Yes you can be deported if you are married to a US citizen : what you need to know

So many people think that marriage is an instant ticket to a green card. They breathe a sigh of relief once they are married assuming that they are now safely living in the US.

While there are some faster ways to get a green card, simply marrying your US Citizen (or Green Card holder) significant other may not be the answer.

The answer? Yes you can still be deported even if you are married to a US citizen.

There are four main qualifications that must be met if you want to get a green card through marriage. The simple ACT of marriage is not enough to guarantee you safety.


This is important.

Lawful entry is typically needed for a green card application through marriage in the US.

If you entered the US illegally, you CANNOT apply for a green card through marriage in the US but may be able to file a 601A waiver. If you fall into this category the best thing to do is to call a great immigration lawyer as soon as possible.

Watch this 2 minute video & remember that as of August 2016 the 601A category was expanded for spouses of green card holders, not just US citizens. 


I like to use the movie The Proposal as an example of the kind of scrutiny you will go through to prove that your marriage is “real”. You can’t just marry someone you met, or are using to get a Green Card ( and yes, of course this does happen), and pass the various levels of questioning. This includes proof of living together, and a clean record with law enforcement


You have to prove that you will not become a “public charge” meaning end up on welfare as a burden to the rest of the US citizens. All US citizens who file for their immigrant spouses must show a minimum level income of their tax returns to satisfy an “affidavit of support.”


As with all Green Card applications, the immigrant must pass a green card medical exam. I have written what to expect from your green card medical exam, and its qualifications in here. 

REMEMBER: Even if you pass all these points, then it will take months to be approved for a conditional (two year) green card.

After that, you will have to apply for conditions removal with Form I-751 (and more paperwork), at which point you can then apply for full citizenship within the next 3-5 years if you pass all the qualifications (like the English tests, etc).

As with all immigration cases, if any of the above points are NOT straightforward, your best bet is to stay away from any trouble, and call a top immigration lawyer right away.

Written by: Harlan York

Immigration Attorney Harlan York is Former Chair, Immigration Section, NJ State Bar Association and Former Co-Chair, NY State Bar Association CFLS Immigration Committee. Mr. York appeared on National Television on CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose and Primer Impacto on Univision, as well as Telemundo, NBC, and PBS. He was honored as First Ever Immigration Lawyer of The Year in NJ by Best Lawyers.

Do you have a question about Immigration in General?

Call us anytime at 973.642.1111 or email us using the form below.