How to be legal in the United States? - Documents and requirements

Are you concerned about your immigration status? Do not worry. In this article, you will learn about the ways to be legal in the United States, the types of documents and requirements for each one.

Ways to be legal in the United States

American visa

You will need to complete the necessary documentation and complete the I-129 form. Then, you must send it to USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) along with forms I-94 and G-1145 in the case of form I-20 in the case of international student applicants or economic dependents who wish to remain in the United States for more time.

Once the proper documentation is submitted, you will receive notification of your request within 90 business days. In the event that your application is denied, you will also receive a notification by mail with instructions to correct the denial of your visa.

Types of visas for Latino immigrants

If you are a foreigner and want to obtain or maintain your legal status in the United States for a longer time, you can opt for Form I-485 (Schedule D). This form will allow you to stay in American territory together with the family if necessary.

Requirements for forms I-129 and I-485:

– Have continuously resided in the United States for the last three years.

– Have a valid passport from your country of origin and form I-94 to demonstrate having entered the country legally.

– Having been outside the American territory for less than six consecutive months, except when it has been without permission or it was for justified reasons (for example, traveling with the family).

The legal process for forms I-129 and I-485 is similar. You must submit forms I-129 and I-485 to USCIS along with forms G-1145 and I-94, in addition to the biographical form.

Additionally, you can apply for a green card (Form I-765) so that your immigration status is permanently legal.

Green card

Having a green card or green card is one of the best ways to be legal in the United States. It is a document that allows a foreigner to remain legally in American territory while working as an employee in a legal manner and receiving benefits from the government.

The forms to obtain the green card are the following: form I-485 (Annex E), form I-140, form G-1145 and I-94. The necessary documents are the valid passport of your country of origin, official employment formalization or letter issued by the employer, form I-485 (Annex G) and biographical form.

Having a green card can bring you many benefits. You will be able to stay in the United States legally and permanently, work without the need to obtain a special permit, and travel freely outside the country for more than six consecutive months.


Being a US citizen has many benefits, such as being able to vote in elections. To obtain citizenship, you need to demonstrate good conduct and legally reside in the United States for at least one year with a visa or Green card.

Here are ways to obtain American citizenship:

– Once you have your Green card and reside legally in the United States for at least ten years and do all the necessary paperwork to demonstrate good conduct. In this case, your birth certificate will not be considered a valid document; however, you can use forms I-90 or N-400 along with a biographical form.

– If you are a legal permanent resident (green card holder) and have a child under 21 years of age who is a US citizen, you can apply for citizenship by naturalization. For this process, you will need forms N-600K and biographical form.

– If you are part of the American Army, you can apply for citizenship by naturalization. For this process, you will need forms N-426 and biographical form along with the birth certificate to show that you have served at least one year in the US or form DD 214 if you have already completed your military service.

State programs

If you want to reside legally in the United States but have no luck obtaining a Green card, you can fill out the I-130 form and wait years, or you can choose to live in the United States as a legal tourist, but in the meantime, you will need to obtain a status migratory.

To do this, you must determine what type of visa could be used to stay in the American territory: B (visitor); F (international student); H (employee) or L (dependent). Determining the correct type, you can go to the consular office of the country in which you reside and request form DS-160.

If you are in the United States on a tourist visa, you cannot legally work or study at a university or college; However, if you need to carry out any of these activities, you must file Form I-765 (application for employment authorization) before the deadline indicated on your Form I-94 (generally 60 days after entering the United States. ).

Do you need to hire an immigration attorney?

If you need an adjustment of status or the advice of an expert immigration attorney, contact our law firm through the following form:

You can also communicate through (909) 319-7103 / 1 (800) 559-7170, visit us at 228 West C Street Ontario CA 91762 or send us an email explaining your case to

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