Is there anything I can do other than wait for a visa if my residency has expired but I’ve been in the US for 21 years?

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Is there anything I can do other than wait for a visa if my residency has expired but I’ve been in the US for 21 years?

I had a social security card but lost it when I was 19. When I went to get a replacement I was told that my residency had expired; I had no idea. My father filed the petition for an unmarried son/daughter over 25. I have recently recieved my I797. At this point I’m am homeless and peniless and not sure what to do. I’ve been in this country so long, I’ve worked here, filed taxes. I’m at a loss and need help.

Asked on July 11, 2015 under Immigration Law, Illinois

Answers:

SB Member California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Getting petitioned is not the same as having permission to stay in the US lawfully.  The petition has to be approved AND the visa number has to be available allowing you to either adjust status (if you are in the US lawfully at that time) or consular process.  If you have done neither, at this point there are very few options left to you.  Specifically, just one.  If you entered the US lawfully 21 years ago, and you marry a US citizen, you can adjust status to permanent residence without leaving the US.


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