Foreign Diplomats and Employees of International Organizations Applying for Green Cards
Adjustment of Status for Diplomats and International Organization Employees
A foreign national who works for an embassy or consulate in the U.S. will hold an A visa, while a foreign national who works for an international organization in the U.S. will hold a G visa. Sometimes a foreign national who holds an A visa or a G visa will spend a long time in the U.S. They may consider the possibility of getting a green card. This would require waiving their rights, privileges, and immunities. The diplomatic status conferred by an A visa or a G visa allows these foreign nationals to live in the U.S. without paying taxes, and it may shield them from being prosecuted for crimes in some cases.
A Section 13 applicant should apply for a green card by using Form I-485.
The U.S. also provides a specific type of green card, known as Section 13, to certain types of foreign nationals who have diplomatic or semi-diplomatic duties. These could be A visa holders working for an embassy or consulate, as well as G visa holders working for an international organization. You may be eligible for a Section 13 green card if you did not maintain your diplomatic status, but you have a compelling reason for being unable to return to your home country. You must show that you are not inadmissible to the U.S. on other grounds and that you have good moral character. If you have dependent family members living in the U.S. with you, they can share your Section 13 status. Section 13 green cards are capped at 50 per year for qualifying foreign nationals.
Sometimes Section 13 can be a useful alternative to asylum. If a foreign diplomat is stationed in the U.S. during a regime change in their home country, they may face a serious risk of death or bodily harm if they return home. Instead of facing the daunting process of applying for asylum, they could get a Section 13 green card. However, if they do not have a very strong reason for not returning home, or if they do not have decision-making responsibilities, they probably would need to apply for asylum instead.
Special Green Cards for Employees of International Organizations
If you lived in the U.S. for at least 15 years in total while you were working for an international organization, you may be eligible for a specific type of green card. You would need to show that you had lived in the U.S. for at least half of the previous seven years before filing the application. This involves submitting a Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant (Form I-360) to USCIS within six months of your retirement. If you are the spouse of someone who qualifies for this status, you may be able to get a green card as well.
If you were the spouse of a deceased foreign national who worked for an international organization, you may be eligible for this type of green card. You would need to file the application within six months of your spouse’s death.
An unmarried child of a current or former employee of an international organization may be able to get a green card if they are under 25. They would need to show that they spent at least seven total years in the U.S. on a G visa between the ages of five and 21, and they lived in the U.S. for at least half of the seven years preceding their application.
Children of Foreign Diplomats
Children born in the U.S. to foreign diplomatic officers on the “Blue List” are not U.S. citizens by birth, but they may be eligible for a green card through creation of record.