As many as 11,800 active-duty military families face immigration problems every year. USCIS does not track or consider the military status of a family when evaluating family-based immigration petitions or removal issues. No military member should ever have to face this kind of stress and fear, but that is the hard truth. The good news is there are some steps an immigration attorney can take to help a military family through the immigration system.
Common US immigration problems for military families
Of the many challenges military families face in the US immigration system, a few are especially common:
- Difficulty sponsoring a foreign spouse
- Changes in relationships that affect the immigration status of a spouse or family member
- Immigration issues caused by a spouse’s committing a crime
- Military spouses who fled terrible conditions in their home country but who were unable to obtain asylum or refugee status
- Spouses who attempt to complete a marriage petition only to discover one of them is under a deportation order
- Denial of citizenship to some military children born abroad
These issues can often force military families to split up, compounding the pain and hardship.
How can immigrant military families remain together in the US?
The Parole in Place program is one option. This program allows a foreign national who came into the United States without authorization to stay for a certain period of time. Parole in Place allows a military spouse to apply for a work permit and could allow eligibility for a green card application.
Eligibility requires you to be the spouse, widow or widower, parent, son, or daughter of an active-duty member of the US armed forces, military veteran, or a member of the Reserves. You would complete Form I-131 and submit it to your local USCIS office.
In some cases, you would fill out a normal marriage-based green card application but will need to handle certain challenges associated with either changing addresses mid-application or challenges associated with the citizen-spouse being ordered out of the country at a time when the non-citizen spouse must remain in the United States to meet residency requirements.
You will want to work closely with your immigration attorney to attempt either method. In addition, if your family is already facing removal proceedings, I can offer help with applying for a cancellation of removal.
Get help today
I have seen how tough your situation can be, and I’m thankful to members of our military and to their families. As an immigration attorney, I can probably help your military family preserve your family structure and keep all family members together in the United States or on base anywhere they happen to live. You can contact my office in Boston to schedule a consultation today.