What Is Amnesty?

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What Is Amnesty?

Under U.S. immigration laws, amnesty is a type of status that is granted to certain immigrants and non-citizens. Amnesty is basically like a pardon or "forgiveness" ruling- rather than having a non-citizen subject to removal or deportation, amnesty allows the person to stay in the country for a designated period of time, or indefinitely. Amnesty is usually granted for persons seeking to escape political or religious turmoil in their home country.

When Is Amnesty Granted?

Amnesty is not granted automatically. In most cases, amnesty is granted well after the person has entered the country. It can even be granted in cases of illegal immigration, although this is only done under very specific circumstances.

Amnesty may be granted if:

Can Amnesty Privileges Be Lost?

Yes – a person can still be subject to deportation or removal even after they have been granted amnesty. For instance, if the person commits crimes after being granted amnesty, they could still be removed from the country if they were granted a temporary visa. As mentioned, repeat offenses for less serious offenses can have the same effect as a felony charge. This may be different for cases involving a person who has been granted permanent residency.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Assistance with Immigration Amnesty Provisions?

Amnesty requirements are enforced quite strictly by U.S. immigration boards. You may need to hire a lawyer if you or a loved one of yours needs assistance with an amnesty application. Your attorney can provide the legal guidance and advice that is necessary in such situations. Also, your lawyer will be able to represent you in the event that you need to attend an immigration hearing, court meeting, or an interview.

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Last Modified: 02-06-2014 12:48 PM PST

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