USCIS Approves Green Card Despite Six Year Overstay

One of the great things about practicing immigration law is the ability to continuing to help people after their initial matter.  We have a client from Bosnia who we helped obtain citizenship a few years ago despite an old gun arrest.  Last year, our client married a young lady from Bosnia who had come to the United States in 2006 on a visitor visa and never returned home.  Her visa had expired years ago.

U.S. immigration law provides that if an alien was inspected but overstayed their visa, their subsequent marriage to a United States citizen will “clean up” the overstay.  That is, the spouse of a U.S. citizen can still adjust to lawful permanent resident status despite having overstayed.  This rule does not apply to people who were never inspected by agents of Customs and Border Patrol.

Earlier this year, we filed a spouse visa and adjustment application on behalf of our young Bosnian couple.  We appeared before the St. Louis field office of USCIS on Tuesday and received word yesterday that our client’s application to adjust status had been approved.  Our client will receive a conditional two year green card.  Prior to the expiration of the two years, we will file to have the conditions removed and she will receive a ten year green card, assuming the couple is still married and everything is in order.  Of course, one year later, our client can apply for naturalization as the result of being married to a U.S. citizen.