I entered the U.S. without permission, is there any way to get status?

Posted on: November 4th, 2013 by Sobel and Erwin

If you entered the United States without being properly inspected and admitted (i.e. “illegally”), the options for getting legal status or becoming a lawful permanent resident without having to return to your country of origin are very limited.  In some cases it is possible but the process is very complex.  If you meet any of the outlined information below, you should meet with an experienced immigration lawyer at Sobel & Erwin in Tulsa to evaluate your case.

4 Possible Options for Obtaining Status if You Entered the U.S. Without Permission

  1. 1.     Apply for asylum – you must be able to offer proof that you have suffered persecution or have a “well-founded fear of persecution” if you return to your country of origin, either by the government itself or by a group uncontrolled by your home country’s government. Just being afraid is not enough. You must show that the persecution you have suffered in the past, or that you fear suffering if you return, is based on a protected ground, such as race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
  2. 2.     Victims of domestic violence or a serious crime – if you have been a victim of domestic violence or other serious crime either perpetuated by a U.S. citizen, legal immigrant, or illegal immigrant you may qualify for a self-petition green card or a U-Visa.
  3. 3.     Someone has filed a family petition (I-130) or employment petition (I-140) before May 1, 2001 – under a prior provision of the immigration law known commonly as 245(i), persons who were the beneficiary of a family petition or employment-based petition filed before May 1, 2001, may be allowed to pay a penalty and complete the green card process within the U.S. rather than having to return to their home country.  This is a complicated law in which few people still qualify. Contact Sobel & Erwin if you believe you may have had a petition filed for you or if you were named as the child on a petition filed for your mother or father before May 1, 2001.
  4. 4.     If you are in removal proceedings and can show that you have been in the United States for more than 10 continuous years and returning to your country of origin would cause “exceptional and extremely unusual” hardship for your U.S. citizen/LPR spouse or children – this is very limited and is called Cancellation of Removal. In addition to the 10 years of consecutive presence in the U.S. and the establishment of the exceptional and extremely unusual hardship, you must show that you have good moral character.

Victims of human trafficking or slavery and unaccompanied minors may also be able to qualify for a visa, but these cases are extremely rare.

Tulsa Immigration Advocacy

If you have entered the country illegally, do not fall victim to someone who promises to fix your illegal status. The immigration attorneys at Sobel & Erwin can offer sound advice to let you know if you can or cannot obtain lawful status.  Call today to schedule a consultation.