New York Lawyer's Legal Updates

Adjustment Of Status After A Or G Diplomatic Visa

Author: Green Card Attorney Alena Shautsova

Usually, a person holding a diplomatic visa is ineligible to adjust their status to that of a lawful permanent resident. (A visas and status are for employees and representatives of diplomatic missions, G visa and status are for the employees and representatives of foreign and international organizations). The reason is that a diplomat represents his/her own country, and is not really a non- immigrant or an immigrant, but a person in a special status who does not fall under the U.S. jurisdiction. Because of that, and rules regarding diplomatic immunities, children that were born in the U.S. in diplomatic families, are not U.S. citizens, and cannot apply for Medicaid or other benefits.

Diplomats who have lived in the U.S. for prolonged time, naturally may develop close ties with the U.S. For this reason, the law does allow holders of diplomatic visas ( in certain situations ) to adjust status to that of a permanent resident. However, the law also requires that such applicants waive not only diplomatic immunity, but all diplomatic privileges. Such an adjustment is possible, for example, if a person in A or G status, marries a U.S. citizen. Please note that a holder of A visa, whose “assignment” was terminated, will still require to file a waiver as well.

As such, the holder (or former holder in certain situations) of the A/G status has to file form I 508 with the adjustment package.

Special Adjustment for Diplomats (Section 13) Overview

There are some other ways a diplomat may stay in the U.S. permanently. They are not that common, and are used sparingly, but nevertheless possible.

First, holders of the A1, A2, G1 or G2 statuses have to be found to be “out of status” that is they failed to maintain their diplomatic status. Second, an applicant has to be found to be a person of good moral character, and third, the applicant has to present compelling reasons why he/she cannot return back to their home country.

An applicant in this category will have to go through backgrounds checks so that it will be established he/she is not a threat to the U.S. security.

This type of adjustment replaces regular asylum process, but is available only to a small group of high officials.

Special Adjustment For Employees Of International Organizations (G-4, N, or NATO-6 )

Those employees of International organizations who were employed in such capacities for at least 15 years, and out of 7 last years, spent 3.5 in the U.S. may apply for special adjustment after retirement or separation. The spouses of the retired or deceased employees may qualify for the permanent residence a well.

Adjustment for Children of current or former officers or employees of international organizations

Children who are under 25, unmarried, who lived in G visa status for at least seven years between 5 and 21, and for at least 3.5 years out of the seven years prior to the application, may qualify for the adjustment independently.

16 September 2015
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