Options for Undocumented

Family Sponsorship

Family sponsorship remains one of the main routes to overcoming visa issues. Spouses of U.S. citizens may have many options, as immigration policy currently strongly supports family unification.

Visit Streff Legal's page for sponsorship of spouses and fiances here: www.strefflegal.com/marriage

U.S. citizen children are able to sponsor their parents once the children turn 21 years of age, but if parents are undocumented, sponsorhsip may require a waiver.


Family sponsorship can overcome a person's lack of documents here in the U.S., but that can depend on many circumstance of a case. Many times, a "waiver of inadmissibility" will be required to overcome other immigration issues. Waivers typically require a showing that a U.S. citizen spouse or child will suffer "hardship" if their loved one must leave the U.S.

There are different standards for "hardship" waivers, but typically, obtaining a waiver requires more than the "normal" level of hardship caused by a family separated. To obtain hardship waivers, families must show that they have special circumstances because of unusual financial, medical, humanitarian, or other circumstances. Attorney assistance if usually very important to determine the success of a waiver application.


Persons seeking refuge or asylum from persecution or severe harm in their home country may be eligible for Asylum in the United States. Entrants at U.S. ports of entry may express fear of returning to their home country. By international treaty and U.S. law, those expressing such fear must be given the opportunity to pursue Asylum within the United States.

However, U.S. immigration authorities have legal authority to detain Asylum seekers in certain circumstances. Asylum seekers may be released on bond, but that will often require that the Asylum seeker demonstrate that they have a place to stay and the support of family or another such dedicated network.

Asylum seekers must submit the full asylum application within the FIRST YEAR of entry to the United States. This is really important: delays in pursuing an asylum cases can prevent an asylum claim altogether.

Crime Victims: U Visas

The U visa is an important option to consider for those without documentation. The U.S. government established the U visa program to ensure that victims of crime, no matter their status, will be able to come forward and pursue justice. Undocumented persons who have been the victim of crimes, typically violent crimes, can obtain immigration status if those victims have assisted law enforcement.