If you a Cuban native or citizen, inspected and admitted to the United States, who has been in the United States for at least one year, you may be eligible for a green card through the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966. To be eligible you must meet all of the requirements below:
- You are a Cuban citizen;
- You were inspected and admitted or paroled into the United States after January 1, 1959;
- You have been physically present in the United States for at least one year at the time you file your Form I-485;
- You are physically present in the United States at the time you file your Form I-485;
- You are admissible to the United States for lawful permanent residence. If you are inadmissible, then you must be eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility or other form of relief; and
- The officer sees it fit to grant favorable discretion.
Evidence of Cuban Citizenship
You must submit evidence of your Cuban citizenship by producing the following documents:
- A valid Cuban passport; or
- A Cuban Civil Registry document issued in Havana.
You may qualify for the green card as a Cuban native or naturalized citizen as well. You may be able to meet the Cuban citizen or native requirement by showing other documents proving:
- You were born in Cuba (including the U.S. Navy Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba), even if you are not a citizen of Cuba; or
- You became a naturalized citizen of Cuba or a citizen by means other than being born there, and you are still a citizen of Cuba.
Explaining the “Inspected and Admitted or Paroled After January 1, 1959” Requirement
You must have been inspected and admitted at a port of entry to be eligible for the green card after January 1, 1959. If you came without being inspected (for example at the airport or border) then you cannot adjust status under the Cuban Adjustment Act. If you in fact entered without inspection, you can try applying to the Department of Homeland Security for humanitarian parole pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) section 212(d)(5)(A). If DHS paroles you, and you have already been physically present in the United States for at least one year at the time DHS paroles you, then you may apply for adjustment of status immediately after being paroled. The upside is after being paroled, you don’t have to wait another year to apply for adjustment of status. As long as you have been physically present in the U.S. for one year, even before parole, you can apply for the AOS.
Adjustment of Status Process
If you are located in the United States, you may be able to submit an I-485 adjustment of status application. Generally, this involves submitting the adjustment of status application with evidence, attending a biometrics appointment and then the final interview some months or years later.
Before applying for the green card through the adjustment of status process you should make sure that this is the right process for you. For instance, you should make sure there are no bars to an adjustment of status and no admissibility issues. For instance, having a J1 and J2 status is a bar to adjustment of status, unless you are granted a waiver.
You should also consider applying for employment authorization and advanced parole. Advanced parole will allow you to travel outside of the United States during the adjustment of status application process. Each of the pieces of this process can get complicated. If you miss something or make mistakes, it could mean a delayed process or even a denial. It is important to tread carefully and be meticulous through this process.
When considering whether to go through with this type of green card application, it is important to take other circumstances and factors into consideration. Failing to do this may cause complications in the application process. For instance, any facts that involve previous denials, past immigration and criminal violations, previous marriages that involved filings, entry with other types of visas, tax issues, visa overstays, and previous employment in the United States can be just as important as the basic eligibility criteria. A single criminal violation, whether a misdemeanor or more serious, or immigration violation can lead you to be inadmissible to the United States, which may require additional steps to get a green card, such as a waiver.
Family Members of the Cuban Citizen or Native
Your non-cuban relatives may qualify for a green card under the CAA but they must be your spouse or unmarried child under 21 years old. They must also meet the following criteria:
- File the adjustment of status application at the same time as yours, while your application is pending or after it is approved;
- The relative was inspected and admitted or inspected and paroled into the United States after January 1, 1959;
- The relative has been physically present in the United States for at least one year at the time you file your Form I-485;
- The relative resides with you (as the Cuban citizen or native);
- The relative is admissible to the United States for or eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility or other form of relief; and
- The officer sees it fit to grant favorable discretion.
It is important to consult an experienced immigration attorney to assist you with your case. An attorney will help to guide you through preparing the petition, assist with gathering evidence, and advocate vigorously for you during the process. Here at ST Law Office, I have dedicated my practice solely to immigration matters. I vigorously advocate no matter how simple or complicated the matter. Don’t hesitate to call us at 561-405-4889 or to schedule your initial phone, online or in-person consultation now.