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What happens if you overstay your visa and get married?


If you entered the U.S. legally on a temporary visa (such as a tourist, work, or student visa) and then married a U.S. citizen, you may be eligible to apply for a green card in the U.S. This process is called Adjustment of Status. However, the length of your overstay matters:

Overstay less than 180 days: You may still qualify to adjust your status without having to leave the country.

Overstay more than 180 days: You will likely need to return to your home country and apply for a green card through a U.S. consulate.

  • Overstaying for nearly 6 months to 1 year can lead to a 3-year ban from the U.S.
  • Overstaying for more than 1 year can lead to a 10-year ban from the U.S. 

To adjust your status to a marriage green card, you have to prove your relationship is real and that you didn’t enter the U.S. intending to marry a U.S. citizen. 


  • If you entered the U.S. illegally, you are not eligible for Adjustment of Status. You must apply for a green card through a U.S. consulate abroad.

If you entered the U.S. on a K-1 fiancé visa sponsored by a different U.S. citizen than the one you intend to marry now, you are not eligible to remain in the U.S. and adjust your status.

Answered by a Boundless Immigration Expert

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