If you require a provisional waiver and don’t have a qualifying family member, additional options are available. There are several avenues to enter the United States temporarily to work toward naturalization or permanent residency status. How you enter the country determines your path to a green card or naturalization.
Each has specific requirements for qualification. If you travel to the U.S. on a specialized visa, you can request a change in status once here. An immigration specialist can assist you in navigating the confusing process.
Suppose you do not have a family member or employer sponsor and require a waiver to enter the U.S. In that case, there are several other routes you can take to enter or remain in the U.S. legally. We want you to understand that you have options.
What Is a U Visa?
The U visa is a nonimmigrant visa established for crime victims and their families. Suppose you are at risk of being removed from the U.S. but were a victim of a crime and can assist law enforcement with the investigation. In that case, you may qualify for a U visa.
The U Visa program is part of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act that was enacted in October 2000. The legislation was crafted to assist law enforcement agencies in prosecuting various criminal acts, including human trafficking of non-U.S. citizens. The act also protects people against physical and mental abuse resulting from their victimization.
U visa petitions are processed at Vermont (VSC) and Nebraska (NSC) Service Centers. Processing times may vary depending on the current flow of petitions. Having an immigration specialist to assist with your petition can be beneficial and ensure that all conditions for qualification under a U visa are met.
What Is a T Visa?
Victims of human trafficking might qualify for a T visa. The T visa permits victims to stay for up to four years if they meet the requirements. Petitioners for a T visa should attempt to assist law enforcement personnel by providing any knowledge they may possess of trafficking activities. This information can be instrumental in the investigation and prosecution of traffickers.
The provisions for T visas are within the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000. T visas offer protections for victims of sex trafficking and labor trafficking (modern slavery).
For a free legal consultation, call (623) 742-5400
Exploring Asylum and What That Means
Seeking protection via a request for asylum in the U.S. is another way to enter legally and remain here. Suppose you are from a country where you have been subjected to persecution based on race, nationality, religion, or politics. In that case, you may qualify as an asylum seeker.
To file a petition for asylum, you must be physically present in the U.S. Asylum is not automatic. You must petition using Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal. The form can be submitted immediately upon entry or within one year of arrival. There is no fee associated with requesting asylum.
You may include unmarried children under 21 years old and your spouse on the initial application or add them at any point before the final decision on your case. You may review the status of your immigration case under consideration using the online case status tool.
The Refugee Act of 1980
The Refugee Act of 1980 updated the ability of refugees to seek asylum in the U.S. The act created the ability to apply for asylum if a refugee was on U.S. soil, regardless of their immigration status.
Other changes included the ability to apply for an adjustment of status to permanent resident for those granted asylum. After completing one year in the U.S. as an asylee, they may apply for the status change but are not required to do so.
Suppose you feel that you may qualify for asylum under the Refugee Act. In that case, you will benefit from the counsel of an immigration specialist to file the necessary forms to begin the process.
Understanding DACA as a Road to Citizenship
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) provides several things to undocumented young people brought to the U.S. by their parents, including:
- Protection from being deported
- The ability to obtain work permits
- A path to legalizing immigration status
If you meet the following stipulations, you may request DACA:
- Under age 31 before June 15, 2012
- Were in the U.S. before turning 16
- Have resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007
- Were in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, and remain while making your DACA request
- Were considered undocumented on June 15, 2012
- Are in school, graduated, obtained a certification of completion, or earned a general education development (GED) certificate
- In place of high school or equivalency completion, an honorable discharge from any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces
- Have not been convicted on felony or significant misdemeanor charges and pose no threat to national security
You must be at least 15 or older to request DACA, and under age 31 as of June 15, 2012. The rules change if you are in the process of removal hearings. If you are under removal proceedings, it can be beneficial to seek assistance from an immigration legal team.
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Getting Help from Our Immigration Team
There are various ways to maintain legal immigrant status or work toward citizenship. We have only covered a few here. If you don’t have a family member to assist with the provisional waiver, the immigration team at New Frontier Immigration Law can explain your options. Contact our immigration specialists today.