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 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 of 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.