Cuban Adjustment Act
In 1996, the U.S. government passed the Cuban Adjustment Act (CAA). It allows Cuban natives or Cuban citizens and their accompanying spouses and children under 21 years old to obtain green cards. Children can include step-children, adopted children, and children born out of wedlock if the claimed parent-child relationship meets the requirements specified in Section 101(b)(1) of the INA.
Section 1 of the Cuban Adjustment Act states, in pertinent part:
[N]otwithstanding the provisions of section 245(c) of the [Immigration and Nationality Act] the status of any alien who is a native or citizen of Cuba and who has been inspected and admitted or paroled into the United States subsequent to January 1, 1959 and has been physically present in the United States for at least one year, may be adjusted by the [Secretary of Homeland Security], in his discretion and under such regulations as he may prescribe, to that of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence if the alien makes application for such adjustment, and the alien is eligible to receive an immigrant visa and is admissible to the United States for permanent residence as of a date thirty months prior to the filing of such an application or the date of his last arrival into the United States, whichever is later. Pub. L. 89-732 (November 2, 1966) as amended.
To qualify under the Cuban Adjustment Act, applicants must:
- Have been present in the U.S. for at least 1 year
- Must have been inspected and admitted or paroled into the United States (or eligible under INA § 245(i))
- Must be admissible to the U.S.
There are several benefits to what many seem to call a “loophole” in immigration law. First, there is no required date of entry. So you have entered 10 years ago, one year ago, or today, as long as the Cuban Adjustment Act has not been repealed. Second, unlike NACARA, there are no requirements to have filed any asylum application or any other petition in the United States. Third, even foreign nationals not born in Cuba can qualify and even those who never traveled to Cuba, as long as he or she is born to at least one Cuban parent. Fourth, unlike a marriage-based green card, with CAA there is no requirement to prove that you will not become a public charge. Also there is no “age out” so you can be any age. Finally, there is no deadline to apply for this benefit.
One of the biggest problems with the CAA is proving Cuban citizenship. The best evidence is either a Cuban birth certificate or a Cuban passport. In addition, a consular certificate that indicates that the foreign national was born outside of Cuba to Cuban citizen parent is not ordinarily sufficient to establish that a person is a Cuban citizen.
How We Can Help
- We can assess your case, even if you are in removal proceedings, to determine eligibility.
- We work with the client to obtain proof of Cuban citizenship, especially when an applicant is born outside of Cuba.
- If a client has not been admitted or paroled, we obtain documentation to prove 245i eligibility.
- We prepare the green card application, employment authorization document and travel document for the applicant and his/her family (which includes the spouse and any children).
- We assist foreign nationals adjust status even if the Cuban parent is deceased.
Please give us a call to discuss your case. In-person consultations are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm and Saturdays from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Please call our office at 301.529.1912 or complete the form below. Please be sure to provide a timeline of events along with details of your entire immigration history./strong>