How to Legalize Your Status in the US

If you are now an overstaying alien in the US - popularly known as TNT - how can you apply for a green card?

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How to Legalize Your Status in the US
Written by Crispin Aranda.
Posted on January 31, 2013

How to Legalize Status in the US

The future is in your hands.

A Filipino nonimmigrant visa holder, usually the B-1/B-2 category (B-1 for temporary visit for business, B-2, temporary visit for pleasure) may apply for change or adjustment of status in the US.

Change of status refers to changing category from let's say B-2 to H-1B (temporary working visa) or F-2 (student visa). Adjustment of status normally is a change from a nonimmigrant category to that of a permanent resident or immigrant category, such as from B-2 to IR1-spouse of a US citizen, IR2- minor child of a US citizen of IR5- parent of a US citizen.

B-2 visa holders may apply for change of status as long as they are still in status. Otherwise, if one is out of status, there is no more legal basis to change from one category to another. The request to change status must be submitted on Form I-539 and must be received and acknowledged by the appropriate US Citizenship and Immigration Service office before the date of the authorized stay (indicated in the I-94 Arrival and Departure document) expires.

One who has entered the legal limbo or out of status, may still apply for adjustment of status or legalize his or her stay under certain conditions, also known as relief from being removed or deported from the US:

1) As the spouse, minor child or parent of a US citizen.
2) Amnesty (the last general amnesty was issued ion 1986.
3) Asylum (political asylum application must be submitted within a year of being admitted).
4) When one's priority date becomes current, for example, a TNT with an approved petition as the married son or daughter of a US citizen (F3) an application for adjustment of status may be submitted. Normally, the person needs an immigration lawyer to pursue this option because it would involve disclosing one's undocumented status before a USCIS officer, thereby initiating deportation or removal proceedings.
5. 10 Years of more stay in the US, particularly if the overstayer has a qualified US citizen or permanent resident relative and hardship could be established if the TNT is removed
6. Private bill- Any member of the US Congress can introduce private legislation for someone who would be considered worthy of such action: normally for persons with outstanding community ties, achievement or contribution to the US past present or foreseen.

If you need representation in the United States and would like to have a confidential one-on-one consultation or assessment of your situation, you may email us at

Got a question? Let us know - we're here to help.

About the Author

Crispin Aranda

Crispin Aranda

Crispin R. Aranda is an established International Visa Conselor and Immigrant Advocate. He is the president of IVC and is in several migration radio programs.

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