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Is DAPA Your Way to a Green Card?

President Obama’s executive order granting Deferred Action for Parents of U.S. Citizen Children or Residents may create a pathway to residency for certain aliens.

President Obama’s executive order granting Deferred Action for Parents of U.S. Citizen Children or Residents may create a pathway to residency for certain aliens.

How Does it Work?

When a foreign national is present in the U.S. and seeking a green card, they must meet certain qualifications. For many family-based green card cases, two of the main issues facing foreign nationals are:

Frequently, we are asked about applying for a green card where a foreign national has a U.S. citizen child old enough to file a petition for their parents, but the parent entered the U.S. without inspection and cannot apply locally for adjustment. Those cases are difficult, because oftentimes, an alien must wait outside of the U.S. for ten years in order to be eligible to return! Fortunately, many of those individuals may qualify for deferred action under the new announcement from President Obama, known as DAPA.

To read more about DAPA, check out this link: ENGLISH | SPANISH

Similarity to DACA

While we do not have the final rules relating to DAPA, one of the first things that the attorneys at Antonini & Cohen noticed is the similarity between the underlying status for DAPA and DACA (the deferred action for certain individuals brought to the U.S. as children who have attended school in the U.S.) Two years into the DACA process has permitted us to experiment with the possibilities of the adjustment of status for approved DACA holders who originally entered the country without permission, and so far, it has been a success. This is possible because DACA holders are eligible to apply for advanced parole to leave the United States (Advanced parole is permission to depart the US temporarily and return with the permission of the United States government.). For DACA, the USCIS Website states:

“Generally, USCIS will only grant advance parole if your travel abroad will be in furtherance of:

It is very important to note that travel for vacation is not a valid basis for advance parole under DACA and that will likely be true for DAPA, too.

If DAPA mirrors the advanced parole eligibility of DACA, then it may be possible for DAPA holders to also depart and reenter the U.S. with permission, depending on their specific needs. The inspection at the border can render a foreign national eligible for local processing of a green card application, assuming the foreign national can meet the other green card qualifications.

While this is not a certainty as we do not have the final rules for DAPA recipients and likely will not know for several months, it is very important to have a thorough consultation with a qualified immigration attorney who can examine your case and tell you about the long-term possibilities that DAPA or any other available immigration benefit may provide to you or your loved ones.

If You Have Questions, Contact Antonini and Cohen Today!

Green cards and President Obama’s executive order in regards to DAPA could bring a lot of questions and we’re here to answer them. If you have any questions or would like a consultation, please contact our office at 404.850.9394 to discuss your case or click here to complete a contact form.

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