The law that allows undocumented immigrants to apply for permanent residency in the US


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Having a permanent residence card, known as a Green Card, gives a person the opportunity to live in the United States legally for a specific period of time, usually 10 years.

Generally speaking, undocumented immigrants cannot apply for this document due to their unregulated immigration status. However, there is a law that allows certain undocumented foreigners to apply for a green card.

The law that allows undocumented immigrants to apply for permanent residency in the US

The law “Renewal of the Immigration Provisions of the Immigration Act of 1929”, also known as the Registration Act, stipulates that those foreigners who are living illegally in the United States since January 1, 1972 or before, qualify to apply for legal permanent residence (LPR).

In addition to proving that you have been in the country since at least January 1, 1972 or before, undocumented immigrants must meet other requirements to qualify for a green card under the Registration Act. Among these are:

  • Continuous tenure since January 1, 1972 or before
  • Have good moral character
  • Not be inadmissible to the United States, that is, have not committed crimes
  • Submit an I-485 adjustment of status form and the fee determined by the immigration service.

You may be interested in: Bills against immigrants in Texas: This is what you should know

Proposals to reform the Registration Law to admit more immigrants

In March of this year, a group of Democrats in the House of Representatives reintroduced the “Renewal of the Immigration Provisions of the Immigration Act of 1929” bill.

This reform seeks to update the registration law to expand eligibility and provide lawful permanent resident status to certain long-term residents of the United States, including individuals who are unlawfully present.

The proposal would eliminate the entry deadline (January 1, 1972) while at the same time opening the program to eligible individuals who have resided in the United States for at least seven years.

According to the tracker that indicates the progress of this legislation, the proposal has only been introduced, but it has not been approved by the House of Representatives or the Senate, so its enactment seems complicated.



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