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DownloadLearn more about how the immigration process works and help you with your immigration concerns and questions. The Charleston USA Immigration Law Center is here to support you in your goal to become a United States citizen.


Unique circumstances sometimes mandate unique solutions! That was the U.S. government's 1966 answer to accepting Cubans fleeing from the iron fist of Cuba. Sometimes known as the "one year and a day rule" it was a custom designed road to permanent residency (green card) and eventual citizenship. It is still good law today but with a significant alteration.

Originally, if Cuban refugees were rescued at sea they were admitted to the US. and since 1995, if they are intercepted they are returned or sent to accommodating third countries. However, if they get ashore they are lawfully admitted or paroled into the US. Making it to "dry land" is essential.

After one year and a day they can adjust status, provided,

1. It can be proven that they are a Cuban national (Cuban passport or birth certificate is best evidence),

2. They were admitted into the U.S. with inspection after January 1, 1959 and did not sneak in,

3. They have been physically present in the U.S. for at least 1 year prior to filing for their adjustment of status,

4. They can produce a local U.S. jurisdiction police clearance from any location where they resided for at least 6 months since their 14th birthday,

5. Even if they were a public charge.


No preliminary petition, which would form a basis for the adjustment of status filing, is necessary. The application to adjust status to that of a permanent resident were formerly processed and approved by an immigration judge and by the USCIS & the former INA. Now, only the USCIS can approve these petitions. Application will require USCIS form I-485, I-693 Medical Report, I-643 Health and Human Services Statistical Data Sheet, G-325, photographs, accompanying documentation and all required filing fees. The interview and approval can take up to 5 years.


Now, Cuban refugees arrested at their border entry are usually declared Cuban asylees and referred to Immigration Court which places them into removal or deportation. These are not typical or normal asylee cases. If this happens retain a Charleston immigration attorney to postpone the judicial proceedings and quickly file your adjustment of status with the USCIS.

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Charleston USA Immigration Law Center, LLP - Immigration Lawyer in Charleston, SC
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