Can undocumented immigrants marry U.S. Citizens? Of course, there are no laws specifically preventing an undocumented immigrant from marrying a United States citizen. Whether marriage will result in a green card, however, is another matter entirely. Non-citizen spouses are considered immediate relatives and could be eligible for green card through marriage. Undocumented immigrants, however, have very high hurdles to overcome in order to get this benefit.


Even if your marriage is considered valid, an immigrant with no lawful status seeking to become a legal resident could be seriously scrutinized by immigration authorities. The biggest concern that the government will look into is how long you have spent in the United States without legal documents to be here, particularly if you entered the country without inspection.

How Long Have You Been in the U.S. Illegally?

If you have been in the United States for more than six months after an illegal entry, for example, you will most likely have to travel to a consulate office outside the United States for a green card interview. This means you would be penalized for your illegal entry and possibly need to spend three years outside the U.S. before returning. If you have spent more than a year here, you may need to spend ten years outside the U.S. before returning. Waivers for these time bars are possible but difficult to obtain.

Green Cards Based on Marriage: Other Requirements

In order to receive a green card based on marriage, you would also have to show that you meet all other eligibility criteria as well and be prepared to overcome any potential grounds of inadmissibility by showing that you haven’t committed any crimes, that you don’t represent any danger to the United States, and won’t be relying on public assistance.

Before moving forward with any petitions or applications, contact your Arizona immigration attorney to learn more about your rights and what you should consider first. Although marriage may not be the best option for you, verifying this with a knowledgeable attorney will give you a better understanding of your options and what to do next. Don’t hesitate to get legal advice on this matter before moving forward with a marriage.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Can Undocumented Immigrants Marry U.S. Citizens?, or other Immigration Law matters,  please feel free to contact Phil D. Ortega at  480.461.5330, log on to,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.