Paths to US Citizenship Under the Immigration Reform Bill

The Senate bill includes paths to US citizenship for the undocumented immigrants and for the DREAMers. The US citizenship process under this bill, is a three step process and undocumented immigrants who wish to become legal residents must first apply for Registered Provisional Immigrant status, a new status that the bill would create, then for permanent resident status and finally for US citizenship.

Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) Status

To qualify for this status, an undocumented immigrant must have illegally crossed the border or must have overstayed his non-immigrant visa. Moreover, he must have maintained clean criminal records and must have been present in the country on 31st December, 2011. People who are willing to undergo background checks and people who do not have a criminal background alone would be permitted to apply for this status. Undocumented immigrants must pay all their back taxes and fines. Eligible undocumented immigrants would be granted RPI status and this status would be valid for a six year period. They can apply for renewal by the end of the six year period. The spouses and children of the individuals in RPI status would also be benefited and they would be permitted to stay in America. This status would enable the undocumented immigrants to work legally in the United States and to travel abroad.

Permanent Resident Status

After living in the United States as Registered Provisional Immigrants, they can apply for adjustment of status and obtain Green Cards, after ten years. They would be required to pay the form filing fees and the fines. Immigrants would be permitted to adjust status to permanent resident status after the Department of Homeland Security, strengthens the borders of the country and until then they would be permitted to remain in America as temporary residents.

US Citizenship

The final step is US citizenship and after becoming permanent residents, they can apply for US citizenship but they need to wait for three more years to obtain US citizenship. The DREAMers could apply for US citizenship within five years. To qualify, the DREAMers must have entered into America before their 16th birthday and must hold high school degrees or must be veterans. These DREAMers could apply for RPI status and for Green Cards after living in the country as Registered Provisional Immigrants for five years. Soon after they get their Green Cards they could file applications to become citizens of the country.