Close family members of someone serving (or who has served) in the U.S. military may have certain rights and privileges when going through the immigration process. At Vestal Immigration Law, we help military families identify available benefits and assist with the immigration process. In general, some of these rights and privileges include the following.
Parole-in-place is a discretionary privilege available to certain close family members of U.S. military personnel who unlawfully entered the U.S. without authority or inspection by an immigration officer at the border. These family members can apply for the opportunity to remain in the United States in one-year increments.
The parole-in-place status allows the beneficiary to remain in the United States in legal status while their application for a green card is being processed. Without this status, the person would be required to leave the U.S. and complete the green card application process at the U.S. consulate in their country of origin.
Besides the inconvenience of having to leave the United States, an applicant who leaves to complete the green card application process at a U.S. consulate may find themselves barred from being allowed to return to the country. Parole-in-place status protects individuals from this situation.
Our attorneys can advise you on whether you are eligible for parole-in-place protections and help you with the process.
Under U.S. immigration law, a person must generally live in the U.S. with a green card for at least three or five years to get approved for naturalization and U.S. citizenship. They must also meet all other eligibility criteria.
Meeting the residency requirement can be challenging for permanent residents married to military members who are stationed overseas, however. Immigration laws recognize this and allow certain exceptions for overseas naturalization for close family members living with a military service member stationed outside the country.
Those potentially eligible for this benefit include the spouse (or widower), child, or parent of an active-duty member of the U.S. Armed Forces, an individual in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve, or an individual who previously served in either of those capacities.
Under U.S. immigration law, family members of a non-U.S.-citizen who died from injury or disease caused or made worse during active duty with the U.S. Armed Forces can apply for citizenship for their deceased relative. The citizenship for the deceased relative can be awarded as of the time of their death, giving rise to certain immigration benefits for the surviving eligible relatives, including opportunities for green cards or citizenship.
The surviving spouse, children under the age of 21, and parents of a U.S. citizen who died during honorable military service can apply for citizenship right away.
Family members who do not have lawful permanent resident status can apply for a green card as the immediate relative of the deceased service member. However, the petition must be filed within two years of the service member’s death.
If your close relative is a military member or previously served, you might be eligible for immigration benefits. Vestal Immigration Law can assess your options, so please contact our office to discuss your immigration situation.
We are dedicated to helping businesses, individuals, and families navigate the federal immigration system. The more you know, the more empowered you become.
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