Getting legal status for an illegal immigrant is hard because you have to prove you deserve to stay in the United States by filing for US citizenship. Many illegal immigrants are afraid to reveal themselves for fear of deportation. Let go of your deportation fears and start the legalization process. Learn what measures you need to take in order to become a legal US citizen.
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Things you need
- US citizenship application
- Immigration forms
- Green card or citizenship certificate
Obtain immigration information, forms and applications by creating a user account on US Immigration Support by clicking on "Create Account" on the left side of the page. Fill in your personal information and gain access to all immigration information for free; you have to pay a $50 fee without a user account.
Determine your eligibility by going to Findlaw (see Resources) to learn if you can get legal status. Learn to speak, read and write in English. Prove you're willing to become to a citizen through studying US history and government. Also read and understand the US Constitution because you'll have to tell an Immigration representative you believe in its principles.
File an immigration application and find a recent passport-type photo. Provide additional documentation such as a birth certificate and any other documents that prove your identity. Get fingerprinted at a specified location by US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Allow time to schedule an interview with an immigration representative.
Go to your local immigration office for your legal status interview to answer any immigration questions and take the English and civics tests. If you pass, schedule a follow-up interview with your immigration representative. Also obtain your citizenship certificate from US Citizenship and Immigration Services to prove you're now a US citizen.
Get a green card by other means if you can't become a US citizen through testing and immigration interviews. Go to US Citizenship and Immigration Services for green card information and changing your legal status. You're allowed to get a green card through employment, a family member or marriage to a US citizen. Find someone willing to go through rigorous immigration testing to help you get a green card.
Tips and warnings
- Find a support system to turn to whenever you hit any legal snags, such as a friend, family member or immigration attorney. Realize if you get an attorney that fees can be more than $300 an hour. Choose an attorney interested in your case, not just your money.
- Never assume that getting married to a citizen guarantees you a green card because the US frowns upon you lying to the government. Depending on the severity of your lie, you could either go to jail or be deported immediately back to your country.
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