What is a green card?

A “green card,” issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), provides proof of lawful permanent resident status, with authorization to live and work anywhere in the United States. Most green cards must be renewed every 10 years, but conditional green cards based on marriage or investment must be replaced after the first 2 years.

What is aging out?

According to USCIS, aging out is when “someone applies for a green card as a child (dependent on parents) but turns 21 before being approved for Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status, they are not considered a child for immigration purposes.” 

What causes the Green Card backlog and aging out?
  • The absolute root cause of this issue is “Country Caps”.  
  • “Under the per-country cap set in the Immigration Act of 1990, no country can receive more than 7 percent of the total number of employment-based and family-sponsored preference visas in a given year. ” (Migration Policy)
  • While using a standard % split of GCs seems intuitive- in practice it is not realistic nor reflective of the needs of America.
  • Think of it this way- the initial H1B lottery has no restrictions and a majority of the recipients are Indian and Chinese, then folks of these countries are subject to the 7% EB GC cap and thus there is a huge bottleneck of GCs for these countries and then the backlog begins. If there was no % restriction for the lottery, why bring one it at a later point? This is what hurts families.
  • Well what if we were to also put a % cap on the H1B lottery? Many American employers in need of STEM talent would not be able to survive.
  • Step 1 to solving this major issue is removing country caps.
What is considered a dependent visa?

 A dependent visa allows a family member (spouse, children, parents) to accompany a primary immigrant/nonimmigrant visa holder. The various types of dependent visas include E2, F2, H4, J2, and L2. Please check out our Dependent Visa Survival Guide for more information!

What can people do to prevent aging out?

In order to continue staying in the US, dependent visa children must switch to another visa before they turn 21 — the most common option is to switch to an F-1 visa.  Please check out our Dependent Visa Survival Guide for more information on how to switch over and stay on an F-1 visa. 

How do I join the Hidden Dream Community?

Fill out this google form to join our Slack community of over 500 members! We additionally host multiple workshops on various topics pertaining to dependent visa holders that you could join!

What can I do to help The Hidden Dream?

Help spread awareness and share our resources by interacting with our social media accounts and please donate to us!

Why do I need a Social Security Number (SSN)?

A Social Security number is required to get a job, collect Social Security benefits and get some other government services. A nine-digit Social Security number is your first and continuous connection with Social Security Administration. 

How can I get my Social Security Number (SSN)?

Social Security Administration (SSA) works with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to provide an opportunity for applicants to use Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) to apply for SSN card. If you complete the section on the application to request an SSN card, then USCIS will send SSA the data which they need to issue SSN card. If you apply for an SSN card using Form I-485, you do not have to contact a Social Security office to apply for an SSN card. If USCIS approves your application for LPR status – Your Lawful Permanent Resident Card or “USCIS I-551” or “green card”, SSA will mail your SSN card to the address listed on your I-485 application.

What is an Employment Authorization Document (EAD)?

Employment Authorization Document is one way to prove that you are allowed to work in the United States for a specific time period. U.S. employers must check to make sure all employees, regardless of citizenship or national origin, are allowed to work in the United States. 

How can I get my Employment Authorization Document (EAD)?

The Adjustment of status principal applicant’s dependents are allowed to apply for permanent residency at the same time as the primary applicant. Both the applicant and his/her dependents are allowed to file for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Dependents of the adjustment applicant can also file Form I-485 at the same time and are granted permanent residence at the same time as the principal applicant. Principal applicants and their dependents can file a Form I-765 along with the I-485 and request an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which grants blanket work authorization during the interim period while waiting for the green card.

What is Advance Parole (AP)?

Advance parole is a travel document issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on Form I-131 that allows certain noncitizens inside the United States to depart and seek to reenter the country after temporary travel abroad.

How can I get my Advance Parole (AP)?
  • The fastest, cheapest, and easiest way to apply for an Advance Parole (or travel document) is as part of the original green card application package you send to USCIS, by including Form I-131 Application for Travel Document along with the main forms (I-485 and I-130). You must attach a copy of your photo identification (such as a copy of the photo page of your passport) to the travel document application, as well as two passport-sized photos. 
  • If you’ve already submitted your green card application, you can still get an Advance Parole (or travel document) that will allow you to leave the United States without paying an additional fee. In this case, when you file Form I-131 with USCIS, include a copy of your photo ID, two passport-sized photos, and a copy of the receipt notice showing that USCIS previously received your green card application including the full application fee.
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