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What Happens When an Asylum Seeker Marries a U.S. Citizen?

What happens if I get married while my asylum case is pending? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer, practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri.

In our office, we’ve seen a couple of situations lately where asylum clients of ours, people who have raised their hand and asked for sanctuary in the United States through the asylum process, have gotten married or are planning on getting married to a US citizen. They wonder what happens in those situations. Well, the fact is, asylum cases take a really long time. Asylum will take sometimes two, three, or four years, sometimes even longer. It takes a long time to get your interview. It takes a long time for the asylum office to decide the case. En EspaƱol.

Sometimes while people are here in the United States with a pending asylum case, they fall in love and get married. If that happens, in most situations, the person can get a green card based on that marriage if it is a valid marriage. That’s, of course, the number one thing, the marriage has to be valid. It has to be legitimate. It has to be based on love and nothing else, not on getting any kind of immigration benefit.

I would say that these marriages are probably held to a higher standard that the immigration officers are gonna want to look at it more closely. But if the person was inspected before they applied for asylum … So, you know, people who applied for asylum just have to be physically present in the United States.

Those people can be divided into two groups, those who entered with inspection, and those who entered without inspection. So what I mean by entering without inspection, that means coming across the border. But if you came on a visa and overstayed, or you came on a visa and eventually the visa expired, and then you applied for asylum, then you will have been properly inspected and you’ll be eligible to adjust your status to that of lawful permanent resident.

Marrying a US citizen can be a big help. You would then go through the normal process. What we would do is we would keep the asylum case pending. We don’t want to undo the asylum case because you never know what’s gonna happen with the marriage. But assuming that the asylum case has not been decided, you can go ahead and file for an I-130 Petition for an Alien Relative, where the US citizen says, “I want to sponsor the asylum seeker and my spouse for a green card.” Then you file for adjustment. You go through the process normally.,

Now, one other thing besides making sure that there’s not fraud and that it is a valid marriage, I think there also is a good chance that they’re gonna go back and look at the asylum application. The immigration officer’s gonna make sure that it wasn’t a frivolous asylum application. That would probably involve sort of a bare bones analysis as to whether or not there was a valid claim for asylum. Short of that, you should be good to go. You should be able to adjust and get your green card.

If you have any questions about how this process works or how you can go from being an asylum applicant to a adjustment of status applicant, based on marriage to a US citizen, make sure to give us a call at (314) 961-8200. You can email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com. We have a lot of asylum information on our website. We’d be happy to talk to you if you have questions. If you like this video, please make sure to click “like” below and to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you’re alerted whenever we shoot new videos. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.