How does a green card via marriage work? 13 Answers as of March 27, 2012

I entered Legally on F1 Visa in 2007, now expired. I've decided to marry my US citizen girlfriend with whom I have a kid now. She's not working,her unemployment is exhausted, procuring food stamps and WIC. What are my chances of getting my green card if we do get married,what are the pros and cons,do I need a waiver, do I need to go back to my country?

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LAW OFFICES OF ALAN R. DIAMATNE APLC
LAW OFFICES OF ALAN R. DIAMATNE APLC | Alan R. Diamante
Since you entered legally, if you get married, you do not have to leave or file a waiver.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/27/2012
Law Offices of Kenneth Wincorn P.C.
Law Offices of Kenneth Wincorn P.C. | Kenneth Wincorn
If you do not have a criminal record you can potentially adjust your status without leaving the country. You will have to satisfy the requirements for financial support and that may be difficult or impossible without someone to guarantee support.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 3/27/2012
Kazmi & Sakata
Kazmi & Sakata | Harun Kazmi
You may process your green card in the US since you entered lawfully. Your overstay of the visa will be excused based on your marriage to a US citizen. You will likely need a joint financial sponsor to confirm you will not go on welfare. If you leave an process, you may be subject to bars and then need a waiver. You should definitely process here.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/27/2012
Law Offices of Svetlana Boukhny
Law Offices of Svetlana Boukhny | Svetlana Boukhny
As long as you entered the US lawfully and can prove that lawful entry, you will be eligible to adjust status within the US. However, if your wife is not working, she will need to get a joint sponsor to sign the affidavit of support on your behalf. That person has to be a US citizen or US permanent resident and has to have sufficient income and/or assets but does not have to be related to your wife or to you.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/27/2012
Bell, Nunnally & Martin, LLP | Karen-Lee Pollak
You can adjust status in the United States and do not need a waiver or to go back to your country. However, since your wife is on welfare you will need a joint sponsor who has the required income to sign an affidavit of support.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 3/27/2012
    Law Offices of Grinberg and Segal
    Law Offices of Grinberg and Segal | Alexander Segal
    Assuming you did attend school and have not left the country after falling out of status, you could adjust here. You do not need a waiver unless you depart the country for overseas processing. The issue you will have is the affidavit of support. Every family-based immigrant must have a sponsor. Your wife must sign a sponsor form, but as her income is not sufficient so you will need a co-sponsor. This can be a friend or family member who is a U.S. citizen or green card holder that makes sufficient income.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 3/27/2012
    Law Office of Eric Fisher | Eric Fisher
    If you marry your USC girlfriend, she can file a visa petition for you and you can also file for adjustment of status, but you will need a co-sponsor because she has no earned income. Look at the instructions for form I-864.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 3/27/2012
    Hilf & Hilf PLC
    Hilf & Hilf PLC | Sufen Hilf
    You do not need to go back to your country and you do not need a waiver. She can file for you if you are married. The only issue is I-864 affidavit of support. You should contact a lawyer for advice.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 3/27/2012
    Richard S. Kolomejec, Attorney at Law
    Richard S. Kolomejec, Attorney at Law | Richard S. Kolomejec
    You can apply without having to go home (and no need for a waiver either). You may need to find a financial sponsor, however.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/27/2012
    Frazier, Soloway & Poorak, P.C.
    Frazier, Soloway & Poorak, P.C. | David Nabow Soloway
    Generally, someone who entered the U.S. lawfully and with inspection (such as entering with an F-1 visa) may adjust status in the U.S. (without needing to go outside the U.S.) as the spouse of a U.S. citizen, notwithstanding that his visa has expired and he has unlawfully remained in the U.S. This is true regardless of whether the U.S. Citizen spouse is unemployed and has received public assistance for herself and/or her child. In cases where the U.S. Citizen spouse has insufficient documentable income to support the foreign national spouse at the required level, however, it will be necessary to have a "Joint Sponsor" for the adjustment of status application. The Joint Sponsor need not be a relative, but generally may be any U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident with sufficient income who is willing to have the responsibilities specified in the required Affidavit of Support form. There is no legal requirement for a married couple to engage an immigration lawyer to represent them in the adjustment of status process, but especially where the foreign national no longer has a valid nonimmigrant visa it would be wise to engage an immigration attorney. The adjustment of status process, including the various forms that must be filed, may look deceptively straight-forward, but there are many "traps for the unwary," and the consequences for errors may range from substantial delays to denial of applications (for a foreign national who is unlawfully present, a denial is likely to lead to the initiation of removal/deportation proceedings). Beyond errors that the couple may make, it is not uncommon for the USCIS itself to make errors that best can be addressed by an experienced immigration lawyer at the earliest possible time, when that process is least complicated and least expensive.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 3/27/2012
    Matthew Cameron Attorney at Law
    Matthew Cameron Attorney at Law | Matt Cameron
    The only major issue based on everything that you have raised here is finding a joint sponsor to guarantee that you will not become a "public charge." Since your fiance will not meet the minimum income requirements, you will need to find a US citizen or permanent resident (who does not have to be related to you) to file an "affidavit of support" (I-864) as a joint sponsor. Marriage to a US citizen overcomes your unlawful presence after your visa expired, so you should not need a waiver in this case unless you have a criminal record or left the US and re-entered after your visa expired.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 3/27/2012
    Christian Schmidt, Attorney at Law
    Christian Schmidt, Attorney at Law | Christian Schmidt
    You appear to be eligible for a green card through your spouse. You would not have to leave the U.S. to apply and do not need a waiver because of the overstay. Your financial situation needs to be addressed but can easily be resolved. You should consult with an experienced immigration attorney regarding details about the application process.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/27/2012
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