How Do I Obtain Legal Status in the United States?
Living in the United States without permission or after the expiration of your visa is illegal. Considering that the U.S. immigration authorities don’t allow unauthorized immigration, any apprehended immigrant risks being detained, fined, or worse still, deported.
The immigration authorities may ask you to provide proof of legal status anytime. You might also need to show proof of legal status while seeking a job or a driver’s license.
Fortunately, you can obtain legal status in the U.S. in several ways. In this blog post, we explore three of the most common routes that someone obtains legal status in the U.S.
Apply For A Green Card
A Green Card is proof of permanent residency that enables you to work and live in the U.S. The steps and paths to follow while applying for the Green Card vary depending on the situation. You can apply for a green card if:
- You resided continuously in the United States before Jan 1, 1972
- You’re a victim of abuse from a parent, spouse, or child who’s a lawful permanent resident, or a U.S. citizen
- You’re a crime victim with a U nonimmigrant visa
- You’re a human trafficking victim with a T nonimmigrant visa
- You’re a first, second, or third preference worker with special skills
- You’re a spouse, child, or parent of a U.S. citizen who’s over 21 years
You can also apply for a green card lottery through the diversity visa program. There are 55,000 Green Cards given away annually, and the selection is fair since no country can receive more than 7% of the Green Cards.
If you’re eligible to apply, you need to fill out the I-485 with the USCIS or the U.S. Department of State. You’ll need to provide fingerprints, a signature, and photos during a biometrics appointment. Then you can go for an interview and wait for your green card approval.
If you have suffered or fear suffering persecution in your home country, you can get asylum status. The persecution may be due to political opinion, religion, race, nationality, or social group membership. You must prove that a government or an authority that’s unable to control does the persecution.
You will have to complete Form I-589 and provide evidence of the persecution claim. The immigration authorities will interview you to warrant your case. It’s essential to hire a legal expert experienced in asylum cases from Bennett Law Center to guide you through the process.
Once the asylum is granted, you’re allowed to live and work in the United States indefinitely or until you feel safe to return home. To prove legal status, you can provide the approval notice from the Asylum Department, the I-94 arrival and departure record, or the decision from the immigration court.
Another way to obtain legal status is by acquiring a visa. If you have specialized skills, your employer can sponsor your work visa. You can apply for a long-term or short-term visa and return to your country after the specified duration.
You can also acquire a student visa if you want to pursue your studies in the United States. However, you can experience limitations with a student visa if you intend to live in the U.S. permanently.
Get Quick Help Obtaining Your Legal Status Today
If you’re in the United States illegally and need help obtaining legal status, Bennett Law Center is ready to help you. Our Florida immigration attorneys will guide you through the options available and offer the assistance you need to obtain legal status. Please get in touch with us online or give us a call at 352-557-8989 to schedule a consultation with our office.