The Best Way to go From an Undocumented Immigrant to a Legal U.S. Citizen

The Best Way to go From an Undocumented Immigrant to a Legal U.S. Citizen
undocumented immigrant

The U.S. immigration law offers very few options to go from being an illegal or undocumented immigrant to a legal U.S. citizen (with a green card).

From undocumented immigrant to U.S. citizen

Hundreds of people from various countries dream of a better life in the United States. But entering the US without permission is unlawful. Likewise, those who have entered the land legally whose authorized stay or visa has expired but chose to stay, will be labeled an undocumented immigrant.

limited alternatives

Limited Alternatives

Under the U.S. immigration laws, only a few alternatives are possible for an undocumented immigrant to become a legal citizen of the country. Still, a few options are better than none. Here, we will consider those options. But, your first aid is to get an immigration lawyer who can describe all the things to you.

If you have limited English-speaking abilities, ask the help of a professional immigration translator. For your non-English documents, find a certified translation provider to translate your documents from your language into English correctly. You’ll need all the documents you can get as an undocumented immigrant.

Marriage to a U.S. Citizen

One of the most popular options for an undocumented immigrant to obtain legal status is to get married to a U.S. citizen. Though, it must be stressed that it should be a real, bona fide and legal marriage. This will make you, under the U.S. immigration laws, a direct relative. Supposedly, this also makes you qualified for a green card after the application process is finished.

If you became an undocumented immigrant because you chose to stay after your visa has expired, it means that you earlier entered the country through legal ways. This makes you appeal for the green card without leaving the U.S. through the adjustment of status process.

marriage to US citizen


Several undocumented immigrants come here because the conditions in their home country are so critical that their lives are in danger.

If this is the situation, asylum may be a feasible way for gaining permanent residency. However, to do so, you must meet a specific set of clear guidelines. If you think you meet these guidelines, contact an immigration lawyer who can help you process your case. If allowed asylum status, you will be eligible for a green card one year after your approval, with citizenship an option four years later.

U Visa (for Crime Victims)

This visa is for the protection of you as an undocumented immigrant who was victim of particular crimes and have helped law enforcement agencies. The law is to assist crime victims to cooperate with prosecutors and police without fear of being deported. If you qualify for U visa, it entitles you to legal status, which can lead to permanent resident status in some cases as well as employment authorization.

Military Service

If you have served in the military, you are eligible for citizenship. However, you must have been in a qualifying fight, and you must have obtained merits while on U.S. territory, including the Canal Zone, American Samoa or Swains Islands.

If your stay or visa has expired it is best to get in touch with an immigration lawyer which will go over your case and see what options you have. If you have a valid visa, don’t let it expire, it is easier to renew it rather than becoming undocumented. A lawyer could tell you more about it, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with one.

If we can help you with any questions, please feel free to contact us
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