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Can an illegal alien become a resident after 10 years of continuously living in the US and having had good morals and behavior?

West Palm Beach, FL |

I'd like to know if it is true that a person that has lived in the U.S after overstaying his/her tourist visa, can become a legal resident for having lived here continuously for 10 years without committing any crimes and having had good morals and conduct.

What is the truth about that belief? (I am not referring to the 3/10 years ban.)

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

You are possibly referring to what is known as non-LPR cancellation of removal. This form of relief can be granted to you if you are in removal proceedings and you were in the U.S. for 10 years before the notice to appear was issued. You may need a qualifying relative, such as U.S. citizen spouse or child, and you need to show hardship to the qualifying relative if you are ordered removed from the U.S. This standard is difficult to meet and requires much evidence to show all the hardship and to show your presence in the U.S. for 10 years.

A good consultation with an experienced attorney can help you in determining which documents you can start gathering.

Lena Korial-Yonan, Esq.
9425 Craven Road, Suite # 5
Jacksonville, FL 32257


There are no provision that would automatically grant you permanent residence simply because you are in the US for 10 years. You are probably thinking about Cancellation of Removal, but that can only be applied for if you are placed in removal proceedings and has other hard to meet requirements that must be met before you even have a chance of it being granted.

If you are in removal proceedings, you should retain a competent immigration lawyer.


The simple answer: no. However, foreign nationals who are placed in removal proceedings are sometimes able to avoid deportation by proving that they have been in the U.S. for 10 years, have good moral character, and a qualifying relative would suffer exceptional hardship if the foreign national is deported.

If U.S. Citizens contact their Congressmembers and ask for Comprehensive Immigration Reform to become a law, foreign nationals who have been here 10 years may be able to resolve their immigration status.

For more information, click through to my web site. This attorney is Board Certified, speaks Spanish and French, and has an office in South Florida.

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