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Can a Felon Marry an Immigrant?

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After being released from prison, felons are trying to re-establish their lives.

Family may still be supportive.  Felons may not be married, or a previous marriage may have ended in divorce.  This leaves felons desiring to find someone to love and marry.

This blog post will cover the question of whether a felon can marry an immigrant.

  • Meeting Their New Spouse
  • Becoming a Permanent Resident
  • Sponsoring Their Fiancee
  • Supporting a Felon Marrying an Immigrant


Meeting Their New Spouse

There are felons who meet someone who may visit them while in prison.  Or, they may be introduced to a new person after their release.

They spend time together, getting to know each other, and fall in love.

Sometimes they fall in love with an immigrant, a person born in another country, but who is new to the U.S. and who wants to remain in this country.  How would that work, or could it even work out?

How can an immigrant become a permanent resident?

Becoming a Permanent Resident

Those persons entering the U.S. and who are planning to stay in this country for more than 90 days are typically required to have a visa.

There are many instances in which a foreign person coming to this country wants to remain and reside.

As a foreign-born person, there are regulations they must meet to be able to live in this country.

U.S. law states that only a set number of people can be granted residence in the U.S. each year.

Those that do wish to reside here must apply for a green card.

Having a green card, which derived its name from the color of the card, will allow persons to live in this country.  However, the government strictly limits the number of immigrants who are allowed to live here.

There are a number of categories considered for a green card.

One of these is for those who are planning to marry a U.S. citizen.  This requires a K-1 visa, a temporary non-immigrant visa, allowing a foreign born person to remain in this country for 90 days after marrying.

After getting married, they may apply for a change in status to permit them to remain in the U.S. with a green card, which is a permanent status visa.

Sponsoring Their Fiancee

Assisting an immigrant in applying for a green card through marriage is called sponsorship.

In order to qualify for the K-1 visa, the person the immigrant wants to marry must already be a U.S. citizen and not a permanent resident themselves.

Next, both persons must be legally eligible to marry.  That means being single and of legal age to marry.  This depends on the particular state in question.

Then, the couple must have genuine intent to marry.  This means having documents showing a wedding date and evidence of other arrangements.

Also, the couple must have met in person at least once in the past two years. For felons, this may mean someone who came to visit them while they were in prison.

So, what does this mean for felons?  Is there a background check that could end their hopes of marrying an immigrant?

This sounds like the process would be against felons, as they usually find the case to be.

Just finding a job is difficult enough, although there are employers who will hire them.

Looking at the guideline closely reveals that felons who meet the criteria as indicated above are in the clear.

The law states that felons, just as anyone else, have the right to marry an immigrant.

The real issue is the status of their fiance.  In order for an immigrant to qualify for a K-1 visa, their background will be checked.  Those with a felony record are prohibited from acquiring a green card.

An immigrant who is in the country on a green card must carefully follow the law.

Those immigrants who are convicted of a felony face loss of their green card and permanent resident status.

This means they may be deported.  The seriousness of the offense will determine the outcome.  For crimes of moral turpitude, deportation may occur.

These crimes are ones that involve loss of public trust from such actions as perjury, tax evasion, wire fraud, carrying a concealed weapon, and child abuse.

Other types of crimes that are most serious are those of an aggravated felony.  These crimes include simple battery, theft, failure to file a tax return, and failure to appear in court.

The law indicates that most immigrants who commit a felony will be deported.

Felons in this situation should be cautious, as being involved with an immigrant who has a criminal history or who commits a felony could drag felons into the legal picture, jeopardizing their standing.

The influence of their fiance being in legal difficulties could bring enough pressure to sway them from doing what they know is right and stray from that honest life they have been trying to live since their release.

In that case, legal counsel may be necessary.

While marriage is an attractive opportunity for most felons, especially if a previous marriage ended in divorce, they must protect themselves so that they don’t become one of those statistics of felons who return to prison within the first two years after their release.

For this reason, it is important for felons to really get to know the person they intend to marry.

Love can be blind, but felons need to make sure that love doesn’t blind them to the point that they commit a crime in trying to protect their fiancee.

Supporting a Felon Marrying an Immigrant

Finding someone to love and marry is an important step in returning to society and living a healthy lifestyle.  Families should be supportive of these steps toward finding peace through a relationship.

Families of felons who want to marry an immigrant should be supportive but honest with their loved one and be clear that they don’t want them to end up back in prison.

Don’t allow them to be blinded in their love and make mistakes like the ones that led them to prison in the first place.

What do you think about this blog post?  Have you or someone you know who is a felon tried to marry an immigrant?  What was that like for them, and where they successful?  Please tell us in the comments below.

5 thoughts on “Can a Felon Marry an Immigrant?”

  1. Im doing the research cause I was told that I cant marry a immigrant or else they will not be able to get a green card!!

  2. I just married my immigrant spouse. He is from Greece and I am an American citizen with a felony. What are the steps to get him a work permit and social security number?


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