Cuban Adjustment Act

In 1966 the government of the United States passed the Cuban Adjustment Act, which allows Cuban citizens who arrive in the country to enjoy certain immigration privileges. Thanks to this law, Cubans who migrate illegally to the US may be eligible to obtain the Green Card or permanent residence.


The immigration lawyers of Lluis Law are experts in the Cuban Adjustment Act and in the processing of all types of visas for the United States. We offer legal representation facing the Los Angeles Immigration Court and, in general terms, we help immigrants in any situation to fulfill their American dream.

Since then, the Cuban Adjustment Act has granted special treatment to the citizens of that country with respect to other nations. However, to be admitted to the USA, foreigners born in Cuba must meet certain requirements and conditions that we will explain in this article.

What is the Cuban Adjustment Act?

Public Law 89-732 or Cuban Adjustment Act is a federal law, enacted on November 2, 1966. This legal instrument was designed to help Cuban citizens fleeing from that country to emigrate.

The law benefits those who were born in Cuba or obtained Cuban nationality and are inspected, admitted or released in U.S. territory, after January 1, 1959. Also to people who have lived in the US for at least one year or that are admitted as permanent residents.

Through different programs, Cubans can legally emigrate to the US, including family visas, visa lottery, asylum or refuge in the United States. As with the Special Program of Cuban Migration (PEMC), also known as the Cuban lottery.

As with other nationalities, immigrant visas for Cuban relatives of US citizens are issued by the Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). This type of visa is issued for parents, spouses and unmarried children and under 21 of US citizens.

Similarly, immigrant visas are available for those who are requested by a family member or an employer under a visa preference system.

Requirements to obtain the benefits of the Adjustment Act

To obtain the Green Card under CAA, Cuban citizens must meet the following requirements:

  • Completely fill out Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status;
  • Be a Cuban citizen;
  • Have “been inspected and admitted or put under the word of the United States after January 1, 1959”, or have obtained advance parole after January 1, 1959;
  • Have lived in the United States for at least one year at the time of the submission of Form I-485;
  • Is physically present in the US during the submission of Form I-485;
  • Be eligible in the US to qualify for legal permanent Resident status or be eligible to obtain a waiver of inadmissibility or any other immigration relief,
  • Have acceptance of USCIS.
requirements of the Cuban adjustment law

Documents to be submitted

To apply for the United States Legal Residence Card based on the Cuban Adjustment Act, the interested party must present the following documents:

  • Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjustment of Status;
  • Two passport-type photographs;
  • Copy of passport or official identity document with photograph;
  • Copy of birth certificate;
  • Evidence of being a Cuban citizen;
  • Evidence of having lived in the United States for at least one prior year at the time you are submitting Form I-485;
  • Copy of the passport page with the nonimmigrant visa (if applicable);
  • Copy of the passport page with the admission stamp or permission to enter the US;
  • Copy of the form I-94, Registration of Entry / Exit, or otherwise a copy of the seal of admission of the Customs and Border Protection Service (CBP);
  • Form I-693, Medical Examination Report and Vaccination Record (can be sent along with Form I-485);
  • Certified police and / or judicial records in case of arrests, convictions or criminal charges;
  • Fill out Form I-601, Application for Exemption from Inadmissibility Causes (if requested);
  • Fill out Form I-212, Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission to the United States After Deportation or Removal (if applicable):
  • Documentation of prior J-1 or J-2 nonimmigrant status (if applicable), including proof of compliance or exemption from the foreign residency requirement under INA 212 (e).
  • People with an A, G or E status must complete and include Form I-508 to waive certain rights and privileges.
  • Fill out Form I-566, Interinstitutional Registration of Applications – Employment Authorization for Persons in Charge under NATO (if the applicant has non-immigrant status A, G or NATO).

Benefits of the Cuban Adjustment Act

The most important advantage that Cuban immigrants have over those of other nationalities is that they immediately receive migratory benefits. By stepping on American soil regardless of the media, especially illegal ones, they immediately obtain legal status in the United States.

The US government immediately grants refugee status (prima facie) to Cubans fleeing the island. In addition, they obtain facilities for work and access to social programs.

Among the main benefits obtained through the Cuban Adjustment Law in the United States we find:

  • Employment authorization automatically.
  • Processing of the Legal Residence Card without the need to provide an affidavit of support.
  • Assignment of the Social Security Number.
  • State benefits of food and lodging.
  • Adjustment of immigration status without leaving the country to carry out the consular processing.

Latest news of the Cuban Adjustment Act in 2020

As of January 1, 2018, the Cuban government decided to change the requirements so that the children of Cubans born abroad also obtain citizenship.

Before those who sought to acquire the citizenship of Cuba, were enrolled in a Cuban consulate and carried the birth certificate of their parents and their own. Then the Civil Registry issued a birth certificate, which was accepted by USCIS as valid proof of Cuban citizenship.

news in the Cuban adjustment law

Now a third step has been added. They must register with the Immigration services of Cuba, which issue a resolution of Cuban citizenship (citizenship letter).

Only after completing this procedure, is it possible to request the issuance of the Cuban passport. To qualify for the Cuban Adjustment Act, it is now essential to present the Cuban passport or letter of citizenship to USCIS.

The children and other relatives of Cubans have taken advantage of the benefit offered by the Adjustment Act to obtain family members through family-based immigration. Lluis Law immigration lawyers are professionals of Cuban origin who are experts in this area.


If you wish to obtain legal permanent Residence or Green Card through the Cuban Adjustment Law, we can help you.

Cuban Adjustment Act for Foreign Spouse

The spouse of a Cuban citizen who receives CAA can also receive legal permanent residence. Like children under 21 years. To submit a Green Card application, it does not matter when the spouse adjusted their status to permanent resident.

In the case of the spouse, the same requirements demanded of the main applicant must be met, only some of them vary. However, you must first ensure that your spouse meets all CAA requirements.

In addition to completing Form I-485, the following documents must be attached:

  • Evidence that demonstrates the relationship with the spouse (marriage certificate).
  • Evidence proving the origin of your spouse (birth certificate, passport or citizenship letter).
  • Copy of Form I-797, Notification of Approval or Receipt of Form I-485 from your spouse. It also serves a copy of your spouse’s Residence Card (this in case both spouses submit their application simultaneously).
  • Evidence that both spouses live at the same address.
  • Evidence of having been physically present in the US for at least one year.
  • Two passport-type photographs.
  • Copy of the official identity document with photograph.
  • Copy of birth certificate.
  • Copy of the passport page with the nonimmigrant visa (if applicable).
  • Copy of the passport page with the official seal of admission or permit (if applicable).
  • Copy of Form I-94, Entry / Exit Registration. A copy of the admission / permit stamp of the Customs and Border Protection Service (CBP) is also available if necessary.

Fill out all other forms indicated by USCIS and apply as appropriate for the relatives of Cuban citizens:

  • Form I-693, Medical Examination Report and Vaccine Record;
  • Police records and certified judicial records (if applicable);
  • Form I-212, Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission to the US After Deportation or Removal (if applicable):
  • Form I-601, Application for Exemption from Inadmissibility Causes (if applicable);
  • Documentation of the previous J-1 or J-2 nonimmigrant status (if applicable), including proof of compliance or exemption from the requirement of 2 years of foreign residence under INA 212 (e).
  • Form I-508, Application for Exemption of Certain Rights, Privileges, Exemptions and Immunities for persons with an A, G or E status. If French, include Form I-508F.
  • Form I-566, Application for Interinstitutional File – Employment Authorization for Dependent A, G, or NATO (if applicable).

For more information visit the USCIS website or call one of our immigration lawyers specializing in Cuban Adjustment Act. We offer you a Free Consultation without any commitment.