Houston, TX asked in Immigration Law for Texas

Q: How many years do you have to be in the U.S to be a resident?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Jennifer Doerrie
Jennifer Doerrie
  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Fresno, CA
  • Licensed in Texas

A: Hello,

There is a lot of misleading and outright false information circulating about immigration based on length of time in the United States. Although it is possible to immigrate based on residency time if there are no other inadmissibilty bars or eligibilty concerns, a person doing so must demonstrate that he/she has been residing continuously in the U.S. since January 1, 1972 or prior! That process is called registry. You may have heard about "10 years", but that is only one of three significant requirements for an Immigration Court process called cancellation of removal. There is no way to file for cancellation of removal affirmatively with the Immigration Service. It is only a defense to removal (deportation) proceedings in U.S. Immigration Court. Additionally, some people actually enter the U.S. as permanent residents or get their residency (green card) very soon after arriivng in this country. Thus, it is not the length of time that determines residency, but a long list of other factors and requirements.

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