Third-Country Cubans Can Get Green Cards

The Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966 (CAA) is one of our favorite forms of immigration relief. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law an act that allows Cuban natives or Cuban citizens to obtain a green card for themselves as well as for their spouses and children who fled from Fidel Castro’s regime.

Fifty years after the law was created, it still remains in place. In an effort to stop the migration from Cuba to the U.S., the CAA has a “wet foot, dry foot” policy where those who are intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard on the water will be returned to Cuba, whereas those who arrive on the U.S. shores can remain and, if eligible, apply for adjustment of status.

One of the greatest benefits of the CAA is that there is no “sunset date.” As of the date of this post, if someone arrives in the U.S. tomorrow and remains physically present in the U.S. for one year, and is not otherwise inadmissible, he or she can apply to adjust status.

A second benefit is that entry can either be legally or without inspection. In other words, whereas family-based or employment-based immigrants must prove inspection and admission, CAA applicants can arrive to the U.S. by raft, and once they reach the shore, can be eligible to get a green card a year later.

A third benefit is that there is no quota. For instance, Cancellation of Removal for Non-Permanent Residents or U visa-based applicants are both subject to a quota of 4,000 and 10,000 respectively. However, for CAA green card applicants, there are an unlimited number of green cards available.

A fourth benefit is that the law does not require CAA green card applicants to prove persecution or residence in Cuba. You need not be born in Cuba; you only need to prove Cuban citizenship. This means that you could qualify even if you were born outside of Cuba and never visited Cuba. Even dual citizens qualify (e.g. citizen of Venezuela and Cuba). In the past, foreign nationals born in Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Spain, Ukraine, Canada, Chile, Ecuador and Argentina all received green cards under the CAA. Foreign nationals born in Costa Rica, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, and Colombia can also qualify as long as they can prove Cuban citizenship. All that must be proven is that you are recognized as Cuban by U.S. authorities.

Often Cuban nationals have difficulty obtaining visas to come to the U.S. since it is well known that once they arrive in the U.S., they will seek adjustment through the CAA. For this reason, many foreign nationals who are dual citizens, use their other citizenship (e.g. Venezuela) passport to obtain a U.S. visa to enter the U.S.

If you are a Cuban citizen, then you may be eligible for a green card through the Cuban Adjustment Act. Give us a call today to check your eligibility. We would love to help you take advantage of this wonderful immigration benefit.