I assume in answering this question that your girl friend is a U.S. citizen, you don't have a serious criminal record and you only enterd the U.S. once.
If you entered the U.S. without inspection then most likely you can't apply for permanent residency at all in the U.S. Rather, most likely you would have to apply for a visa at a U.S. consulate in your home country. Further, you would need a waiver of the 10 year bar since you have been in the U.S. illegally for over a year. Right now you would have to wait until you left the U.S. to apply for that waiver but soon you may be able to apply while still in the U.S. and only go to the consulate when (and if ) you get the waiver. Meanwhile you may be able to apply for something called "Deferred Action". You can find more information regarding that here: www.uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals
Obtaining work authorization depends on the Petition. With a family petition, USCIS will grant work authorization within 90 days, However, if you did not enter with proper papers, your case may require consular processing,
I highly recommend that you work with an attorney, If you hire an immigration attorney, not a notario, you will save money, time and needless worry, Just looking at the few facts you listed, there may be additional immigration applications that you might help you, However, a good attorney will want to sit down with you and your wife to determine what the best solution is for you,
Right now immigration law is changing quickly, Some of believe and pray that there will be comprehensive immigration reform- new laws to fix a 60 year old frame that does not work in the 21st century,
I see hope in the few facts you gave, Do your family a favor and go to an immigration attorney - if an attorney is a member of AILA-American Immigration Lawyers Association- you will be in good hands.
Immigration is a federal practice, Therefore, an attorney in any state can assist you. You are welcome to call my office for a consultation,
Best of Luck to you and your family
About 90 days after you filed your I-485 form.
Please click the link below for additional information.
Carl Shusterman, Esq.
Former INS Trial Attorney (1976-82)
Board Certified Immigration Attorney (1986 - Present)
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600 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1550
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 394-4554 x0
Web: www.shusterman.com (English)
(213) 394-4554 x0 Mr. Shusterman is a former INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) with over 35 years of immigration experience. His response to your question is general in nature, as not all the facts are known to him. You should retain an attorney experienced in immigration law to review all the facts in your case in order to receive advice specific to your case. Mr. Shusterman's statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship.