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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
(Last Updated On: March 28, 2020)

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.

Our world is divided into multiple countries today, which means people have to go through a lengthy process if they wish to travel. However, traveling is not as complicated as moving to another country. There are a lot more complications that people have to face when they wish to immigrate to another country. But it is also a necessary step at times. When people are unsafe in their homeland, they have no option but to move to another state. There are also instances when people have to move places to improve their future. It isn’t something that is under their control. Above all, everyone wants to live in a country that values its citizens and gives them all the freedoms. Those who live in backward societies look up to such countries and wish to move there for good.

Types of Immigrants

The American Dream:

The world is divided between developed, developing, and underdeveloped nations. The people from poorer countries live in miserable conditions. But even if they had to live in suffering, they wish to give their children a better future. For many, that future means getting permanent residence in a first world country. Even if they can’t become rich, living with continuous access to clean water and a respectable job is enough for some people.

America’s financial success and freedom of its citizens attract people towards it. During the 20th century, a lot of immigrants moved to the US and changed their lives for good. They worked hard to achieve financial success and lived a comfortable life in the US. This resulted in the concept of the American Dream, which is what a lot of people are chasing to this day. People wish to move to this country so they can become successful and live without the fear of a tyrant regime. But the American Dream isn’t something that can be achieved easily.

Types of Immigrants:

Just like there are different types of visas you can apply for, there are also multiple kinds of immigration. There are lawful applicants who go through the proper procedure to become the citizens of a country. They do not indulge in practices that can put a negative light on their application. These are known as legal immigrants. They can apply for their citizenship after spending a specific amount of time in a country. They are the ones who don’t have to face any backlash from courts.

The other type is those who cannot get green cards easily. They use illegal methods to enter a country. They are commonly known as undocumented immigrants because they don’t have any papers giving them permission to live in a country. There are various reasons why someone would choose to become an undocumented immigrant. Sometimes, people are seeking asylum, and for that, they cannot wait for the immigrant visa process to finish. Their lives are at risk, and they have to escape their country by all means. You can also become undocumented if your papers have expired, and you no longer have the legal permission to reside in a country.

If you are a non-immigrant, it is up to you to rectify your situation as quickly as possible if you don’t want to be deported. If you are an asylum-seeker, you can get an impediment to expulsion, which could save you from getting deported, at least for a short period of time. In any case, it is good to get in touch with a deportation immigration attorney. They will be able to guide you about the process and direct you onto the right path. Not everyone is well-versed in the immigration laws of a country. So, if you are residing in the US illegally, it is better to discuss the matter with an expert attorney so you can prepare your case for the USCIS and save yourself from deportation.

American Dream
Getting Citizenship

Getting Citizenship:

Naturalization laws are different in every country. If you are unaware of the laws that can help you become a citizen, it is better to get the help of experts instead of trying to follow the advice of your friends. The process is going to be long, and following every step will not be easy. But if you continue to live in a country without getting your documents, you can end up in jail. If your only purpose is to escape your past life and live in a better environment, then it is your duty to apply for citizenship as quickly as possible. When you are aware of the laws and know which category you fall under, you can apply for the change of your immigration status with the relevant form. With the help of your attorney, you can make up your case properly and present it to the immigration authorities for their approval.

There are a lot of cases that get rejected every day. And a lot of rejections get overturned after an appeal. But in order to succeed, you should be aware of the process and which steps to take. You should not be forced back to the state where your life will be in danger. But in order to make sure that doesn’t happen, you need to fulfill every requirement. Get language assistance if you are not fluent in English. You should also get certified translations for your personal papers. Once you have completed all the steps, you can apply for citizenship with confidence. And even if you get rejected, do not give up. There is always an answer for those who try.

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.

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