Are you undocumented but entered the United States as a child? If so, you may qualify for an immigration program called DACA (“Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals”). Eligible applicants can receive an exemption from deportation and a renewable work permit. Those granted deferred action can will also be eligible to apply for a social security card, a driver’s license and automobile insurance.
To qualify you must:
- Have come to the U. S. before you were 16;
- Have continuously lived in the U. S. since June 15, 2007;
- Were in U.S. on June 15, 2012;
- Were in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, without lawful status;
- Are currently in school, graduated from high school, received a GED, or are a honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed forces; and
- Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more misdemeanors, and are not a threat to national security or public safety.
- Have completed a background check.
To discuss whether this program is the best option for you or your child, contact us to schedule a free consultation.
Are you undocumented but have a child who is a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident? If so, you could potentially qualify for an immigration initiative called DAPA (“Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents”). Similar to DACA (“Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals”), DAPA is the program to grant an exemption from deportation and access to work authorization for qualified applicants. Currently, this program has been blocked by a federal court in Texas and when and if it will go into effect is not currently known. If it does go into effect, DAPA could benefit millions of undocumented immigrants. If the block is lifted there is likely to be a massive amount of applications so it’s important to take steps now to prepare. To find out if you qualify for DAPA and what you can be doing now to prepare, give us a call.
If you are undocumented but have been the direct or indirect victim of violent crime, you could potentially qualify for immigration benefits.
Congress has created a special immigration category called U Visas, for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement or government officials in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity. To find out if you or a loved one could potentially qualify for this immigration benefit, schedule a time to meet with us.
Many immigrants, such as those who have DACA, TPS, or a pending residency application would like to be able to travel outside the U.S. but know that doing so will jeopardize their immigration status and they may not be able to re-enter. For many of these immigrants, there is a way to travel, however, only if they first apply for and receive “Advance Parole.” By using this program, Diener Law has helped a number of DACA recipients and other immigrants visit their families and home countries for the first time in years. If you are interested in applying for advance parole and want to know if you qualify, contact our office for a free, confidential consultation.
SIJS (“Special Immigrant Juvenile Status”) is an important immigration option for undocumented children who have been abandoned or are unable to be reunited with a parent. Successful applicants can obtain lawful permanent resident status or a “Green Card” to live and work in the United States permanently. These petitions require a thorough knowledge of both family law and immigration law. Contact us to find out if you or a loved one could potentially qualify for SIJS.
Family-Based Petitions & Unlawful Presence Waivers
If you are a U.S. citizen you can petition for a green card (Lawful Permanent Residence) for your immediate relatives. Immediate relatives are classified as a: spouse, parent, or an unmarried child under the age of 21.
U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Resident (“LPR’s”) have the ability to file family-based immigration petitions for immediate relatives, such as spouses and children. But if the immediate relative is in the United States and undocumented, they need to obtain a waiver for their unlawful presence.
In order to get a waiver, the person has to show that denying the waiver would cause extreme hardship to the sponsoring LPR or Citizen.
In the past, immigrants seeking an unlawful presence waiver had to take a big risk. They had to return to their home country before the waiver petition was decided, and if it was denied, they would not be able to re-enter the United States. But in 2013, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) made this process easier and safer for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, by allowing them to apply for a provisional waiver while they remained in the United States. If the waiver is granted, they still have to return briefly to their home country and re-enter, but they can do so with the confidence that the waiver was provisionally approved.
For years this provisional waiver was only available to citizen’s immediate relatives. LPR’s immediate relatives seeking an unlawful presence waiver, still had to take the riskier approach of leaving country before they knew whether the waiver would be approved. But no more! USCIS announced in July that they will be expanding the provisional waiver process to immediate relatives of LPRs. This is a big potential opportunity for a lot of people who were previously hesitant about filing this type of petition.
Any immediate relative of a citizen or LPR, who may qualify for a provisional waiver, should contact us for a free, private consultation. These applications are difficult and fraught with perils for the inexperienced.