 petition for her at any time. If she has no criminal record or prior unlawful presence issues before her last entry, she can apply for adjustment at the same time. As she has overstayed her last period of lawful admission, she should not leave the US until the adjustment is approved.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 5/22/2013
    Law Offices of Peter Y. Qiu
    Law Offices of Peter Y. Qiu | Peter Y. Qiu
    There is a possibility that you and she may be entitled to 601 waiver, which requires an in-depth review and analysis of all relevant issues.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 5/22/2013
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