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10 Potential Immigration Options for the Undocumented

There are currently some immigration options that may apply to an undocumented immigrant, depending on the individual situation.  Always check with a qualified immigration attorney to ensure you qualify for one of these benefits before you submit an application.

1. Petition by a qualified family member.

Your qualified family member must be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) spouse, child over 21, or parent. Considerations include how long have you been in the U.S. without immigration status (called unlawful presence), as well as whether you have any criminal history.

2.Battered spouse, child or parent of a U.S. citizen, or spouse or child of an LPR.

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) applies to men as well as women.  If you are a spouse, you must prove the bona fide nature of your marriage, as well as document the abuse.

3. U Visa for crime victims.

You must be a victim of a qualifying crime (domestic violence is included), and there must be a certification from a law enforcement agency.

4.T Visa for human trafficking victims.

A form of modern-day slavery in which traffickers lure individuals with false promises of employment and a better life.

5.Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) (also known as "dreamers")

You must have arrived in the U.S. before age 16, be in school or have a high school degree or its equivalent, be able to show physical presence in the U.S., especially on June 15, 2012, among other requirements.

6.Deferred Action

This is discretionary relief for individuals who do not qualify for other immigration benefits.  An example of someone who may qualify would be in a situation where there is a serious medical condition in the family.

7.Parole in Place

This benefit allows for parents, children and spouses of current or former U.S. military members who arein the U.S. to stay in the U.S. and apply for a green card without leaving the United States, despite their past illegal entry and stay.

8.Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

This benefit is usually granted for armed conflicts or environmental disasters.  You can find a country list at

9.Special Immigrant Juveniles (SIJ status)

This benefit is for foreign children in the United States who have been abused, abandoned,or neglected and are unable to be reunited with a parent.  You must have a state court order that you are a dependent of the state.

10.  Asylum

You must show past persecution or a fear future persecution in your home country based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.