Today we are so excited to talk to you about ways you can fix your status without leaving the United States. So let’s say that you’re here and you don’t want to leave or you cannot leave (for some reason) to be able to fix your status.
So for you to adjust your status it means you have to have status to begin with. We can’t go from not having some sort of status into having status. The common way to refer to this is an AOS adjustment of status acronym, nothing fancy. For this two components will be necessary.
Two Components (Lawful Entry & Petitioner)
We need two components; first we need to have someone who can petition for you. That’s going to be one of your immediate family members who is a US citizen over the age of 21: if that is your kid. Or it’s going to be a US citizen spouse. Then secondly we need a lawful entry.
Entry With a Visa
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First we have to have a lawful entry, now there are ways that we can address if you don’t have a lawful entry. These are the different ways that you can have a lawful entry, you can enter with a Visa . You came in with a visa as a student, or tourist, any other way that you may have come on a visa. You are in the Visa waiver program because you are from Korea or somewhere in Australia, you´re polish or something. You came in with a Visa.
Another way it’s perhaps you were waved through. This is a really common thing that so many people overlook. That is a lawful entry; perhaps you were in the backseat of a car when you were three years old and your uncle was driving the car, he was a US citizen and showed his US Passport when he pulled up. The border patrol officer looks at the passport, sees you and maybe a sibling or two in the back seat and waves you through. Maybe you’ve talked to people before, they said “How did you come in?” and you said illegally but if this was the type of scenario that fits what happened in your life, that is not an illegal entry that’s what’s called a lawful entry.
Parole in Place
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Next we’re going to have what’s called parole in place. Parole in place basically means if you’re at the border saying “Please let me in” and they parole you in ( they give you permission to enter). But you get to do it in place, you get to do it in the United States. Rather than having to go to the border and ask for entry.
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When you get to do this is? If your spouse, child or parent was or is in the US military; they are veteran, they are off duty and they were honorably discharged. If it’s not an honorable discharge, they were kicked out of the military, that sucks. We appreciate your family member´s service and I’m sorry to hear that it ended poorly but that wouldn’t be able to help you with parole in place. We have to have someone who is actively in the military. They’re going through boot camp Etc. It’s basically out of gratitude for your family member´s service to our country that Congress created this option.
Next up we have advanced parole, this is for all the people out there who have DACA. A while back I would have not recommended you take advantage of Advance parole because it was definitely not a really safe option with the administration. However my attitude has changed with the new Administration. There´s still a risk but if you get what’s called an Advanced Parole, it’s basically a permission slip to re-enter the country. It’s saying “I’m here, I have a case pending or perhaps something pending, I have DACA or I have VAWA that´s pending, adjustment of status pending, I filed for a green card and it’s pending and I want your permission to be able to leave and your promise that you’ll let me back in one time”.
It´s important to note that if you have DACA and you do this (let’s say you were four years old when your parents brought you to the United States without permission) even if you’re married to a US citizen right now you don’t have a lawful entry so you can’t move to the next step. Which is to apply for a green card.
So the way we can help you with DACA however is through what we can call a flag pole entry and exit. Basically we get you advanced parole, you leave, you drive around the flagpole in Mexico and you come right back into the United States with your Advanced parole. Once you do that, you have a lawful entry and so then you can move to the next phase which is applying for your green card. All the while you have DACA or another form of pending relief (pending option).
That is an amazing opportunity for those of you who currently have DACA. Or for those who are applying. Especially if you’re married to a US citizen or if you have a child who’s going to be 21 at some point and in your future who may petition for you. We will talk about that just a moment but please file that away because I wouldn’t have told you that a year ago. This is administrative specific.
Next up we have 245-I. This was something where family members if they filed for you to have status, resident or a citizen filed for you before April 30th 2001: your priority date is eventually going to become current. Once this is current for you based on what your category was of the time it was filed, that can basically equate to a lawful entry. It forgives one unlawful entry.
The last option I want to visit with you is called VAWA. It stands for violence against women act but it applies to men and women equally. It just was created because as you know there’s a lot more violence against women throughout the world and in the United States than there is against men so they called it the violence against women act.
This is when you have a US citizen child over the age of 21 who has been extremely cruel to you in many ways. Or if your spouse who is a US citizen or resident has been extremely cruel to you; this can be the basis for getting a lawful entry. You can fix it here without leaving. Now the words extreme cruelty, they conjure up a lot of different images in your mind and what I want to invite you to do is to not to start thinking and rolling out the option for VAWA for you.
Just because you think no one’s been extremely cruel to you. Because what I think it’s extreme cruelty is different from what you think is extreme cruelty. The only person whose opinion of what extreme cruelty matters is the officer who is USCIS. The person sitting at the desk in USCIS. The law has created a uniform standard for what extreme cruelty is. So if anything within your heart raises a the red flag and says “I want to talk to someone about this because my child whether they were 15, 17 or they´re 29 (and they’re currently over the age of 21) they have been extremely cruel to me at some point and I want to visit with someone to find out if that qualifies”. Or perhaps your spouse, if your spouse has ever hit you or has ever threatened to call Ice on you. If he/she ever locked you out of the home, made you walk home from a party or something like that. It sucks when those things happen in our marriages, but those are things that can help you fix your status as well.