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Five(5) Legal Consequences of Marrying an Illegal Immigrant

Marrying an illegal immigrant can be a complex and emotionally charged decision, often motivated by love and the desire to keep families together. However, such unions can have legal and social consequences that couples need to consider seriously. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the five key consequences of marrying an illegal immigrant, discuss the pros and cons, and explore the concept of fraudulent marriages.

  • Legal Complications
  • Immigration Fraud
  • Financial Responsibilities
  • Lengthy Separations
  • Uncertain Outcomes

1. Legal Complications

Marrying an illegal immigrant can lead to numerous legal complications. Immigration laws in the United States are stringent, and knowingly marrying an undocumented immigrant may result in serious penalties, including deportation for the immigrant and potential criminal charges for the U.S. citizen spouse.

If the couple intends to pursue legal immigration pathways for the immigrant spouse, they will have to navigate a complex and often lengthy process, which may involve waivers, affidavits of support, and an array of supporting documents. The risk of facing legal complications should not be underestimated when deciding to marry an illegal immigrant.

2. Immigration Fraud

Immigration fraud refers to any deceitful act to secure immigration benefits through illegitimate means. While not all marriages to undocumented immigrants are fraudulent, they are closely scrutinized by immigration authorities to detect any signs of marriage fraud. If a marriage is believed to be fraudulent, both the immigrant and the U.S. citizen spouse can face serious legal consequences, including potential criminal charges.

3. Financial Responsibilities

Marrying an illegal immigrant can bring about financial responsibilities for the U.S. citizen spouse. One of the most significant legal obligations is the financial support of the immigrant spouse. U.S. citizens are required to file an affidavit of support, indicating their ability to financially sponsor the immigrant to prevent them from becoming a public charge. Failure to meet these financial responsibilities can lead to consequences, including deportation of the immigrant spouse.

4. Lengthy Separations

In many cases, marrying an undocumented immigrant means prolonged periods of separation. The immigrant spouse may face deportation, and the U.S. citizen spouse may be unable to accompany them if they are removed from the United States. The journey to reunification can be challenging and time consuming, often involving navigating complex immigration laws and potential visa denials.

5. Uncertain Outcomes

When a U.S. citizen marries an undocumented immigrant, there is often a sense of uncertainty about the outcome. The couple’s future can be influenced by shifting immigration policies, administrative changes, and the discretion of immigration authorities. Such uncertainty can be emotionally taxing and unsettling, impacting the overall wellbeing of the family.

Pros and Cons of Marrying an Illegal Immigrant

To provide a comprehensive perspective, let’s consider some of the pros and cons of marrying an illegal immigrant:


  • Love and commitment can serve as a strong foundation for a lasting marriage.
  • The opportunity to keep families together and provide a stable home environment.
  • Immigrants may gain a pathway to legal status through marriage, although this process can be complex and time consuming.
  • The bond formed in overcoming the challenges of immigration can create a strong and resilient relationship.


  • Legal consequences and potential penalties, such as deportation for the immigrant spouse and criminal charges for the U.S. citizen spouse.
  • Risk of encountering immigration fraud investigations that can be intrusive and stressful.
  • Financial obligations, including the affidavit of support, can place a significant burden on the U.S. citizen spouse.
  • Lengthy separations due to immigration processes can strain the relationship.
  • Uncertainty regarding the future, with outcomes influenced by shifting immigration policies.

The Concept of Fraudulent Marriages

Fraudulent marriages, often referred to as sham marriages or marriages of convenience, are undertaken solely to secure immigration benefits. They involve couples who are not genuinely in love or committed to building a life together but rather seek to manipulate the immigration system for personal gain. Immigration authorities are vigilant in detecting fraudulent marriages and take them seriously.

It’s crucial to understand that marrying an illegal immigrant for the sole purpose of helping them gain legal status is considered immigration fraud and is illegal. Both the U.S. citizen and the immigrant can face significant consequences, including deportation, fines, and criminal charges.

Final Recap

Marrying an illegal immigrant is a decision that comes with significant consequences and responsibilities. Love and commitment are essential in building a lasting and meaningful relationship, but couples must be aware of the potential legal and financial obligations involved. Navigating immigration laws and regulations can be complex, and understanding the risks and benefits is crucial.

Immigration fraud investigations are thorough and can be intrusive, making it essential to enter into a marriage based on genuine love and commitment. Couples must be prepared to face potential legal consequences and challenges throughout the immigration process, including lengthy separations and the uncertainty of immigration outcomes.

To ensure that couples have the necessary guidance and support throughout the marriage and immigration journey, seeking legal counsel and advice from professionals experienced in immigration law is essential. Citizenship Selfie is here to help couples navigate the complexities of immigration and ensuring that families can build a secure and stable future together while adhering to the law.



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