If I’m not a US citizen and plan to marry an American and then apply for citizenship, what do I need to know?

By Lauren Williams

The most important thing to know is that if you enter the USA under false pretences you can be immediately deported and you cannot apply to re-enter the USA for any reason for at least three years. So, if you entered the USA illegally, marriage alone may not be enough to cure all of your status problems. It will be important for you to consult with an immigration attorney who can make the proper applications.

A huge mistake that some make is to get married overseas and then enter the USA with a visitor’s Visa, believing that they can then apply for citizenship later. If you marry overseas and are entering the USA with the intention of obtaining citizenship and staying longer, this is considered entering the Country under false pretences. Remember, you are not entering the USA to visit; you are entering to live here permanently. You will be questioned by immigration upon entry, if you mention that you married overseas and will be applying for citizenship, you can be deported immediately and will unable to return for three years, regardless of your new marital status.

The best advise is to consult with an US immigration attorney prior to marriage to ensure that you do not make any mistakes in filing the wrong applications and that you know what documents you will need to obtain overseas to verify that you are married. Remember, if your marriage license or certificate is in a foreign language it may not be accepted by the USA unless you also obtain the proper verifying documents from the US overseas Consulate Office or Embassy in that country. Also realize that, depending on your current status, the proper office to apply for legal status or a temporary Visa may be the US office in your home country.

Lauren Williams

About The Author

Lauren Williams is a legal writer for WomensDivorces.com and the USA Law Network.