Can I Still Obtain a Green Card after Living in the U.S. Illegally?

No matter how long you may have spent living in the U.S. already, there is no easy way to obtain a green card if you have been living here illegally.

It may be possible to fight your deportation through what is called “Cancellation of Removal” wherein non-citizens who are already in Immigration Court proceedings can request relief if they have been living in the U.S. for at least 10 years. A judge in this case can offer such a person a green card, but only so long as they have been in court proceedings first.

Other Requirements to Fighting Deportation

In addition to showing that you have been in the country for at least 10 years, you would need to show the court that your removal from the country would cause an “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship” to at least one of your close family members who themselves must be citizens or legal permanent residents. These relatives include spouses, parents, or children.

Furthermore, you need to show the judge that you are of good moral character to qualify for a Cancellation and have not been convicted of certain crimes while in the U.S. nor violated certain laws. The decision to grant a Cancellation is still up to the judge even if you meet all of these requirements.

In sum, if you have been living in the U.S. without legal status for a decade or more and meet the other criteria for a Cancellation, you can consider getting picked up by immigration authorities so that you can apply for one. However, there is great risk involved since no guarantee exists that you will receive one. Your best bet would be to discuss your particular situation with a New York immigration attorney who can determine if the risk is worth being given a green card.

If you believe you meet the requirements listed, call our New York immigration lawyer to go over your situation and options for avoiding a removal. Schedule your free consultation with us today!

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