Immigrants can win the right to stay in the United States by applying for a Green Card, reports U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. There are several ways for individuals to qualify for a Green Card, including being immediate family or married to a U.S. citizen, immigrating for a job, or seeking asylum from dangerous conditions in their home countries.
Each immigration case is unique, and some immigrants may not be able to seek permanent residency, notes USCIS. People who have committed certain crimes or who are a security risk cannot remain in the country. Permanent residents who commit certain crimes can also lose their status. People who have held Green Cards for at least five years can apply for citizenship. If they become naturalized citizens, they can never be subject to deportation unless they obtained citizenship on false grounds, reports Nolo.
Most immigrants who become permanent residents have family members or employers as sponsors, notes USCIS. Any immediate family member of a permanent resident or citizen is eligible, including spouses, siblings and parents. There are also special programs for immigrants without family or career ties to the United States, including the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program.
Active-duty military service during a time of conflict can also qualify immigrants for citizenship, notes AllLaw. Immigrants who face deportation may also be able to stay by proving certain conditions, such as having been in the country for at least 10 years and that the deportation would cause serious problems for a lawful resident.