There is NO Amnesty Program! How to Document Your Stay in the US

It is possible that  the United States Congress will approve a program to normalize the immigration status (‘legalization” or a “path to legalization”) of persons who are living and/or working in the US without immigration papers.


Nevertheless, we recommend that anyone who lives or works in the United States without immigration papers begin or continue to document their stay in this country so that in the event there is a legalization program, they are prepared to demonstrate the length of their stay. It is very likely that any legalization program will require applicants to prove they have been residing in the US for a certain period of time.

Additionally, it is likely that other requirements of the a legalization program  will include demonstrating that one has worked and paid taxes in the US. For this reason, we recommend that you keep proof of income from employment and pay income taxes. In order to pay taxes, you can request an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by filing Form W-9.  this form is available at the IRS website,

Remember: THERE IS STILL NO LEGALIZATION PROGRAM, but it is worth the effort to be prepared by collecting the necessary documents now.

We recommend that you start a file with some of the following documents that will help to demonstrate the length of your stay in  the US. The person intending to apply for a possible future legalization program should have at least one dated document with their name on it for every three-month period they reside in the United States. If possible, each family member should have a separate file.

Examples of documents:

Rent receipts for an apartment
A copy of a rental agreement for an apartment
A receipt for a rental deposit
A real estate title
Mortgage payment receipts
Telephone bills
Utility (gas, water, electricity) bills
Income tax returns with W2 forms
Paycheck stub or other proof of payment
Dated letters from your employed (for example, regarding medical insurance)
Report cards from schools
Awards and certificates from educational institutions
High school diplomas
Medical records
Receipts from remittances

Adapted from information Prepared the by Immigrant Legal Resource Center

PLEASE NOTE: Immigration law and regulations change frequently. In order to protect yourself you should make sure that you understand the laws and how they apply to you. If you have questions about your status, you should consult an expert. If you would like to be notified about recent changes to this website, or if you would like to receive Immigration Tips by email, please provide us with your email address. If you would like help from Ms. Chappell-Daly, please contact her.