The Cuban adjustment Act (CA) is a law that gives Cubans citizens and their spouses and children the possibility of getting a green card.

CA is to be distinguished from asylum. Asylum is an entirely different process. CA is its own world and has its own requirements. To obtain CA you need to:

  • Have been physically present in the US for at least one year
  • Have been admitted or paroled,
  • Be admissible.

The first requirement is very simple. You have to have been physically present for at least a year. In certain rare exceptions, a very short departure might not break the one year continuous presence requirement for CA, but generally, to be on the safe side, you must have been here for a year before applying.

The second requirement asks for admission or parole. In simple words this means that you came through an airport or a port, saw some immigration official and they put a stamp on your document. In the case of Cuban entering illegally, (through the border or other means) they have to be paroled. This normally happens when you are caught (or turn yourself in) and they parole you into the US. Basically, they acknowledge that you do not have valid documents but after verifying that you are Cuban, they let you in on your own word.

This final requirement is basically what immigration asks of anyone that is about to get a green card. They need to be admissible. They cannot be criminals, terrorist or be the kind of person that we would not give a green card.

Now what happens to your family members? Does my non-Cuban spouse qualify too?

Yes, your non-Cuban spouse and children will qualify and the requirements for them are no different than the ones for you. (1) They have to be here for a year, (2) they have to have been admitted or paroled, (3) they have to be admissible.

Now what happens when the non-Cuban family entered at different times? For example the Cuban husband entered a year ago, and the wife entered 9 months ago. The Cuban husband can adjust status, and the Cuban wife has to wait 3 more months. The more practical thing here, in terms of process, would be to wait and do both applications together, however, nothing prevents the Cuban husband from applying right after the one-year mark. The wife can apply later. What cannot happen is the non-Cuban applying for green card before the Cuban. It has to be at the same time of after.

If you have more questions about the Cuban adjustment process call or text at 305-570-2208 or email at eayala@ayalalawpa.com

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