New Programs for Spouses of US Citizens and Dreamers

June 19, 2024

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Update: 6/20/2024

Our friends at the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) have created a helpful resource:
That has an explanatory video and flyers in English and Spanish that you can give to your clients:

On June 18, 2024, the Biden administration announced two programs that provide pathways to permanent immigration status for undocumented spouse and stepchildren of U.S. Citizens, as well as DREAMers and DACA-recipients who are graduates of American colleges. The executive action is expected to benefit nearly half a million spouses and children of U.S. Citizens who are eligible to apply for permanent lawful residency but because they have been unlawfully present in the U.S. for more than six months must travel overseas to obtain immigrant visas and may risk being barred from re-entering the U.S. for three or ten years.

The program is not operational yet. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) must publish a regulation describing who is eligible, how to apply for the program, what the fee will be, what form to use and when they will start accepting applications. NOTHING CAN BE FILED YET.

Based on the Fact Sheets issued by the White House and the DHS, below are the basic outlines of the programs:

Program for Spouses and Stepchildren of US Citizens

Who is Eligible for the program for spouses and stepchildren of U.S. Citizens:

  • 1)
    Noncitizens Married to U.S. Citizens who:

    1. Are present in the United States without admission or parole, i.e. entered without papers (by crossing the southern border in between designated ports of entry), often referred to as EWI (entered without inspection)
    2. Have been continuously present in the United States for at least 10 years as of June 17, 2024, i.e. entered the U.S. on or before June 17, 2014, and have not left the U.S. and come back
    3. Have a legally valid marriage to a U.S. Citizen as of June 17, 2024

  • 2)
    Stepchildren of U.S. Citizens (Children of Noncitizens Married to U.S. Citizens) who:

    1. Are physically present in the United States without admission or parole
    2. Have a qualifying stepchild relationship to a U.S. citizen as of June 17, 2024

What are the benefits of this program?

There are two major benefits for noncitizens eligible under this program:

  1. Employment authorization for up to three years once parole is granted, and
  2. Eligible to apply for Lawful Permanent Residency in the United States within three years of obtaining parole without having to leave the U.S. as required under the current law.

How to Apply:

Do not attempt to file anything, there is no process in place yet.

The DHS will issue a regulation to establish this process, known as parole, under which DHS will consider on a case-by-case basis whether someone will receive parole under this program. At a minimum the noncitizen will likely be required to:

  • 1)
    Submit a form with USCIS along with supporting documentation to show they meet the requirements
  • 2)
    Pay a fee
  • 3)
    Go through a background check
  • 4)
    Subject to a case-by-case review by DHS to determine:

    Whether the noncitizen merits a favorable exercise of discretion and a grant of parole by considering the following factors:

    1. The noncitizen’s previous immigration history
    2. The noncitizen’s criminal history
    3. Whether the noncitizen may pose a threat to national security and public safety based on the background check
    4. Any other relevant information available to or requested by USCIS.

Work Visa Program for DREAMers and DACA-Recipients

The White House and DHS Fact Sheets also mentioned a process concerning work visas for DACA recipients and other DREAMers. There was less detail provided about this program and the Department of State will need to release a policy update or some other action before we will know how this is going to work.

Who is Eligible for the DREAMers and DACA-Recipient Work Visa Program?

  • 1)
    Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient or undocumented noncitizen who:

    1. Graduated from an accredited U.S. institution of higher education, and
    2. Received an offer of employment from a U.S. employer in a field related to their degree

How to Apply?

There are very few details on what this program will look like. The intention is that the Department of State will “clarif2024 and enhanc[e] the existing [employment based visa] process “to ensure that individuals who are educated in the U.S. are able to use their skills and education to benefit our country” and  “give U.S. employers increased confidence that they can hire the talent they need, and that they will be able to quickly get to work.”

We will be updating this post with more information as it comes out, so be sure to check back.



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