If your parents came to the US illegally while you were still a small child, how can you get your green card after you turn 18?

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If your parents came to the US illegally while you were still a small child, how can you get your green card after you turn 18?

Do you have to get an immigration lawyer or are there other easier/cheaper ways?

Asked on May 15, 2012 under Immigration Law, Washington

Answers:

Harun Kazmi / Kazmi and Sakata Attorneys at Law

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

 

 

Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to correct your status. If you were brought here illegally, you cannot obtain any status (unless the laws change). There is an existing exception that permits the filing of a penalty ($1,000), if you have had a previous family or employment based case filed by 04/30/2001. Has anyone in your family filed such a case? Otherwise, you must go through a consulate process and be subject to a 10 year bar.

 

 

SB, Member, California / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Under the current immigration laws, you cannot get a green card within the US at any age if you entered the US unlawfully.  In fact, once you turn 18, you cannot even get it outside the US quickly because you start accruing unlawful presence time after you turn 18.  For you to qualify for an immigrant visa you will have to be petitioned by an qualified relative or employer and you will have to go back to your home country to consular process.  The problem is that once you depart the US, you trigger an automatic bar to reentry to the US if you have been in the US unlawfully after your 18th birthday.  If you have been unlawfully present for more than 6 months past your 18th birthday, you will be barred from reentry for 3 years; if you have been unlawfully present for more than 1 year after your 18th birthday, you will be barred from reentry for 10 years.


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