The process of going from DACA status to green card status can be very confusing. DACA individuals either came here illegally with parents or overstayed their visas after entering the US legally. This group, under deferred action for childhood arrivals(DACA) are given work permits that last two years. The work permits can be continuously renewed. Unfortunately, these individuals are living in a state of legal limbo. They don’t know if the program will continue. Additionally, they don’t have the rights that green card holders enjoy. As the talented DACA kids age, they are looking for ways to obtain the coveted US green card status. One way for a DACA recipient to obtain a green card is through marriage to a US Citizen. This post will highlight some considerations for those who want to go from DACA to Green Card Status through marriage.
What Bars of Inadmissibility Apply to Your Case?
First, some good news: if you are in the United States on DACA and you marry a US Citizen there is a good chance that you will have options. However, these options depend on the bars to adjustment of status that apply to your case. The first step to determine your options is to examine how you entered the country.
Options for DACA Recipients who Entered Legally
If you entered the US legally and later marry a US citizen, you will be in a great position despite your unlawful presence. The law affords people in this group the opportunity to adjust status without having to leave the country. Sadly, many DACA recipients are not in this position.
Options for DACA Recipients who Entered the US Without Inspection
Many DACA recipients entered the country without inspection. This makes them ineligible to adjust status while remaining in the US. In the past, this group could cure the situation with advanced parole. Under advanced parole, the DACA recipient would leave the country then return after inspection at a port of entry. They could then marry and adjust status to obtain a green card. Unfortunately, DACA recipients who came to the US illegally no longer have that option.
Now, the best option for DACA recipients who came here illegally is to obtain a 601A waiver if they are eligible. The 601A waiver allows those who entered the US without inspection to apply for a waiver of their unlawful presence while they remain in the country. If the waiver is approved, the DACA recipient will travel back to their country of origin where they will attend an interview at the consulate. Most of the time, the approved waiver will be honored by the consulate. This allows the applicant to enter the US and enjoy to perks of green card status.