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For several years, the Cuban Adjustment Act has provided certain immigration privileges to immigrants from Cuba. Thanks to this law, Cubans who illegally immigrate to the United States may be eligible to obtain a Green Card.

Call us today. Our Los Angeles immigration lawyers can provide you with more information about the Cuban Adjustment Act. With our help, you will know whether or not you can apply for a Green Card under this law. 


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What Is The Cuban Adjustment Act In The United States?

The Cuban Adjustment Act (CAA) is a U. S. federal law that allows Cubans to become lawful permanent residents. Through this law, eligible Cubans can adjust their status and obtain a Green Card.

requirements of the cuban adjustment act

President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Cuban Adjustment Act into law in 1966. As a result, it granted work permits and lawful permanent residence to certain Cubans in the country. 

Since then, the Cuban population in the U. S. has grown from about 70,000 to more than 430,000. This occurred between 1960 and 1970, when thousands of exiles from Cuba sought asylum in the United States

Note: There is a bill called: “Venezuelan Adjustment Act”. This legislative initiative would be similar to CAA but for Venezuelan nationals.

Latest News On The Cuban Adjustment Law In 2024

Currently, the Cuban Adjustment Act requires that Cuban immigrants be inspected and admitted or placed on parole. This will qualify them for permanent residence after one year in the U. S. 

However, policy changes have led to many Cubans receiving different documents. As a result, it prevents them from applying for the Green Card. 

The proposed bill seeks to address this problem by establishing special regulations for Cuban immigrants under new border rules. 

It will also tighten the asylum system and establish shorter deadlines for cases and deportations. Likewise, it also provides aid to Cubans and Haitians released at the border. 

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If you must appear in court, our attorneys will represent you in Los Angeles immigration court. Call us and we will help you.

What Is The New Bill For Cuban Immigrants?

A bipartisan immigration bill in the U. S. Senate seeks to address challenges for Cuban immigrants at the border with Mexico. 

The proposal would eliminate restrictive requirements for obtaining Green Cards. In addition, the project establishes specific rules for Cubans and Haitians released at the border. This would allow them to access support services as refugees. 

However, the bill would also tighten the asylum system and speed up deportation processes. If you are facing this, our immigration attorneys are specialists in deportation and will be able to defend you.

Legal Immigration To The U. S. For Cubans

What happens to Cubans who arrive in the United States in 2024? Well, currently, Cubans can legally immigrate to the country through:

Visas are usually issued as soon as the immigration petition is approved by USCIS. In addition, foreign Cubans could also qualify by means of family-based immigration or an employment petition. 

Modifications And Changes To The Cuban Adjustment Law

The original law allowed Cubans to obtain a Green Card after being present in the United States for two years. However, amendments such as that of 1976 (94-571) reduced this period to one year.

This law has had few changes, except for the wet feet, dry feet policy that limited its scope in 1996. Although it was repealed by President Barack Obama in 2017. Currently, the Cuban Adjustment Act remains in effect. 

Chronology Of The Cuban Adjustment Act

  • January 3, 1961: Diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States are ended.
  • April 17, 1961: President John F. Kennedy sends Cuban exiles to overthrow Castro.
  • October 14 – 28, 1962: The Cuban nuclear missile crisis leads to a denuclearization agreement between the U. S. and the USSR.
  • November 2, 1966: Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Cuban Adjustment Act.
  • April 1, 1980: More than 10,000 Cubans seek refuge in the Peruvian embassy in Cuba.
  • April 20, 1980: Fidel Castro allows Cubans to leave the port of Mariel.
  • June 20, 1980: Jimmy Carter approves the Cuban-Haitian Entry Program (CHEP).
  • October 1980: Conclusion of the Mariel Boatlift exodus with 125,000 Cubans arriving in Florida.
  • August 8, 1994: Fidel Castro allows Cubans to leave the island by boat.
  • 1995: President Clinton establishes the “Wet feet, dry feet” policy.
  • January 12, 2017: President Obama resumes diplomatic relations with Cuba, ends “wet feet, dry feet” and modifies the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966.

What Are The Benefits Of Cubans In The United States?

The most important advantage that Cuban immigrants have is that they immediately receive certain immigration reliefs. In addition to these, the following advantages are present:

  • Receive lawful permanent residence or Green Card.
  • Lawful permanent resident status extends to spouses and children.
  • It acts as a humanitarian measure with the objective of ensuring the obtaining of American citizenship when they cannot do so through conventional means.
  • There are provisions that allow victims of domestic abuse to qualify for Cuban adjustment.
  • Applicants under CAA can leave the country without losing their processing status, unlike other immigration relief.
  • Any Cuban citizen can adjust their status under CAA, even without risk of political persecution.

Requirements To Become a lawful Permanent Resident Through The Cuban Adjustment Law In 2024

To be eligible for the Green Card under the Cuban Adjustment Act, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a native or citizen of Cuba.
  • Correctly file Form I-485 , application to register permanent residence or adjustment of status.
  • Be admissible to the United States. If not, you must be eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility or another form of immigration relief.
  • Be physically present in the United States for at least one year at the time of filing Form I-485.
  • Be admitted by USCIS.
  • Have been inspected and admitted or received a parole after January 1, 1959.

For more information about eligibility, contact us. Our lawyers will analyze your immigration possibilities. 

Eligibility Requirements for relatives

Family members must meet the following eligibility criteria: 

  • You are not a Cuban citizen, but are currently one’s spouse or unmarried child under the age of 21, or are a Cuban citizen who meets the CAA requirements.
  • You have successfully filed Form I-485:
    • Together with your spouse or parent,
    • While your Cuban spouse or parent’s form is pending with USCIS, or
    • After USCIS approves your Cuban spouse or parent’s form. But, your Cuban spouse or parent must be a lawful permanent resident.

Documents That Evidence Cuban Citizenship Or The Native Requirement

To apply for a Green Card under the Cuban Adjustment Act, you must prove that you are a Cuban native or citizen. Thus:

If you were born in Cuba, you must submit:

  • Expired or valid Cuban passport. 
  • Cuban birth certificate issued by the Cuban civil registry.
news on the cuban adjustment act

If you were born outside of Cuba, you must submit:

  • Valid Cuban passport.
  • Cuban citizenship letter.
  • Cuban nationality certificate.

It should be noted that it will not be enough to confirm that you are a Cuban citizen if:

  1. You were born outside of Cuba but at least one of your parents is Cuban, or
  2. You have Cuban birth documents abroad.

Even if the birth or consular certificate indicates that the person is a Cuban citizen, this is still true. USCIS does not certify denied CAA cases at the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO), consistent with current internal practice and guidance. 

If you are looking for information on whether you can win an immigration appeal process, check our respective blog. 

Evidence Of Having Been Inspected And Admitted 

Evidence of legal admission or temporary stay permission may include:

  • Passport, and 
  • Form I-94, arrival/departure. 

Once this is done, you can apply for adjustment of status immediately after obtaining temporary parole. However, you must have been present in the country for at least a year. This differs from consular processing.

Note: If you are a J-1 or J-2 nonimmigrant under the 2-year foreign residency requirement, you will not be able to adjust your status. However, you may do so if you have met this requirement, received a waiver or exemption from the Department of State.

How To Apply For Cuban Adjustment Act Benefits In 2024?

You may file Form I-485 with USCIS to apply for a CAA-based Green Card if you:

  • Have been physically present in the United States, and
  • Meet all the necessary requirements.

Of course, it is best to have an immigration attorney help you with this process. Call us, our professionals will take care of all these procedures.

How Long Does It Take To become a lawful permantent resident via The Cuban Adjustment Law?

Cubans who want to go to the United States

Originally, in 1966, Cubans had to wait at least two years to apply for lawful permanent residence. However, in 1976, the waiting time was reduced to 1 year.

Currently, the process for lawful permanent residence through Cuban adjustment can take on average between 9 and 12 months. But this law contains a “setback” provision, which can delay residency approval by up to 30 months.

Documents That Must Be Submitted For The Cuban Adjustment Law

To apply for benefits under the Cuban Adjustment Act, you must have the following documents on hand:

  • Form I-485.
  • Two passport type photographs.
  • Copy of a government-issued photo ID.
  • Copy of birth certificate.
  • Evidence that proves that you are a Cuban citizen.
  • Proof of having been physically present in the United States for at least one year before filing Form I-485.
  • Copy of the passport page with the nonimmigrant visa. For example, the J-1 visa (if applicable).
  • Copy of the passport page with the admission or permit stamp issued by an immigration officer.
  • Copy of Form I-94 or temporary stay permit from Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
  • Certified court records regarding arrests, criminal charges or convictions (if necessary).

If you are wondering: “Why didn’t they stamp my passport when entering the United States” in our blog you will find the answer.

Documents That Relatives Must Submit

Your family members will have to submit the same documents as you, with the exception of these additional ones:

  • Copy of the Green Card or Form I-797, notification of approval or receipt of Form I-485 from the Cuban spouse or parent. 
  • Copy of the documentation evidencing the relationship with the Cuban father or spouse. For example, a marriage or birth certificate. 
  • Copy of the document showing that the relative is a citizen of Cuba.

Other Forms To Submit

If applicable, you must submit one of the following forms:

  • Form I-601, request for exemption from grounds of inadmissibility.
  • Form I-212, application for permission to reapply for admission to the United States after deportation or removal.
  • Form I-693, medical examination report and immunization record.
  • Form I-566, Interagency File Request – Employment Authorization for A, G or NATO Dependent, or Change/Adjustment to/from A, G or NATO Status.
  • Form I-508, application for waiver of certain rights, privileges, exemptions and immunities. For example, those who have a diplomatic visa.
  • Form I-612, application for exemption from the foreign residency requirement. 

Some of these ways; including the I-485, require a USCIS filing fee. However, you may be eligible for a fee waiver.

Documents For Employment Authorization And Advance Parole Under The Cuban Adjustment Law

Normally, once you have Form I-485 in process, you can file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. This will be under the (c)(9) filing category. 

If you need to temporarily leave the United States while your Form I-485 is pending, you can:

  • Consult Form I-131, travel document application, or
  • Contact our immigration lawyers at Lluis Law.
can an illegal immigrant fly within the US

Can an illegal immigrant fly within the U. S? Delve more into the topic in our post. 

Grounds Of Inadmissibility For The Cuban Adjustment Law

To obtain a Green Card, you must be admissible to the United States. This means that you should not be subject to certain grounds of inadmissibility under section 212(a) of the INA. 

If you apply for CAA, all grounds for inadmissibility apply to you. For example, health reasons, criminal activity, fraud or unlawful presence, except for the following:

  • Public charge,
  • Certification of employment status, and 
  • Documentation requirements.

If you are undocumented and caught under illegal reentry after deportation, you may face deportation proceedings.

Either way, if you are inadmissible, you may be eligible for an I-601 or I-212 waiver. Call us and we will help you correctly apply for a waiver to the U. S.

Find out what are deportable offenses in our blog and what happens if you overstay your U. S. visa.

Do Wives Victims Of Domestic Violence And Battered Children Qualify For A CAA Exemption?

Both spouses who are victims of domestic violence and abused children are covered by the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

How Much Does It Cost To Apply For The Green Card Through The Cuban Adjustment Act In 2024?

Minors under 14 years of age who are going to submit their application along with the I-485 of one of their parents must pay $750. If you do not present it with any of them, then the cost increases to $1,140.

Applicants between 14 and 78 years of age have to pay a total of $1,225, which includes the biometric fee. Those aged 79 or older must pay $1,140.

If Form I-485 is filed on a shelter-in-place basis, there will be no cost.

What Is The Difference Between Asylum And The Cuban Adjustment Act?

The main difference is that Cubans who arrive at a port of entry cannot automatically benefit from the Cuban Adjustment Act (CAA). Therefore, they need proper documentation and comply with time requirements in the U. S. 

However, they have the option to apply for political asylum if they do not qualify for the CAA, and after 365 days in the U. S they can qualify for the CAA. This will be to adjust their status to lawful permanent resident unless they choose another path, such as marriage.

In any case, both immigration procedures will allow those eligible to legally enter the United States

Can I Work While Applying For Residency Under The Cuban Adjustment Law?

Yes. The application for employment authorization is made through Form I-765. After being completed and signed it must be sent to USCIS.

Frequently Asked Questions About The Cuban Adjustment Act

Who can benefit from the Cuban Adjustment Law?

This law only benefits those born in Cuba or those who have obtained Cuban nationality. Additionally, they must live in the United States and meet eligibility requirements.

Can I be eligible for CAA if I entered the U. S. with another nationality?

You may be eligible for the Cuban Adjustment Act as soon as you prove that you are a Cuban citizen or possess that nationality as well.

Can I Leave the U. S. After Applying for Cuban Adjustment of Status?

It is advisable not to do so, unless it involves force majeure circumstances. Although the law does not say anything about whether the year of presence must be fulfilled continuously or not. In any case, the duration and purpose of the trip will be taken into account. 

Immigration Lawyers Experts In Cuban Adjustment Requests

Now that you know what the Cuban Adjustment Act did for these nationals, you may be eligible. If you need to process the Green Card based on the Cuban Adjustment Law, you are in the right place. 

We are an immigration law firm of Cuban origin with more than 50 years of experience on the matter. Call now and get a professional, no-obligation consultation.


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