MILITARY IMMIGRATION: KEEPING FAMILIES TOGETHER

Many people are shocked to learn that military service members and their families have immigration issues just like any other person. The immigration system is complex and impacts military service members and their families just like everyone else. However, there are special laws, regulations and policies that provide favorable treatment for military service members, veterans and their families. In addition to expedited citizenship, we now have “parole in place.” 

WHAT IS PAROLE IN PLACE?

 

On November 2013, United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) outlined in a policy memo, how parole in place may help immediate family members of U.S. service members gain permanent residency (“green cards”). This initiative is designed to assist military members whose immediate family members are present in the U.S. without having first been properly admitted by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. This policy provides a way for these close family members to obtain a green card and eases the stress of the military family during the process.

Generally, immigrants who are in the United States must have been properly admitted by Customs and Border Patrol in order to be able to apply for a green card. If not properly admitted, an immigrant must first apply for a waiver and obtain their green card outside the United States. By exiting the United States after living in the country without authorization, immigrants are subject to a possible three or ten year penalty bar before they may return to the United States. Immigration law provides waivers in limited circumstances to forgive this three or ten year bar penalty. Parole in place serves to replace a valid admission to the United States allowing the immigrant to apply for a green card without exiting the country. The immigrant is thereby able to avoid triggering the three or ten year bar because no exit of the United States is necessary under this policy.

 

 

WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR PAROLE IN PLACE?

The following requirements must be met for a family member of a U.S. service member to qualify for parole in place.

  • The immigrant must be an “immediate relative” of a U.S. citizen (spouse, parent, or unmarried child under the age of 21);
  • The U.S. citizen must be a member of the military (active duty, current member of reserves, veteran);
  • The immigrant must be physically present in the United States;
  • The immigrant must have entered the United States without inspection or admission;
  • The immigration must have no serious criminal or other adverse factors present in his or her history.

The USCIS policy outlined in November states that absent a criminal or other serious adverse factor, parole in place would generally be granted to military family members. If USCIS grants an immigrant parole in place, the immigrant may apply for a visa and green card while remaining in the United States. The U.S. service member and the immigrant may then have an interview with USCIS before a green card is issued.

If you are a service member or immediate relative of a service member who is interested in parole in place, it is important that you review your case with an experienced immigration attorney before you begin. The attorney can help you determine eligibility and whether any other immigration issues are present.

 

 

NEED MORE INFORMATION?

Contact us today to schedule a consultation with attorney Castillo in person, over the telephone, or via webcam on Skype or Google Hangouts.

 

 

SERVING SOLDIERS, VETERANS AND THEIR FAMILIES

Are you eligible for Adjustment of Status?

Adjustment of status is a request made to the immigration service to obtain a green card in the United States instead of having it processed at a US embassy abroad.  Before you can adjust your status, you must be eligible for a green card.

Who would be eligible for a green card?

There are different categories: employment-based, or person with extraordinary ability who sponsored themselves, or family-based on the quota system. You would be on a waiting list and when your date is reached, then you will become eligible for your green card. Other people are non-quota immigrants. These are people are eligible for their green card immediately and will not be placed on a waiting list.  The non-quota immigrants are people who are married to US citizens, children (under 21)  of US Citizens and parents of US citizens (if child is over 21).  Other people may be eligible. If you have applied for and have been granted asylum, after one year, you would be eligible for adjustment of status. Investing money (eg. $1 million) into a business will make you eligible to adjust your status.

When is Adjustment of Status Proper?

You may be eligible to apply for adjust your status under one of three senarios:

  1. Legal Status:  You will be immediately eligible for his is where you were inspected  and admitted into the United States with a visa or through advance parol. You will eligible for a green card if your date on the visa waiting list was reached on the quota system or if you were granted asylum and applied after a year.
  2. Grandfathered under 245i: if you have an application filed on your behalf prior to April 30, 2001 and you were physically present in the United State on December 21, 2000 or if you had any filed for you before January 14, 1998, you are eligible to adjust your status on any of the quota category (ie. Family-based or employment-based). There is a $1,000 penalty fee. Many people do not realize that they are grandfathered in. The person may have been a derivative beneficiary of a parent’s application back in 2000. For example, parent was sponsored for a work visa that went in back in back in 2000, you were physically present in the US in 1998, but when you turned 21 and your parent was approve for a green card.
  3. Immediate Relatives:  If you are related to a US citizen by marriage, a child or a parent, as long as you made a legal entry into the US (even if you over-stayed) you can adjust your status.

It is very important to know whether you are eligible to file an adjustment of status prior to filing the application because if you are ineligible or become ineligible, your application will be denied and you will be put into deportation.

For more detail on how to file for a family member, please contact our office: http://www.drclawfirm.com