How To Become A Legal US Resident In 10 Years

Immigrant Coffee Workers

In this interview, Yakov Spektor shares some insights and explains the possibility of becoming a legal resident in the United States in just ten years. He shares the different ways to go about this process and what you need to do to make it happen.

Please watch the video and read the transcript to learn more!

Michael Levites 00:04

We’ll try and come up with answers using your authority on this question. Can an illegal immigrant become legal after ten years?

Yakov Spektor 00:15

That’s a really good question. And, you know, I’m sure a lot of people might want to know the answer to that question. And also, there is something that everyone should know.

Yakov Spektor 00:26

As you know, in order to get the right answers, you have to know the right questions to ask. And this question – can an illegal immigrant become legal after ten years – it kind of has a short answer – No.

Michael Levites 00:42

Okay. Can you elaborate, please.

Yakov Spektor 00:46

So, you definitely might require an explanation – because a lot of people keep asking it, right? And let me put it this way.

Yakov Spektor 00:59

There are a lot of other people who prey upon immigrants – their lack of knowledge, how things work in this country, their lack of familiarity with immigration law, right?

Yakov Spektor 01:12

I mean, not many people are that familiar with immigration law. And, we already – I think we did a number of segments on basically on shysters who take advantage of —

Michael Levites 01:23

We have a whole video – one or two. You have to really be aware of immigration fraud and beware of paralegals posing as experts on immigration law. You have to go to an attorney. And that’s why we invited you to educate the public, whether you could after such a long passage of time become legal or that’s just a myth.

Yakov Spektor 01:45

Exactly. And you know what they say – they say that you cannot get fooled unless you want to get fooled. There’s nothing that’s more attractive to people who don’t have papers here – who are illegal here – than the possibility of getting them becoming legal, being able to feed their families.

Yakov Spektor 02:04

Then all of a sudden, somebody tells them – “Oh, you know, what? I heard somewhere that you might be able to get your green card after 10 years of living here.”

Yakov Spektor 02:16

Now – is it true? Is it not true? The smart ones will get a consultation with someone like me, will listen to one of your videos. But the ones who are not doing what we call their due diligence, do their research – they might just call the next shyster who’s willing to take their money, right?

Yakov Spektor 02:38

So the short answer – everyone should know this. Guys, you are not automatically eligible to get a green card just by the virtue of you living here for ten years.

Yakov Spektor 02:50

Now, and I’ll tell you where this keeps popping up. There is something that might be available to some people.

Michael Levites 03:05

There are some bases for this. There is no fire without smoke, or there’s no smoke without fire.

Yakov Spektor 03:14

Exactly. Right. That’s actually – that’s exactly what I was thinking. The same metaphor. But like, basically, the ten-year rule and where it comes from is basically from something like this —

Yakov Spektor 03:28

So imagine that you’ve been living here for a while. No status. Illegal. And then somehow, one way or another, you end up in immigration court – for your deportation proceedings.

Yakov Spektor 03:44

We’ve covered a bunch of issues that have to do with deportation proceedings. I mean, we don’t have time to go at it right now. But one thing that you guys should know, if you do end up in immigration court – you cannot ignore this – this is one of those times when you would need proper representation.

Yakov Spektor 04:05

But if you are already in immigration court, and you’ve been living in the United States for ten years or more – with no status, no criminal record. Once again, there are always exceptions to what I’m saying.

Yakov Spektor 04:21

But in most cases, that would mean no criminal record, have US citizen relatives, and you would be able to convince the judge that you being deported – being separated from your US citizen relatives – is going to result in extreme hardship to them. Really extreme – above and beyond regular separation from family members. Which, if you ask me is an extreme hardship, but not according to immigration law.

Yakov Spektor 04:55

So if you could prove to the judges’ satisfaction that it will cause extreme hardship if you’re separated from relatives, or if your relatives have to follow you to whichever home country you’re from – and you could show to the judge that you’ve been living here for ten years or more, the judge might – your particular judge – might give you a green card. And that’s where that 10-year rule comes from. So only for very specific set of immigrants.

Yakov Spektor 05:33

Now, one thing that I kind of want to let all of our viewers know. Because I know what’s going to be your next question – because there are a million consultations that I give regarding this issue —

Yakov Spektor 05:52

So your next question, probably once you think about it, is – “Okay, how do I get myself in front of the immigration judge? I’ve been living here for ten years or more.”

Michael Levites 06:00

That’s a good question. Great question.

Yakov Spektor 06:02

Yeah, it is a good question. And let me put it this way. I think we did a segment about a law professor who was disbarred – we’re doing precisely that. Oh, and some other things. But –

Michael Levites 06:14

Yeah, he was actually arrested for immigration fraud because he was promising everybody this green card after ten years but turns out it’s not so simple. It’s not so automatic.

Yakov Spektor 06:24

And you probably don’t want to take that chance. Put yourself in front of the immigration judge for what’s going to be your deportation proceedings just on an off chance that the judge might show mercy on you and let you remain here and get you your green card.

Yakov Spektor 06:45

As they said, what most of us think of as an extreme hardship is not, unfortunately. The immigration law is cruel. So don’t play with it. Or, at the very least, get an independent assessment.

Michael Levites 07:08

Yeah. On that note, I want to summarize what you said because you made some very important key points here. That it is by no means automatic for you to get status after ten years.

Michael Levites 07:21

So if somebody promises you that it sounds too good to be true, run away and call a qualified immigration attorney, not a paralegal.

Michael Levites 07:31

And one attorney, of course, is Yakov Spektor—the phone numbers at the bottom of the screen for consultation.

If you have any questions about Immigration Laws, call us at 646-859-0205 to schedule a consultation. You can also email us at: or write to us via our Contact Page.

We will schedule you for a consultation over the phone or via video, and your consultation WILL be with one of our lawyers, guaranteed!

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DISCLAIMER: This information is for reference only and might vary depending on your situation. Please always consult your lawyer for legal matters.