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Green Cards for Cuban Immigrants

Under the current U.S. immigration laws, Cuban immigrants are afforded special privileges that are not given to other foreign citizens.

According to the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966 (CAA), Cuban natives or citizens, as well as their accompanying spouses and children get to enjoy the fast track to lawful permanent resident status and U.S. citizenship.

According to the CAA, if a Cuban native or citizen applies for a green card, the Attorney General has the authority to grant lawful permanent resident status providing the Cuban native or citizen:

  • Has been living in the United States for at least one year
  • Has been admitted to the United States or paroled
  • Is admissible under U.S. immigration law as an immigrant

If a Cuban immigrant applies for a green card (permanent residence), their application may actually be approved, even if they do not qualify under the standard guidelines in Section 245 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Cubans are not subject to the same caps on immigration under the CAA, therefore, the Cuban applicant does not have to be the “beneficiary” of an immigrant visa petition. Also, Cuban immigrants will not be penalized if they arrive to the U.S. by means of a boat or a raft at location other than an open port-of-entry.

Even if Cubans arrive on a U.S. beach (not at a port-of-entry), they may still be entitled to receive a green card providing the U.S. paroles the Cuban citizen into the United States.

What makes a Cuban citizen eligible?

If you are a Cuban native or citizen and you’re interested in applying for a green card while you’re in the U.S., you will need to be in the U.S. for at least one year before you apply, plus you must have been admitted or paroled as an admissible immigrant.

There are some reasons why a Cuban citizen may not be eligible for a green card, particularly if they are found inadmissible under one of the grounds of inadmissibility in the INA.

If you are inadmissible for any reason, you may be able to obtain a waiver of inadmissibility depending on the reason why you are inadmissible. Usually, someone is inadmissible if they have committed serious crimes involving fraud, drugs, human trafficking, or violence.

When can you apply for a green card? You can apply for permanent residence one year and one day after being admitted or paroled into the United States.

To apply for permanent residence, contact our office to meet with a Plano immigration lawyer!