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Special Green Cards for Foreign Diplomats and Employees of International Organizations

Foreign Diplomats

Section 13 of the Immigration and Nationality Act allows non-immigrants who entered the United States under diplomatic status to obtain a green card (permanent residence).

You may be eligible to receive a green card under Section 13 if you can establish that:

  • You entered the United States as an A-1, A-2, G-1, or G-2 nonimmigrant
  • You failed to maintain your A-1, A-2, G-1, or G-2 nonimmigrant status
  • Your duties were diplomatic or semi-diplomatic (not custodial, clerical, or of a menial nature)
  • There are compelling reasons why you or your immediate family member are unable to return to the country which accredited you as a diplomat and that your adjustment of status would be in the national interest
  • You are a person of good moral character
  • You are admissible to the United States for permanent residence; AND
  • Your admission as a permanent resident would not be contrary to the national welfare, safety, or security of the United States

In addition, family members of such persons may also qualify for this benefit and obtain green cards as dependents.

By way of example, Section 13 would allow a foreign ambassador, who chose to defect from his or her government for (political reasons or civil strife) to stay in the U.S. and apply for a green card without having to apply for and obtain asylum. In fact, the applicant can completely skip the process of having to obtain approval of an immigrant visa petition and may simply file for adjustment of status on Form I-485.

Employees of International Organizations

In addition to Section 13 applicants, U.S. Immigration law also allows former officers and employees of international organizations to apply for a green card.

You may be eligible to receive a green card under this category if you can establish that you have lived in the U.S., while holding a G visa, for at least one-half of 7 years before filing the application and for a period of at least 15 years before your retirement. Qualified applicants may file Form I-360 to request a green card on this basis and must file within 6 months of the date that the officer or employee retired from service with the international organization.

In addition, it should also be noted that spouses of retirees of qualified international organizations may also apply under this category. Qualified applicants must file I-360 applications within 6 months after the death of their spouse who was a former officer or employee.

Finally, unmarried sons and daughters of current or former international organization officers or employees may be eligible to apply for a green card under this category. In order to qualify, you must establish that you have lived in the U.S., while holding a G visa, for at least one-half of 7 years before filing the application, and for at least 7 years between the ages of 5 and 21 years. You must also file the application before you turn 25 years old in order to qualify.

If you have any questions, call South Florida Immigration Lawyer Sean D. Hummel, at (954) 385-3111 or e-mail: sean@hummelaw.com.