If a person comes in F1 visa and over stayed in U.S. for 4 or 10 years. Is he eligible for immigration reform?
All the undocumented immigrants in the United States would become eligible for lawful status, if the US Congress passes the Senate immigration reform bill. Undocumented immigrants are the foreign nationals who crossed the borders illegally and the ones who had overstayed their non-immigrant visas. They have now become a part of the United States. All the undocumented immigrants in the United States and the immigrants who were deported from the country could come out of their shadows and apply for legal status, if the President signs the immigration reform bill of the “Gang of Eight” into law. However, this bill would not permit the immigrants who had entered the country after 31st December, 2011, to enter the legalization process. Such immigrants might be removed from the country. Likewise, only the undocumented immigrants who do not have criminal records, could apply for legal status.
People with criminal background and the ones who are ineligible for legal status, would be placed in removal proceedings. Apart from that, the immigrants who wish to become legal residents must pay taxes and fines. They also need to establish that they were present in the country on December 31, 2011. Such individuals could initially apply for temporary Registered Provisional Immigrant status and then for permanent resident status. However, they cannot immediately apply for Green Cards and to obtain Green Cards, they need to wait for ten long years. They could apply for US citizenship, if they maintain good moral character and live in the country for 10 years as Registered Provisional Immigrants and for three years as permanent residents.
This also applies to the students who have overstayed their visas. The DREAM Act students need not wait for ten long years to become permanent residents and they could become Green Card holders, five years after becoming Registered Provisional Immigrants. Immediately after becoming permanent residents, they could apply for US citizenship. These DREAMers need not pay fines and they could become US citizens sooner. But this may not apply to all the students as the DREAMers are the undocumented youth who were brought to or smuggled into America at a very young age.
All the other students are not DREAMers and a person who has overstayed his F-1 visa is not a DREAMer. Nevertheless, he can apply for lawful status in America, if he was present in the country on 31st December, 2011. He must establish that he is not a criminal. If he is eligible and if he is willing to pay fines, he would be permitted to apply for the Registered Provisional Immigrant status. After becoming a Registered Provisional Immigrant, he can live and work in the United States. Similarly, F-1 visa holders who were deported from the United States for overstaying their visas also could apply for this temporary status and re-enter the United States, but this would be possible only if they have family ties in America. Hence, foreign students who have overstayed their F-1 visas and who are currently out of status could apply for legal status, if the US Congress passes the immigration reform bill and if it is signed into law by President Obama.