July 25, 2013
FROM TOURIST TO GREEN CARD IN FIVE MONTHS? QUOTA FOR SPOUSES OF PERMANENT RESIDENTS NOW OPEN
Question: I am a permanent resident of the U.S. I obtained my green card through my U.S. citizen daughter last year. I have a boyfriend who just entered the U.S. last May from the Philippines. He wants to get a work permit and maybe even a green card but he does not have much time since his tourist visa expires in November. We were thinking of getting married but I am only a green card holder. I am not a citizen. I was told by an attorney last month that I cannot petition my boyfriend until I become a citizen. But, it will still be four years before I can naturalize. What can my boyfriend do? How can I help him?
Answer: You are definitely in luck! You may wish to consider marrying your boyfriend soon for him to apply immediately for permanent residence. This is because, even though you are only a permanent resident and not a U.S. citizen, you can now petition a husband, and he can immediately file for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident. This is a very rare opportunity that has not appeared in years.
Why is this possible? Simply because the quota for spouses and minor children of permanent residents has opened for the month of August, 2013. This is a rare event as rare as an eclipse, or a comet, so it is very exciting news.
As far back as I can remember, the Second Preference “A” or F2A quota for spouses of permanent residents and minor children of permanent residents has been oversubscribed and backlogged for more than two years. This means that there were simply more petitions pending than there were available immigrant visas. As of just last month, the waiting time was almost two years. However, for August, 2013, the second preference quota has miraculously opened. This means that starting August 1, 2013, and ending August 30, 2013, anyone married to a permanent resident and in the country lawfully can immediately file for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident.
What does filing for adjustment of status do? By filing forms with the USCIS in the U.S. for adjustment of status, the applicant is requesting that he or she be permitted to obtain permanent residence in the U.S. without having to leave the country. This can only be done if the quota is open and current. After filing the applicant can obtain a work permit and a social security card in as little as two months and even receive permanent residence in four to six months. Even if your boyfriend’s tourist visa expires after he files for adjustment of status, he is still lawfully in the U.S. because he has a pending adjustment application.
It is very possible that starting September 1, 2013, the quota may close again and the USCIS will no longer take adjustment of status applications combined with petitions by permanent resident spouses. So this means that anyone who wants to take advantage of the quota opening should file in the month of August. Even if the quota were to close after filing adjustment of status, as long as the application is filed on time, the applicant is permitted to remain in the U.S. in lawful status pending the decision on the application for adjustment of status. It is a win-win situation.
Now here are the problems or caveats: If the beneficiary is out of status in the U.S. by overstaying or working illegally, he or she cannot adjust status here. If the beneficiary entered illegally or entered as a crewman or by jumping ship, he cannot adjust status here. To be certain of your eligibility, you may wish to seek the advice of a qualified immigration attorney. I., as always, provide free consultations with clients in person, on the phone or by email. Feel free to contact me.
As I have said all along, time is of the essence. Do not wait to the last minute. Start your preparation now. This is a gift from the State Department and it covers all countries and all nationalities, even Mexico, China, India and the Philippines which have traditionally been backlogged more than other nations.
At the Law Office of Los Angeles Immigration Attorney David M. Sturman, we have represented clients before the Immigration Court for over 35 years. We know the law, we have decades of experience defending against deportation and our successful track record is unmatched. Contact us for a confidential and free consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us at 818 714-2226.