Immigration amnesty has been a contentious issue in the US since at least the 1980s. In the most general sense of the term, immigration amnesty refers to the process or the practice of granting legal immigration status to those persons who are in the US illegally. Immigration amnesty may pertain to persons who entered the US illegally or persons whose immigration status has expired. In most cases, immigration amnesty is granted to specific groups of people. Usually, this type of amnesty is granted only to those persons who have committed no other illegal activities other than being in the country illegally.
First, you may be able to show that the U.S. government was basically wrong to put you into removal proceedings, because you are not, in fact, removable (deportable). At one of your first hearings in immigration court, the Immigration Judge (IJ) will ask you to admit or deny factual allegations and concede (admit) or contest (deny) any charges of removability.
It is usually a good idea to deny the allegations and contest any charges of removability. As long as you do not concede charges of removability, it remains the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) burden or responsibility to present enough evidence to show that you are actually removable.
A Green Card holder (permanent resident) is someone who has been granted authorization to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis. As proof of that status, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) grants a person a permanent resident card, commonly called a "Green Card."
You can become a permanent resident several different ways. Most individuals are sponsored by a family member or employer in the United States. Other individuals may become permanent residents through refugee or asylee status or other humanitarian programs. In some cases, you may be eligible to file for yourself.
Immigration through adoption, or “Intercountry adoption,” refers to the adoption of a child born in one country by an adoptive parent living in another country. USCIS plays a key role in the intercountry adoption process.
United States immigration law provides three different processes through which someone may immigrate on the basis of an intercountry adoption. An individual may immigrate under one of these provisions only if the individual’s adoption meets all the requirements of that specific process.
Two separate processes apply only to children adopted by U.S. citizens. The child may immigrate immediately after the adoption or may immigrate to the U.S. to be adopted here.
The Hague Process: if the child habitually resides in a country that is a party to the Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention.
The Orphan Process: (non-Hague): if the Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention does not apply.
Many aspects of the Hague and Orphan requirements are similar. To learn details about each adoption process, see the links to the specific process under the “Immigration through Adoption” to the left.
Another process applies to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident who may petition for his or her adoptive child through an Immediate Relative Petition. For more information go to our Other Adoption Related Immigration page.
You have been a permanent resident for at least 5 years and meet all other eligibility requirements, please visit our Path to Citizenship page for more information.
You have been a permanent resident for 3 years or more and meet all eligibility requirements to file as a spouse of a U.S. citizen, please visit our Naturalization for Spouses of U.S. Citizens page for more information.
You have qualifying service in the U.S. armed forces and meet all other eligibility requirements. Visit the Military section of our website.
Your child may qualify for naturalization if you are a U.S. citizen, the child was born outside the U.S., the child is currently residing outside the U.S., and all other eligibility requirements are met. Visit our Citizenship Through Parents page for more information.
You may qualify through other paths to naturalization if you do not qualify through the paths described in the links to the left. See also the USCIS Policy Manual Citizenship and Naturalization Guidance and our A Guide to Naturalization (PDF, 1.01 MB) guide. Chapter 4 of the guide discusses who is eligible for naturalization.
You may already be a U.S. citizen and not need to apply for naturalization if your biological or adoptive parent(s) became a U.S. citizen before you reached the age of 18. For more information, visit our Citizenship Through Parents page.
General Eligibility Requirements
To be eligible for naturalization pursuant to section 319(a) of the INA, an applicant must:
Be 18 or older
Be a permanent resident (green card holder) for at least 3 years immediately preceding the date of filing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization
Have been living in marital union with the U.S. citizen spouse, who has been a U.S. citizen during all of such period, during the 3 years immediately preceding the date of filing the application and up until examination on the application
Have lived within the state, or USCIS district with jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence, for at least 3 months prior to the date of filing the application
Have continuous residence in the United States as a lawful permanent resident for at least 3 years immediately preceding the date of filing the application
Reside continuously within the United States from the date of application for naturalization until the time of naturalization
Be physically present in the United States for at least 18 months out of the 3 years immediately preceding the date of filing the application
Be able to read, write, and speak English and have knowledge and an understanding of U.S. history and government (also known as civics)
Be a person of good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States during all relevant periods under the law.
When you complete a petition (I-130, I-140, etc.) for an immigrant visa, you send it to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the Department of Homeland Security for approval. If USCIS approves the petition and you wish to process for a visa outside the United States, USCIS will send you a Notice of Approval (I-797) and send the petition to the NVC. It often takes longer for the petition to arrive at the NVC than for you to receive your Notice of Approval. Please wait up to six weeks after receiving your Notice of Approval before contacting NVC. Once we receive your petition from USCIS, we will give it a unique NVC case number and send you a letter notifying you that we have your petition and what to do next.
Here are some tips to remember as an employer:
You may NOT require your employees or potential employees to use Self Check or myE-Verify under any circumstances.
Requiring applicants to provide proof of their employment authorization before establishing an employment relationship is known as “pre-screening” and it may constitute a violation of the antidiscrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
You may not require an employee, once hired, to use Self Check or myE-Verify. You may use the E-Verify program to verify the work eligibility of hired employees. You can find more information about E-Verify here: www.dhs.gov/E-Verify. There is also a link to the E-Verify site in the side navigation bar.
You always need to complete a Form I-9. If your new employee has used Self Check or myE-Verify, you still need to have the employee fill out Form I-9. A “work authorization confirmed” from Self Check does not replace the Form I-9 requirement. Neither does a new employee’s use of myE-Verify. Your new employees must still fill out Form I-9 Section 1and present unexpired work authorization documents. You must examine the documents presented and fill out Form I-9 Section 2.
You must create a case in E-Verify for all new employees if you participate in E-Verify. If your new employee has used Self Check or myE-Verify, you still must create a case in E-Verify for that employee. Neither Self Check nor myE-Verify provide users with a work authorization credential.
Self Check does not protect you from future claims that you hired an unauthorized worker. An employee’s use of Self Check does not create a legal presumption that you have not violated immigration law. This is true even if Self Check shows that an employee is authorized to work.
The Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER), enforces the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. § 1324b.
This federal law prohibits: 1) citizenship status discrimination in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee, 2) national origin discrimination in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee, 3) unfair documentary practices during the employment eligibility verification, Form I-9 and E-Verify, and 4) retaliation or intimidation.
If you are an employer with questions about the anti-discrimination provision of the INA, call us at 508-477-5009