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Immigration Issues/Want to marry an illegal immigrant.


I am a US citizen and work for the US Navy. My girlfriend is from Brazil and is currently being held in a detention center in Florida - awaiting deportation. She was picked up by police when a home alarm went off. She worked cleaning homes (no work permit). That is when I found out that she came here illegally through Mexico about three years ago. I do love her and want to marry her. I know that she has no choice but to go back to Brazil. Can I apply for a Fiancee petition or something similar to get her back? If so, what forms should I fill out and how long would it take for us to be back together? I want to marry her and live here in the States, but if I have to wait 10 years for that to happen - then I'll just move on. If not, I will do whatever it takes to get her back. To make things worse, a few months ago her mother was murdered. She believes that her father was involved and she has been getting death threats because she had hired investigators in Brazil. Thank you for your help in our issue.

I sympathize with your problem, but at this point the relationship looks like it will be a very difficult one. She has a 10 year bar on receiving any visa with the exception of the Permanent Residence Visa filed by her US citizen spouse. That means if you marry her you can file for her, and the 10 year bar will not apply. However, she entered illegally, has been adjudicated as deported, and is being deported so she is going to have to leave the USA no matter what, and you will need to apply for the visa from Brazil.  Now if you get married now or go to Brazil and get married there it will make no difference. You have two additional obstacles:

1. There is a 5 year bar for her return to the USA. This can be waived if you can file and get approved a Waiver of Exclusion. This is very difficult to prove, and demands that you prove that there will be a significant hardship to YOU (not to her) if the 5 year exclusion is not waived.

2. You must prove that the marriage is a valid marriage. But unless you move to Brazil and live with her, there will be no way of proving that.

You are in a catch 22 here. If you move to Brazil you are establishing the validity of the marriage, but you are also proving that there is no hardship in her being excluded. If you do not move to Brazil to live with her while the visa is pending, it will be denied because the marriage is not a valid marriage.

If you really love her, and want to marry her, maybe you should consider moving to Brazil, and living there for however long it takes to get her visa (perhaps 5 years). My wife is from Brazil, and I have visited the place often. I personally would not want to live there, but I have many friends who just love it. The economy of Brazil is booming, and if you learn Portuguese you will have a great many employment and business opportunities since English is a very valuable skill there. In addition your Navy experience may prove helpful as well.

I wish you luck.

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Alexander J. Hay


I am a U.S. lawyer with offices in Houston, Texas and in Belize. I can answer questions on U.S. Immigration, U.S. corporate law, and Offshore Tax and Asset Planning.
If you are on an H or L visa I am NOT GOING TO ANSWER your questions since they are usually highly fact oriented, and also you have a company attorney handling the whole thing. Call your own attorney please! If you disregard this request, don't be surprised if I answer with "homework question".


I am a U.S. attorney with offices in the United States and Belize. I have experience helping to protect assets, reduce taxes, and improve investment performance by utilizing global investment techniques.

Harvard University, A.B. degree; University of Houston Law Center, J.D. Degree; Fulbright Scholar

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