I have a friend that doesn’t have legal US documents, but who got married about a year ago to a US citizen. As far as I know, he hasn’t ever applied for a greed card or anything like that. Now that he is married, how could he safely go about getting a green card or getting residency? And does the fact that he’s married to a citizen speed up that process?

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    Did he enter the US legally or illegally? That is the key question. If he entered legally he is eligible for Adjustment of Status in the US; it is very straightforward. If he entered illegally, although he can be petitioned, he likely has very few feasible routes to actually get permanent residency without leaving the US for a long time.
    – user102008
    Apr 6, 2019 at 23:44

1 Answer 1


When you marry a US citizen you do not have to be placed on a waiting list for a green card, since you are an immediate relative of a citizen. That would speed it up in the sense that your application would not be on a waiting list, but it still has to be reviewed.

This article describes how the filing process works: https://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/us-immigration/how-get-green-card-after-marriage-citizen.html

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    OK, I get that you are in a different line as a spouse, but if that line is still 2 years long where does that leave you? Is there no interim status that is available with less delay that would allow one to remain in the US and seek, or even accept employment? It seems like a chicken and egg scenario: To get a job you need a work visa - but to get a work visa you need a job. Which comes first?! Nov 23, 2020 at 19:22

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