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Can I Become A Lawful Permanent Resident If I Am Living In The US Undocumented?

If you come into the United States and you are living here without documentation, there is the possibility to become a lawful permanent resident. Most of your eligibility is dictated by how long you’ve lived in the United States, what familial connections you have in the United States, how you entered the country, and what you’ve done since you’ve been here. There are many things that play into this. A person who has come in and out of the country undocumented multiple times could have restrictions that bar them from becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident. A person in the United States who has claimed to be a United States Citizen for any purpose could have restrictions also. There are a lot of different angles that come into play but theoretically, a person can become a Lawful Permanent Resident, even if they are and have been living in the United States in an undocumented status.

Who Would Qualify To Petition for Me In The Family Petition Category?

The first category we will discuss is an immediate relative. Immediate relative petitions are immediately available to proceed from petition through residency based on the intending immigrant’s eligibility without having to wait for the quota system to open up more visas. The different immediate relative groups are: United States citizen children over the age of 21 petitioning for parents. Parents who are United States Citizens petitioning their children that are unmarried and under the age of 21. And, a United States Citizen spouse petitioning their Foreign National spouse.

The second category is called the preference category. The groups in this category are: United States Citizen sibling petitioning siblings. Lawful Permanent Resident parents petitioning for their unmarried children. Lawful Permanent Resident spouses petitioning their Foreign National spouse. The term Preference Category just means they are not automatic. They go into a system of quotas. Once your priority date becomes current, you can begin to move forward into your Lawful Permanent Residency process, of course depending on the Foreign National’s individual eligibility.

How Long Does the Process Of Filing A Petition In The Preference Category Take?

The petition is the very first stage of beginning the process. It is when the government establishes a proper and legitimate familial relationship. That petition falls into various categories. There are immediate relative categories, which means that the petition can immediately move forward through residency, based on eligibility. And, there are preference category petitions. For the preference category the government has established quotas of visas that are given in certain quantities for certain countries. The preference category means that you are placed into a group of people who have been petitioned and must wait to proceed to Lawful Permanent Residency based on the availability of visas.

A United States Citizen sibling petitioning a foreign national sibling is category F-4. For example, let’s say the United States government has provided 100,000 visas for siblings petitioning siblings every year. If there are 500,000 people who petition under that category in one year, then 5 years of visa availability in this category has already been used. This means your wait time could be five years. Currently, the actual wait time for a United States Citizen sibling petitioning a sibling from Mexico is a little over 20 years. It would require that you wait on additional available visas and until your priority date becomes current.

A lawful permanent resident spouse petitioning their spouse or a lawful permanent resident parent petitioning an unmarried child under 21 falls into the F-2A category. In the F-2A category, all countries have immediately available visas for processing. At this time, the intending immigrant is able move forward immediately; however, at other times, we have seen that this category be delayed three year or more years, depending on the amount of people who have applied from a specific country inside that category.

The preference category has a capped number of people per year, per country who can qualify through that specific category. If there are many people who have applied and that cap has been met, it can cause delays in the system where an intending immigrant could have to wait several years or even decades, depending on the country of origin and the quota for that country in that category.

For more information on Becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident In US, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (505) 365-1030 today.

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