How can an undocumented immigrant get legal status in the US?

Some undocumented foreign nationals may be eligible for asylum if they can establish that because of a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion, are unable or unwilling to return to their country of nationality, and are unable or unwilling to avail themselves of the protection of that country.

Foreign nationals in removal proceedings may be eligible for cancellation of removal if (i) they have been physically present in the US for a continuous period of 10 years, (ii) have been persons of good moral character for 10 years, (iii) have not bee convicted of certain offenses, (iv) establish that removal would result in exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to US citizen or legal permanent resident spouse, parent or child and (v) warrant a favorable exercise of discretion.

Persons who: (i) have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of certain criminal activity (such as murder, rape, kidnapping, domestic violence), (ii) possess credible and reliable information establishing that (s)he has knowledge of details concerning the criminal activity, (iii) have been helpful, are being helpful, or are likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity and (iv) criminal activity occurred in the US or violated a US federal law that provided for extraterritorial jurisdiction may qualify for U visa.

Certain persons are allowed to apply of adjustment of status notwithstanding the fact that they entered without inspection, overstayed, or worked without authorization if: they (a) are beneficiaries of a labor certification or visa petition filed on or before January 14, 1998; or (ii) are beneficiaries of a labor certification of visa petition that was filed after January 14, 1998 but on or before April 30, 2001, and were physically present in the US on December 21, 2000.

Undocumented immigrant’s spouse, adult child or parent who are US citizens may petition for their legal permanent resident status.

Temporary protected status (TPS) is a temporary benefit to certain nationals of designated countries due to conditions in the country (such as ongoing armed conflict, an environmental disaster, or an epidemic or other extraordinary and temporary conditions) that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning. Countries currently designated for TPS are El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Undocumented persons who demonstrate that the (i) they came to the US before reaching 16th birthday, (ii) were physically present in the US on June 15, 2012, (iii) have continuously resided in the US since June 15, 2007, up to the present time, (iv) entered without inspection or were out of status on June 15, 2012, (v) were under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012, (vi) are currently in school, graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, obtained GED certificate or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or US Armed Forces may qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

Please note that this article does not constitute a legal advice.  We simplified the law to outline some of the options to consider for undocumented immigrants to get legal status in the US. If you would like to obtain legal status in the US, call our experienced immigration attorney at 480-425-2009 or schedule your consultation online.