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A foreign national in the U.S. (on an A or G visa/ diplomatic status) is eligible to obtain a green card under Section 13 of the INA.

Acquiring Permanent Residence Status Under Section 13

Section 13 is the last resort for foreign diplomats who decide to remain in the U.S. for one reason or the other. It makes it possible for you (a foreign national with diplomatic status) to attain a green card in the U.S.

If you’re wondering if this only applies to the general meaning of “diplomats”, then the answer is no. Although it’s far easier to be eligible for Section 13 as a government official, the “diplomatic status” of Section 13 is wider, and more embracing.

Definition Of Diplomat In Relation To Section 13

Under the “dictionary” definition, a diplomat is simply an official who represents his/her country or government, abroad.

However, diplomatic status in Section 13 refers to foreign nationals who are in the U.S. on an A visa or G Visa. To be specific, the category of people that “diplomatic status” applies to under Section 13 are:

  • A-1 visa holders. They usually include heads of states or presidents, consular officers, ambassadors, ministers, and representatives of countries or international organizations.
  • A-2 visa holders. They usually include foreign officials working in the U.S. on their country’s behalf, and foreign military members who have been assigned to a military base or embassy in the U.S.(temporarily).
  • G-Visa holders, usually consisting of foreign employees of international organizations in the U.S.

Representing your country or organization in the U.S. on diplomatic status gives you access to several privileges. You get to travel to and from the U.S. as many times as you want infinitely, or for a fixed period( depending on the type of visa you have). What’s more, is that you cannot be tried in any U.S. court for committing any crime. Also, your spouse and children(below 21 years) share in these privileges.

You get to enjoy all the privileges of being a diplomat until you: Fail to maintain your diplomatic status, are unable to return home, or simply decide to remain in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident.

If you’re in any of the 3 categories above, then what you need the most is to acquire a green card. How? Section 13 of the INA.

Applying For A Green Card With A Diplomatic Status

If you want to apply for a green card as a diplomat under Section 13, then you must know: How to qualify and How to apply.

Section 13 Eligibility Requirements

If you meet the following requirements, then you may be eligible to obtain a green card with diplomatic status.

  • You must establish(with evidence) that you entered the U.S. on an A or G visa. However, you should note that this only includes A-1 and A-2 visa holders, and G-1, G-2 visa holders.
  • You must prove that you failed in maintaining your diplomatic status.
  • The duties you performed in the U.S. were diplomatic or semi-diplomatic.
  • You must provide a compelling reason why you are unable to return to your country.
  • You need to prove that you are right in conduct and character.
  • Another thing you need to provide is a compelling reason why you being an LPR would benefit the United States. Or at least be in the U.S. national interest.
  • You must establish that your admission as an LPR won’t be contrary to U.S. national security or welfare.
  • You must meet the requirements to file Form I-485(Adjustment of Status).

How To Apply For A Green Card Under Section 13

To apply for permanent residence status under Section 13, you need to file Form I-485. In addition to filing Form I-485, you also need to submit:

  • A copy of your birth certificate.
  • 2 passport photographs.
  • Proof that you entered the U.S. on an A or G visa.
  • Payment evidence of applicable fees.
  • Any other evidence or affidavit that you want to submit.
  • Form I-566, Interagency Record of Request.
  • Evidence that you have relinquished the privileges you enjoyed as a foreign diplomat. This evidence is Form I-508(Waiver of Rights, Privileges, Exemptions, and Immunities).
  • Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record(Form I-693)

Get Professional Help Today!

Before applying for a green card, you should first ensure that you’re eligible to do so. Luckily, the application process is fairly easy. We can’t, however, say the same for the eligibility requirements.

Providing all documents and proof in the requirements is a daunting task.  The elements are difficult to prove, and most of them are ambiguous. You may think they’re requesting for one thing, but they’re actually requesting something else.

The issue here is that USCIS purposely leaves the requirements ambiguous, and difficult to determine.

No matter how detailed a report is, it can never substitute a professional legal consultation. Applying for a green card under Section 13 is a tricky ordeal, and it’s best for you to get it right the first time. Of course, if you keep trying, you may eventually get it right. But at what cost?

Don’t waste your time and money! Contact The HMA Law Firm and schedule a consultation with the best immigration lawyers in Virginia.

Our dedicated attorneys will guide you through the process, provide you with valuable information, and directly help you in filing your application.

Time flies in U.S. immigration, but it moves even faster in Section 13. So, don’t miss your chance! If you’re a diplomat or a former diplomat, you need to act fast! Only 50 green cards can be granted every year, and of those, perhaps only a small handful actually get approved. As a practical matter, many Sec 13 applicants may also qualify for another form of relief or permanent status, such as asylum. We’ll help you figure it out, so don’t file anything without talking to us!

Reach out to us by jumping on a call, or filling our contact form!

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