Murthy Snapshot: Easier Path to Green Card for Certain Undocumented Spouses of U.S. Citizens

On June 17, 2024, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a proposed program to promote family unity and remove certain roadblocks towards lawful permanent residency (i.e., a “green card”) for certain undocumented noncitizen spouses of U.S. citizens. Below are the key points you need to know:

  • To be eligible, the foreign national must meet all the following criteria:
    • Present in the United States without admission or parole
    • Continuously present in the U.S. for at least 10 years, as of June 17, 2024
    • Have a legally valid marriage to a U.S. citizen as of June 17, 2024
  • The program uses the Biden Administration’s parole-in-place policy, which allows for an undocumented individual to apply for parole without departing the United States. Once an individual is granted parole, the individual may be eligible to apply for adjustment of status to that of a lawful permanent resident. Once paroled, an individual can also apply for work authorization.
  • An eligible applicant’s noncitizen children may also be considered for parole under this process if they are physically present in the U.S. without admission or parole and have a qualifying stepchild relationship to a U.S. citizen as of June 17, 2024.
  • Relief under this program is discretionary and will be limited based on various factors, including factors such as ensuring the foreign national does not pose a threat to public safety or national security.
  • The DHS is not yet accepting applications under this program. The official start date of this program is expected to be sometime before the end of the summer.

Your Takeaway:

Immigration law already provides a mechanism for a foreign national to apply for a green card through a U.S. citizen spouse, even if the individual entered the United States without lawful documentation. What the Biden Administration is creating, however, is a system that eliminates the need for a qualifying foreign national to leave the United States in order to apply – a process that could result in the individual being stuck abroad for months or years. When more details of the program become available, the information will be posted on MurthyDotCom.


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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.