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Green Card Process for Illegal Immigrants


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Title: Green Card Process for Illegal Immigrants

Green Card Application Process for Illegal
  • March 2016

Is green card even possible?
  • I overstayed my U.S. visa. I have a family now.
    Can I get a green card?
  • I entered the United States illegally many years
    ago. I am married with kids. Can I apply for a
    green card?
  • We are being asked such questions often
  • The answer to many of them is more complicated
    than a single yes or no
  • Being married to a U.S. citizen is a help
  • But it may not be a universal key to a solution

Green card does not happen fast
  • Processing times are long in general
  • http//
  • USCIS is backed up, because of funding and other
  • The process itself envisions multiple phases of
    review, including
  • review of the submitted application
  • background and biometric checks, and
  • interview
  • Following the proper process is key!

What is the green card process for me?
  • Because circumstances of becoming out-of-status
    (i.e., being in violation of the U.S. immigration
    laws) differ from individual to individual, one
    has to seek legal counseling
  • An immigration attorney can advise on the
  • process steps
  • costs involved
  • timing and
  • chances of success

Spirit of the U.S. immigration law
  • The immigration laws purpose is not to penalize
    potential immigrants or their U.S. or alien
    family members
  • Example if an illegal immigrant is deported from
    the U.S., the left-behind spouse is clearly
  • However, the burden of demonstrating that such
    removal will cause unreasonable or extreme
    hardship will lie with the immigrant and/or
    his/her sponsor/spouse
  • The law is designed to prevent illegal
    immigration and enforce a process, in accordance
    to which one can become a legal permanent
    resident, or a green card holder

Precedents to becoming a legal permanent resident
  • Plenty of precedents exists
  • A simple google search will reveal many newspaper
    articles testifying to that
  • USCIS officers possess authority to forgive
    certain (not all) immigration violations during a
    petition review process
  • The process begins by you
  • coming clean
  • acknowledging you violated the immigration law
  • requesting a formal green card approval based on
    certain legal qualification criteria

Factors for green card application success
  • Length of time spent out of status
  • Criminal record in the United States
  • Bona fide relationship with your spouse
  • Completeness of the green card application
  • Diligent following of the green card application

Why delay coming clean?
  • Subjective (personal) reasons procrastination,
    lack of funds, other priorities, etc.
  • Objective reasons Legitimate risk of suffering
    the sever consequences of violation of ones stay
    in the U.S.
  • Obviously, coming clean and filing your paperwork
    with the USCIS flashes you out to the
    immigration system so that the consequences of
    the overstay may appear imminent

Consequences of the overstay
  • If one overstays by
  • Up to 180 days May not trigger consequences, but
    may affect a non-immigrant visa applications (you
    have to show you intend to leave the U.S. at the
    end of your stay)
  • Between 180 and 360 days May trigger
    inadmissible status (i.e., barred from entering
    the U.S.) for three (3) years
  • More than 360 days May trigger inadmissible
    status (i.e., barred from entering the U.S.) for
    ten (10) years
  • If one is forcefully removed or deported May
    trigger inadmissible status (i.e., barred from
    entering the U.S.) for life

Exceptions to Inadmissible status
  • If the illegal immigrant is minor, under 18
    years old
  • If the pending asylum, green card, extension or
    other adjustment of status application is or has
    been pending during the time otherwise considered
    to be overstay
  • If the immigrant is an abused spouse
  • If one is able to demonstrate that the
    immigrants absence will cause significant or
    extreme hardship to the immigrants immediate
    family, who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent
  • Other exceptions
  • Not an exception Once you file a petition with
    the USCIS, it may put a pause on your overstay

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program,
  • Controversial 2012 program, initiated by the
    President Obamas administration, which is
    currently under review by the Supreme Court
    (hearings scheduled for the spring of 2016)
  • Focused on illegal immigrants, who were underage
    at the time of their arrival, and were brought to
    the U.S. by their parents
  • The program offers a stay on deportation (if such
    is pending), temporary status in the U.S. and
    permit to work

DACAs pathway to green card by marriage
  • For those now married to U.S. citizens,
    government-approved travel abroad can cure
    their illegal entry and allow them to seek a
    green card
  • If one qualifies for DACA, which temporarily
    legitimizes ones status within the United
    States, the intended immigrant can file Form
    I-131, seeking an advance parole, together with
    his/her DACA approval

Source http//
DACAs pathway to green card by marriage
  • If the USCIS grants one advance parole, the
    government effectively grants one a permission
    to re-enter the country without a visa...
    Following a groundbreaking 2012 court decision in
    a non-DACA advance parole case, the return trip
    would override the DACAs recipients previous
  • To state this differently, if a DACA approved
    illegal immigrant travels outside the U.S. and
    returns using advance parole, he or she
    effectively remedies his or her previous
    immigration law violations related to illegal
    entry in the past
  • Once he/she enters the country legally, ones
    spouse (a U.S. citizen) can sponsor him/her for
    an adjustment of status application, which will
    result in a green card this becomes a
    legitimate marriage-based green card path towards
    legal permanent residency

Source http//
DACA is under a court review
  • And it may be legitimized into another chapter of
    the immigration law, or may be struck down
  • It offers an opening for many to clean their
    previous entries, and legitimize their path
    towards green card
  • The advance parole document is typically
    processed quickly within a few weeks
  • We believe, even if DACA is struck down by
    courts, once you have an advance parole in hand,
    the government will not have the authority to go
    back on the advance parole decision
  • If one acts quickly, one can legitimately get on
    the marriage green card pathway

Coming clean is key
  • It will all start with a proactive stance of
    acknowledging you violated the immigration law
  • It is done through petitioning to the USCIS,
    either for green card or through advance parole

Think Costs are investments
  • Application fees
  • Quality immigration attorney
  • BUT
  • These are investments!
  • Once the green card is approved, more opportunity
    for stable and gainful employment

Thank you!
  • 8?00-756-9706

  • The statements expressed in this presentation are
    opinion of the author.
  • The opinions are based on research of public
    information, and may not be complete nor 100
    applicable to ones specific situation.
  • One should seek qualified legal advice regarding
    his or her specific circumstances.

Thank you!
  • 8?00-756-9706