How can an Illegal Immigrant become Legal?

You have to face serious problems, such as you can be deported from the US and can be barred from re-entering the country again, if you came to the US without proper documentation. One of the most essential questions here is how can an illegal immigrant become legal? 

Even if your family members and loved ones are there in the US as permanent residents and you are a foreign resident and came to the US without proper documentation then you have to face serious penalties.

However, help is provided to an illegal immigrant by the US to help you in getting a legal status as a permanent resident or a lawful resident of the US. Thus, we need to discuss the process to know how can an illegal immigrant become legal successfully. 

Steps for getting legal status in the US

An undocumented person or illegal immigrant can have no right in getting legal status. This is because the US laws are very rigid. They are very clear that anyone who is leaving or entering the US should enter through recognized and legal channels.

Approximately 62% of people are present as illegal immigrants after overstaying on their visas in the US. However, a very little percentage is present who have illegally traveled through illegal routes. In this case, the result will be the same because in both cases you will be deported with a condition of the bar on your reentry to the US.

What is a prohibition to Re-Entry into the US after deportation?

You will be barred from re-entering the US if the US customs officials find that you have been staying in the US illegally. You will be barred if you have come to the US through illegal paths.

However, there is an anomaly to this rule in the case of asylum applications, injured women and children, and people who are caught in the web of human trafficking are barred from this rule. The people traveling through illegal routes will be barred either for 3 years from re-entering or 10 years from re-entering the US.

Three year Bar to Re-enter US

The foreigners or aliens in the US and were present in the US for 180 days and 1 year. If they have left voluntarily there is no allowance to re-entering the US for three years.

Ten years Bar from Re-entering US

Those people who were foreigners or aliens in the US and were present in the US for 1 year and more, but have left voluntarily will be barred from re-entering the US for three years.

Bar from permanently Re-entering the US

The foreigners or aliens who were present in the US for more than one year unlawfully. Moreover, if they leave voluntarily are subject to 10 years of the bar from re-entering the country. In case of an illegal entrance to the US, there is the prevention of such immigrants to the country. 

Undocumented Immigrants – Amnesty

Amnesty is the practice through which the immigrant has the all0wance to stay in the US legally. The amnesty is of two types – a temporary protected status and Asylum.


If you apply within a year of your entry or at the expiration of an authorized stay, then you can get Asylum in the US. To get Asylum, you have to show that there is a fear of persecution in your home country.

Another can be that you might get persecuted in the future due to any kind of religion, race, Nationality, Political opinion, or membership in a certain social group.

Temporary Protected status

Often people come from a country that has recently had any kind of environmental and natural disaster that makes it unsafe for you to stay over there. You have eligibility for temporary protected status. However, it does not mean that you will get a Green Card and it is only available or given for 18 months.

When you get a temporary protected status you will be allowed to work or explore other options to get a permanent status until the time you are in the US.

Other ways to get the legal immigrant status

By an appeal to the Immigration Court for the upliftment of the removal status

Some people who have been arrested by the immigration authorities can get qualified for canceling the removal status but it does not mean that this option is available for everybody. You can only get this when you are in removal proceedings. You can qualify for the cancellation of removal if:

  • If you have been living in the US for at least 10 years.
  • You are a person of good morality and have been living in the US for at least 10 years. 
  • You must not be disqualified due to the commission of any kind of immigration violation. Also, you must not have persecuted any person. 
  • To get cancellation of removal status you can also show that your removal can cause extremely unusual problems. The various problems include hardship to your spouse, parents, or child. However, they must be a US citizen or a legitimate permanent citizen.

By serving US Military Forces

In some cases, current or former US Military Service members can qualify to get permanent status. You will get citizenship immediately in the following cases:

  • If they enlist themselves in the US military services.
  • You help the US by serving in any kind of conflict

By marrying a US Citizen

You can get a valid and permanent citizenship status from an undocumented immigrant status by marrying a US citizen. However, this route is only open for people entering into a marriage relationship in reality and not for immigration status.

The immigration officials might also find out about your marriage to a US citizen for immigration status. In that case, you will be immediately removed. This route is also open for only those people who entered the US through legal routes on a valid visa.


If you want to get immediate legal help in case you are an undocumented immigrant you must consult an immigrant specialist Attorney. So, the process of an illegal immigrant becoming legal involves several complex processes but can be achieved with dedication.  

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