An in-depth study shows that 72% of Americans believe that undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. should legally be allowed to stay in the United States. Still, life in the U.S. can be challenging for those without legal, documented status.
Moreover, if you’re caught living without proper documentation, you can face severe penalties, leading to deportation and barred from re-entry to the country. Both of which can affect your family’s finances, legal situation, and worse immigration penalties.
As of now, there aren’t many substantial amnesty programs- apart from the one President Reagan established in 1986. Besides, various smaller plans allow undocumented immigrants to gain legal positions; the main objective is scoring a long-term legal status.
There are specific paths you can take to qualify for legal documentations. Below we discuss the top 6 ways you can gain legal status in the U.S.
Gaining a Green Card by Marrying a U.S Citizen
The first and easiest path to gaining legal standing is marrying a U.S citizen or permanent resident. Getting a marriage-based green card allows the spouse (beneficiary) to live and work anywhere in the United States. In order to apply for a marriage-based green card, it is important to note that the person applying needs to have legal entry into the country.
Furthermore, the steps to gain a green card are pretty straightforward:
- Establish a marriage relationship (it must be legally valid)
- Apply for a green card (the sponsor aka the U.S. Citizen must pledge to support their spouse aka the beneficiary)
- Attend the interview and wait for its approval
Green Card by Immediate Relative
Here immediate relative refers to the undocumented immigrant’s partner, guardian, or child- under 21. You must keep in mind that applying for a green card only works if the relative has a lawful entry to the country or adjusts status by using a green card. Either way, it is the legal entry that matters. It means that the undocumented individual must have entered the U.S with proper documentation.
All in all, an individual who remains in the U.S based on their visa and then weds a U.S. citizen can get a green card. The process is the same here as it was above. In case you find yourself in a challenging situation, you may contact our immigration office for further guidance.
Gaining the I-601A Provisional Waiver
Gaining legality can be reasonably challenging. Spouses and stepchildren of lawful residents and citizens often have to rethink every step before filing for a different status.
U.S. law states that foreign spouses and children or stepchildren that enter the country without inspection must leave the country. Moreover, they should sort out their immigration process with the help of U.S. consulates abroad. It allows them to gain a green card without any repercussions.
Not just that, but if the undocumented immigrating partner and children (above 18) reside unlawfully in the U.S. for six months, authorities can bar them from re-entering the country for several years. In some instances, the individual may get a waiver of the three or 10-years bars if their absence causes ‘extreme hardship’ for the partner.
DREAMers Green Card by Employment and LIFE Act Protection
If DREAMers are obtaining education turn into possible employees for qualified jobs, green cards can clear a legal path for them. In such circumstances, the U.S. employer may sponsor the card for the employee.
However, you may need the benefits of 245(i) protection through the Legal Immigration Family Equity (LIFE) Act. It is regardless of the fact whether your DREAMer has protection under DACA or not.
Here the employer may have to get the Labor Certification or PERM before beginning the filing process. Undocumented immigrants may still have to go back to their previous country. However, if the individual boasts 245(i) protection, they don’t have to leave the U.S. to gain one.
You can get asylum status in the U.S. if you are dealing with persecution in your homeland or face a legitimate fear of returning to your country of birth. Typically, the persecution is based on your religion, race, nationality, political opinion, or inclusion in a social group.
The government or group must carry out the persecution that the government cannot control. Moreover, you can only apply for an asylum status within any year of your entry or the expiration of your authorized stay.
The asylum case starts with your lawyer filing for Form I-589, which refers to Application for Asylum. Evidence that aids your claim is necessary. Furthermore, Asylees may try for a green card after a year of receiving their asylum grant.
The U Visa Targeted for Victims of Crime
It is a legal status pathway for non-citizens victims of crimes. The main aim of the law is to encourage cooperation between the police and solicitor without fearing expulsion. A U visa offers legal standing, proper employment authorization, and even a permanent resident status to the immigrant.
An Immigration Attorney by Your Side
We understand that the journey to legal immigration status can be nerve-wracking and confusing at the same time. We will guide you throughout the process and help you in every step of the path that best works for you. Be it you or your loved one, we invite you to contact us today for a consultation on your situation.