Individuals applying for special immigrant status under the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) special immigrant program are required to submit a petition to the USCIS describing his/her circumstances. Some examples of special immigrants include:
The U visa is available to immigrant victims of crimes and their families who assisted in a law enforcement investigation. There are 10,000 available every year. The prosecutor or police can certify helpfulness.
The Violence Against Women Act provides protection to abused spouses — men or women — and children, where the abuse was perpetrated by a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The spouse or child who was subjected to battery or extreme cruelty can “self-petition” for a green card. Alternatively, he or she can apply for special relief from deportation.
Cuban Adjustment Act
Citizens of Cuba can apply for green cards on their own, without the need for a family member or employer to sponsor them, after they have been in the United States for one year and a day. They will need evidence of their time of entry, such as a parole card obtained at or after entry. Green cards are available even if the Cuban has dual nationality with another country, like Spain. Spouses of Cubans are also eligible for the benefit, even if they are citizens of a different country.
Asylum & Humanitarian Applications
This country has a tradition of being a safe haven for those who are persecuted on account of their religion, political opinion, race, nationality, or membership in a particular social group. Asylum, refugee status, and withholding of removal are available to individuals who can demonstrate that they have been persecuted in the past or would face persecution in the future if they were to return to their home countries. You must apply for asylum within one year of your arrival into the United States with limited exceptions.
If conditions in your home country are particularly bad, you may be able to seek Temporary Protected Status. Current TPS designated countries are:
- El Salvador
Waivers for Criminal History
Immigrants who have been convicted of certain crimes are eligible to apply for waivers in order to obtain their green cards or to avoid deportation. In some cases, longtime permanent residents are placed in deportation proceedings due to their criminal history, and risk losing their green cards. A well-prepared waiver package will document all of the factors in the immigrant's favor.
Frequently Asked Questions FAQ's ?
What does EB-5 stand for?
The investment immigrant visas — also called employment creation green cards — are the fifth employment-based category listed on the visa bulletin issued by the Department of State. EB-5 is short for “employment-based fifth category.”
Is it necessary for me to choose a Regional Center or a project geographically near to where I plan to reside?
No, you can be involved in the management of the investment without being physically present at the site. You may need to attend investor's meetings in person from time to time, but can likely otherwise participate by telephone or electronic means.
Can my family members immigrate with me?
Yes, spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 may also obtain their green cards via the primary investor's EB-5 petition.
How long does it take to get an EB-5 green card?
A good rule of thumb is to plan f0r processing to take about six months, although the actual time varies somewhat. Prior to the expiration date on the initial green card, the investor and any family members must apply to have the conditions removed.
Which is better — the Regional Centers or the traditional $1,000,000 investment?
For most clients, the Regional Center route is a better fit. The Regional Centers already have a framework in place for the management of the investment and the initial investment amount is lower. However, some clients have already made an investment or have a different project in mind.