Illinois residents who are interested in helping foreign-born family members get legal status in the United States may be interested in learning about some of the options that are available. In most cases, the individual applying has to be in the country legally. However, some exceptions exist, especially when undue hardship is placed on the individual or family members.

If an individual is in the country illegally and would otherwise be eligible to apply for legal status in the United States, the government may allow the individual to leave the United States and then reenter after some time has passed. Individuals who spent more than 180 days in the U.S. illegally may be able to apply for reentry after three years have passed. If a person spent more than 365 days in the country illegally, they will not be able to reenter for 10 years.

The Violence Against Women Act may be of help to the battered spouse of a green card holder or U.S. citizen who is in the country illegally. This may also apply to their children or parents. In most cases, they have to help law enforcement bring charges against the individual in order to file for legal status.

A variety of options exist for individuals who are not in the United States or who entered the country legally. A U.S. citizen could petition on behalf of their spouse, child or parent. A green card holder may be able to do the same. A temporary fiancé visa does exist that could help undocumented fiancés of U.S. citizens.

Individuals who are interested in bringing an internationally adopted child into the United States have options for helping the child get legal status as a permanent resident. A lawyer may provide more information about family immigration. The lawyer may help individuals file the appropriate paperwork and even represent a client in court.