Three Ways to Get Green Card Despite Illegal Entry to the United States
Typically, applicants must have been lawfully admitted or paroled into the country to get lawful permanent residency (green card) in the United States. However, there are three exceptions for those who entered without permission. Each exception has its own requirements.
245(i) EligibilityForeigners who were listed on a petition filed on or before April 30, 2001. The petition need not have been approved, so long as it was approvable when filed. If the petition was not filed prior to January 14, 1998, applicants must also prove physical presence in December, 2001. Foreign nationals must meet all other residency requirements.
Provisional Unlawful Presence WaiverThose individuals who were not the beneficiary of a petition filed before 2001 may still obtain residency through a stateside waiver process created in early 2013. Immigration will pardon the unlawful presence of individuals who are the immediately relative (spouse, parent or child) of a US citizen. US citizens must demonstrate that they will suffer extreme hardship without the foreigner. If approved, the foreigners go abroad for an interview and then return to the U.S. The green card arrives in the mail.
Parole in PlaceImmediate relatives of current or former military veterans are eligible to submit a parole in place request. These applications eliminate the need for military families to be separated, when the country is so greatly indebted to them for their service. If approved, it eliminates the need for applicants to leave the country. They will be granted a parole which makes them eligible for residency.
What Can an Attorney Do?Each of the three options above is complicated in its own right. An experienced attorney will organize the evidence, advise the foreigners about what documents are required to win the case, and explain to Immigration why the foreigners deserve the green card despite an illegal entry. To do this, the attorney must know and understand the law. Although the author is a Board-certified immigration expert, this guide is intended as general information and not specific legal advice. This communication does not create an attorney-client relationship. Schedule a consultation with an attorney to address individual concerns.