It may seem as if immigration laws are constantly changing under the presidency of Donald Trump. While it is true that the Trump administration has introduced certain changes, for the most part, immigration laws have remained unchanged.
And today, our Salt Lake City family immigration attorney is going to spell out what kind of procedures are available to get legal status as a permanent resident in the U.S., as well as how to help your foreign-born family member get this status.
One of the biggest misconceptions about getting legal status in the U.S. is that the applicant must be in the U.S. legally in order to qualify. While being in the country legally certainly gives you more chances when applying to get legal status, it is not a requirement, as there are some exceptions to this rule, our attorneys at the Familia America Immigration law firm explain.
Typically, an individual staying in the U.S. illegally may qualify if he or she can prove that deportation would result in an undue hardship on him/her or their family. So how do you get legal status as a permanent U.S. resident?
Applicants inside the U.S. illegally
If you are staying in the U.S. illegally, you may be allowed to re-enter the country legally after a specific number of months or years. Generally, this is the best solution for immigrants whose unlawful presence (illegal stay) in the U.S. is known to the U.S. government.
The procedure to get legal status as a permanent U.S. resident is even easier for those who entered the country legally but had their visa expired during their stay. In that case, you are advised to speak to a family immigration lawyer.
Note: if you – or your family member – has been staying in the U.S. illegally for more than 180 days, you may be able to apply for a visa to re-enter the county after three years. Individuals in the country illegally for more than a year (365 days) will not be able to re-enter for 10 years. There may be exceptions in your particular case, which is why it is recommended to be legally represented.
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
If you are a spouse, child or parent of a U.S. citizen or green card holder, you may qualify to get legal status as permanent resident under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). In order to qualify, you need to (1) prove that you are a victim of one of the crimes associated with domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking, and (2) help U.S. law enforcement collect more evidence to file charges against the abuser.
Generally, individuals who get legal status through the VAWA are foreign wives of U.S. citizens or green card holders who suffer from domestic abuse. If you are an undocumented immigrant and victim of domestic violence, partner abuse or other criminal acts, you may qualify for U-1 nonimmigrant status.
Cancel deportation if you’re illegally in the U.S.
More often than not, illegal immigrants in Salt Lake City, Utah and elsewhere across the U.S. pursue legal status after a deportation order has already been issued. One of the most common ways to battle the order is to hire a Salt Lake City family immigration lawyer to cancel your removal.
However, you must be an undocumented immigrant who has been in the U.S. for more than 10 years in order to avoid being removed. Furthermore, you must present evidence that your deportation would cause “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship” to any family member who is U.S. citizen, green card holder or legal permanent resident.
In any case, seeking legal status as U.S. permanent resident is not rocket science. Each case is unique, and your particular circumstances may make it easier or more difficult to get legal status. That is why it is highly advised to get a consultation from an immigration attorney to find out what is your best course of action.