For many DACA recipients, the prospect of obtaining a green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen or green card holder is a promising path to lawful permanent residence. However, navigating the complex U.S. immigration system can be overwhelming.
In short, yes it is possible to apply for a marriage-based green card as a DACA recipient, but there may be challenges along the way.
In this blog post, we provide an overview of the requirements for marriage-based green card applications for DACA participants, and the options available for the application process.
Eligibility Requirements for Marriage-based Green Cards
To apply for a marriage-based green card, the applicant must have a qualifying relationship with a U.S. citizen or green card holder spouse. A qualifying relationship is one in which the marriage is valid and genuine, and not entered into solely for immigration purposes. Additionally, the DACA recipient must meet the following eligibility requirements:
Have entered the U.S. legally:
The DACA recipient must have entered the U.S. legally, even if their current status has expired.
If the DACA recipient entered the U.S. without inspection (meaning without going through an official entry point), they may face additional challenges in the green card application through marriage and it is highly recommended to consult with an immigration attorney as the application may need a waiver and may require the Applicant to go through consular processing. Another option may be for someone who entered without inspection to obtain advance parole and then travel and be lawfully admitted, thereby making them eligible for adjustment of status.
Not have committed any disqualifying crimes:
The DACA recipient must not have committed any crimes that would disqualify them from receiving a green card. These crimes include, but are not limited to, crimes involving moral turpitude, drug offenses, and aggravated felonies.
Application Process for Marriage-based Green Cards for DACA recipients
There are two options available for applying for a green card:
- Consular Processing, which involves applying outside of the U.S.
- Adjustment of Status, which involves applying within the U.S. after lawful entry and inspection by a CBP agent. Adjustment of status is only available to those with U.S. Citizen spouses, not legal permanent residents.
There are many factors that could impact a green card application through marriage for a DACA recipient. The application process can be complex and challenging, especially in light of current immigration policies and backlogs.
It is important for DACA recipients to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to decide on the best option for obtaining legal permanent residence and to be prepared for potential challenges and delays in the application process. If you are a DACA recipient about to marry a US citizen or a green card holder, schedule a consultation today to discuss your options and the best path forward.