An asylum seeker can and has every right to get married in the United States before a final decision is made on their asylum application. However, there are some details to take into consideration that we will note in this article. 

The important question is, can an asylum seeker get married before a decision is made on their asylum application? The answer is yes you can. After you marry, you can apply for what is referred to as a marriage-based green card which we will also discuss further in detail. 

If USCIS denies your asylum application, your case will be referred to immigration court for removal proceedings. At this point, it's best to consult your immigration attorney to help you close the removal proceedings. 

Also, it's recommended that you speak to a professional and trusted immigration attorney before making any final decisions. They will be able to advise and help you avoid any future issues you may run into. 

Can You Get Married as An Asylum Seeker?

Asylum applications are backlogged, and it can take up to several years to hear back from USCIS or immigration court. This can be an extended amount of time and you may want to marry soon. The answer is yes, an asylum seeker can get married and there is no law that restricts it, but before you marry, consider these questions: 

  • Why are you getting married?
  • Is it for love? 
  • What are the real motives behind the marriage?
  • Was/Is the marriage rendered in good faith, “Bona Fide”? 

The longer the dating/ relationship history with your significant other was, the less it will raise any suspicion to immigration court or USCIS. Also, be mindful of the timing of your marriage so that it does not look like you are trying to secure your admissions in the U.S. You may need to prove that the marriage was not fraudulent or was for any immigration benefits, but solely constituted for a genuine purpose. If the law dictates that the marriage was rendered for other reasons but love, you may be disqualified for immigration benefits in the future. Be cognizant in case you asked for documents or need to answer personal questions based on your marriage. 

Can I apply for a Green Card Through Marriage While My Asylum Case is Pending?

Having a pending asylee status doesn’t grant you much security and there is no guarantee that your case will be approved. The good news is that you can apply for a green card through marriage while your asylum case is pending, you can have both applications pending simultaneously.

This form is known as an Adjustment of Status, which is the process for applying for lawful permanent resident status (also known as a Green Card); but you must be present in the United States. Do not withdraw your asylum application before your marriage-based case can proceed, this may raise suspicion.  

In most cases, a marriage-based (a green card) petition takes 11-56 months (or six months to a year), less time than an asylum application. When the adjustment of status has been approved (if approved) you are allowed to live and work anywhere in the United States. In addition, notify USCIS by sending a copy of the I-485 approval notice and a letter stating to withdraw the asylum application. Also, during the marriage-based green card process, an officer may ask you to withdraw your asylum application before they approve the green card through marriage. Be ready for further instructions from them.  

Can An Asylum Seeker Marry a Green Card Holder?

Yes, an asylum seeker can marry a green card holder (permanent resident). 

Follow all rules for filing your adjustment of status application with USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services); this includes getting fingerprinted at an Application Support Center or Field Office and submitting required documents and fees.

What Happens When an Asylum Seeker Marries a U.S. Citizen?

Asylum seekers may qualify for a green card through marriage if they marry a U.S. citizen, but they must meet certain requirements. If you are an asylum seeker, here are some things you should know:

  • You must have been inspected by an immigration officer at a port of entry or international airport, or have been paroled into the United States by the Department of Homeland Security after being denied entry at a port of entry or international airport
  • You must be present in the United States as an asylee or refugee and must have filed for adjustment of status.
  • Your spouse must be a U.S. citizen or LPR (lawful permanent resident) before you can apply for adjustment of status based on marriage.

A person who has already entered the U.S. and applied for asylum status may be eligible to apply for adjustment of status as a spouse of a U.S. citizen if he or she meets certain criteria. 

Asylum and Marriage FAQs

Can you get married while waiting for a final asylum application decision?

Yes, you can get married before a final decision is made, but it is important to note that you will need to answer (to USCIS officer) questions on why you decided to marry a US citizen while your application was pending. You must also prove that your marriage to your US citizen was legitimate, valid, and done in good faith.

Can I apply for a Green Card through marriage while My Asylum Case is Pending?

Yes, you can have both applications pending simultaneously, but you should be aware at what time you submit the green card (adjustment of status) is done, this may raise suspicion. When you get approved (or not) for your green card immediately notify USCIS.

What happens when an Asylum Seeker marries a Green Card Holder?

First, you must prove your marriage was rendered in a “bona fide” (good faith), and second You fill out an adjustment of your status and wait for a response.