TEMPORARY RELIEF AND OTHER VISAS

DACA & DAPA Programs

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DACA is a program that grants deferred action for two years and temporary relief from deportation to invidivuals who came to the U.S. as children. DACA applicants can also be eligible for temporary work authorization.  To apply, you must:

  • be under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;

  • have come to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;

  • have continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;

  • have been physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;

  • have no lawful status on June 15, 2012;

  • be currently in school,  have a high school diploma or GED or have been honorably discharged of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the U.S; and

  • not have been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor,or three or more other misdemeanors.

Note that President Obama announced that it plans to expand the program to include individuals older than 31 years of age and who have been in the U.S. since January 1, 2010.

DAPA refers to an executive action from President Obama where it grants deferred action to individuals who:

  • have no status as of November 20, 2014;

  • is a parent of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident born on or before November 20, 2014;

  • have continuous residence in the United States since January 1, 2010; and

  • have not been convicted of a felony or 3 or more misdemeanors, or significant misdemeanors.

Note that an equally divided US Supreme Court has affirmed the ruling of the lower court effectively blocking the implementation of DAPA and the extended version of DACA.

Diversity Lottery Visas

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The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV Program) is  available every year.  Eligibility depends on whether you are a national of a country with low rates of immigration to the U.S.  To qualify, the principal DV applicant must have a high school education, or its equivalent, or two years of qualifying work experience.

Lottery winners residing outside the United States can immigrate through consular processing and issuance of an immigrant visa. Lottery winners in the U.S. can apply for adjustment of status, if eligible.

Temporary Protective status Refugee & Asylum

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TPS Status

The Department of Homeland Security may designate what nationals can apply for protective status due to his/her country conditions that prevent the safety return of its nationals.  Currently, the nationals who can apply for TPS status are from El Salvador, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Liberia, Nicaragua, Sierra Leon, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Syria.

Refugee & Asylee Status

Refugee and Asylee status is available for individuals who have been persecuted or fear they will be persecuted because of their race, religion, nationality, and/or membership in a particular social group or political opinion. Refugees status are issued to individuals who are outside of their country and are unable or unwilling to return home because they fear serious harm. Refugee status is granted outside the U.S.

Asylum is granted to individuals who are already in the U.S. and can show that they fear persecution if they go back to their home country because of their race, religion, nationality, and/or membership in a particular social group or political opinion.

Asylees are able to remain in the U.S. apply for permanent residence and permission to work while their application is pending.

T and U visas

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Congress established T visas for human trafficking victim in an effort to assist law enforcement prosecute these crimes while offering protection to the victims.  T visas are availabe for individuals who :

  • are or were victims of trafficking;

  • Are in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or at a port of entry due to trafficking;·

  • Comply with any reasonable request from a law enforcement agency for assistance in the investigation or prosecution of human trafficking;

  • Will suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm if removed from the United States;

  • Are not inadmissible to the U.S. (waivers of inadmissibility are available.)

U visas are available for victims of serious crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse as a result of the having been a victim and who are helpful to law enforcement in the prosecution or in the investigation of such a crime.  The criminal activity includes:

Abduction, Abusive Sexual Contact, Blackmail, Domestic Violence,Extortion, False Imprisonment, Female Genital Mutilation, Felonious Assault, Fraud in Foreign Labor Contracting, Hostage, Incest, Involuntary Servitude, Kidnapping, Manslaughter, Murder, Obstruction of Justice, Espionage,Perjury, Prostitution, Rape, Sexual Assault, Sexual Exploitation, Slave trade, Stalking, Torture, Trafficking, Witness Tampering Unlawful Criminal Restraint and other Related Crimes.