Who Are Daca Recipients?
The DACA recipients are young people who have grown up as Americans and identify themselves as Americans. Also, many of them speak only English and have no memory of or any connection with their country of origin.
Under current immigration law, there are no options for most of these young people to gain U.S. residency even though they have lived here most of their lives.
Many recipients of DACA (also called “DREAMers“) say they didn’t know they were unauthorized immigrants (without regulated immigration status) until they were teenagers and found out they didn’t have Social Security numbers they needed to fill out the documentation for college.
What is INA 245(a)?
As a DACA recipient, you have probably heard about INA 245(a), legislation that enables you to go from DACA status to applying for a green card.
Generally, if you have lived in the U.S. unlawfully without a valid visa, you must spend a prescribed period outside of the U.S. or in the country of origin before you can re-enter lawfully and apply for immigrant visas.
But, under the INA 245(a), Immigration and Nationality Act, having lawful entry into the U.S. as a DACA can waive the period you would initially be barred from entering.
DACA Program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)
The DREAM Act is supposed to provide the opportunity for undocumented young people who go to college and/or serve in the military while maintaining a good record to get legal status.
DACA program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) enables certain people who entered the U.S. as children and met specific requirements to request consideration for deferred action and remain in the country for two years, subject to renewal. It protected them from gaining “unlawful presence.” If you received DACA application approval before turning 18, you may not have enough days of unlawful presence to trigger either bar, but you may have accumulated at least one year of unlawful presence in the U.S.
If you spent more than 180 days without a travel permit or Advance Parole between turning 18 and applying for DACA, you would need to leave the United States to apply for a green card at a U.S. embassy or consulate. Also, you will be subject to a ban from re-entering the United States for up to 10 years.
Even though you can get these documents through the DACA program, it still has its challenges such as financial services so obtaining green cards would make their life much easier and more comfortable.
If you have entered the U.S. unlawfully more than once, the bar will apply to you permanently for entering the United States. Unfortunately, in this case, you can not apply for a waiver to undo this permanent bar.
Can DACA recipients get a green card through marriage with a U.S. citizen?
If you have DACA status and want to marry a U.S. citizen, you may be wondering whether you may be eligible.
The answer is yes, but there are still specific requirements to meet.
If you were married to a U.S. citizen and had unlawful entry to the U.S., you must also obtain a “Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver ” (Form I-601A) to leave and re-enter the United States without this years-long delay. I, you will have to prove to the U.S. government that your spouse would suffer from extreme hardship.
But, if you are married to who has a permanent resident status (a green card holder), you won’t be able to apply for a green card from inside the United States — even if your parents and you had valid visas when you first entered the United States, and even if you have a travel permit (Advance Parole).
Who is Eligible for a Green Card?
Your marriage must be legal and made in good faith. The USCIS officials will scrutinize your evidence to check whether your marriage is real or only entered for immigration purposes.
Adjustment of Status
You must be able to adjust your status while staying within the U.S: this process is available only to foreign nationals who have lawfully entered the U.S.; you can use the consular processing system in your home country and apply at the U.S. embassy or consulate, but you should not leave the U.S. because you may not be able to return.
To adjust your status, you cannot be inadmissible to the U.S. on the common grounds of inadmissibility, including criminal convictions or unlawful presence in the U.S.
How long does it take in 2021?
Every year, thousands of couples get married to foreigners who start their journey toward U.S. citizenship. For some of them, it’s the beginning of a new life in the United States, but for others, such as recipients of DACA, it is a continuation of their path to get a marriage-based green card.
The entire process end-to-end can vary widely due to people’s different situations. However, it should take between 8-12 months once USCIS has everything it needs.
The good news is there is no limit on the number of available visas for immigrants who are married U.S. citizens. Therefore, it is immediately available for you.
The green card will grant you the right to live and work in the United States on a more permanent basis.
So, learn how you can transition from a DACA application to a green card after marriage to a U.S. citizen.
The transition from DACA to Green Card
If you fell in love with a U.S. Citizen and you decide to get married, you can use the option and file your application.
As a U.S. spouse, you are an immediate relative, making you eligible to apply for immigration. There are two ways to apply for a green card through marriage.
Steps to go from Daca to a marriage-based green card through consular processing
Being married to a U.S. citizen automatically makes you eligible. You just need a valid proof of your marriage.
Get an I-130 petition approved
File an I-130 petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services USCIS. Once it is approved, you will receive an I-797 Notice of Action in the mail.
Get your visa number from the NVC.
The National Visa Center will notify you when there is a visa number for your I-797. There is no limit to the number of visas for petitions based on immediate relatives (a U.S. citizen spouse).
Apply for an immigrant visa
The NVC will notify you when to submit your immigrant visa application, supporting documentation, and processing fees paid to the government agency.
Now it’s time to file a Form DS-260. Also, your spouse may be required to submit a form I-864 (Affidavit of Support). With this affidavit, foreign national promises to support you if you cannot do so yourself.
Attend consular processing
Upon receiving your application package, the consular office will schedule a meeting with you (the beneficiary).
At this meeting, you can expect they will decide the outcome of your application.
Enter the United States
When you receive your Visa Packet, you may use it to cross the border. Since this is a lawful entry, you will enter the country as a lawful permanent resident and receive your green card by mail to your registered U.S. address.
The process can take up to 12 months to get a successful outcome, so be patient.
How an Immigration Attorney Can Help?
Richard Herman is a U.S. immigration attorney with extensive experience with many successful stories of helping foreign nationals to be in the United States with their families.
If you entered the United States unlawfully and would like us to help you on this pathway, you can book your online consultation with your immigration attorney. To contact our law firm use one of the online platforms you prefer: Skype, WhatsApp, or ZOOM if you are overseas. Or, you can call us for a telephone consultation at +1-800-808-4013.
We will be happy to discuss with you how to get a marriage green card for you or your spouse, provide you with the right legal advice, and choose the best and the most proactive strategy.