Monthly Archives: August 2015

Green Cards for Native American Indians Born in Canada

Any Native Indian who was born in Canada and is at least 50% American Indian blood can enter the United States without a visa or green card. To do so, you must inform a customs officer at a port of entry that you are an American Indian born in Canada and provide the appropriate documents to support your status.

Native Indians may also qualify for permanent residence (known as a Green Card) if they meet the following criteria:

  • Possess 50% or more American Indian blood
  • Born in Canada
  • Proof of ancestry (as determined by blood relationship to parents, grandparents, or great grandparents who were registered members of a formally registered Canadian Indian Band or U.S. Indian tribe)
  • State to a customs officer of your intent to permanently reside in the United States

Note that you are not eligible for a green card if you became a member of a tribe through adoption or marriage. Rather, your status must be based on your blood and race. Further, a Native Indian’s spouse and children cannot obtain permanent residency by virtue of the primary applicant’s status. However, the primary applicant can sponsor a spouse and children for green cards after becoming a permanent resident first.

To find out if you are a member of a federally recognized Canadian Indian Band, click HERE.

To find out if you are a member of a recognized U.S. Indian Tribe, click HERE.

Family-Based Green Card Petitions For Non Immediate Family Members And A Priority Date That Is Not Current

U.S. citizens sponsoring a foreign spouse, parent, or unmarried child under 21 usually get green cards approved because the beneficiaries are classified as immediate relatives and their Priority Dates are always current. But what happens when you are sponsoring other family members?

In addition to the aforementioned immediate relatives, U.S. citizens can also sponsor siblings as well as sons and daughters over 21. Permanent residents (green card holders) can sponsor spouses, children under 21, and unmarried sons and daughters over 21.

The first step in sponsoring a non-immediate relative is for the U.S. citizen to file a petition, which sets the Priority Date. Once the petition is approved, the petitioner or beneficiary should monitor the Visa Bulletin, which is updated every month. Once the Priority Date becomes “current,” the beneficiary will be able to apply for a green card either through adjustment of status or at the consulate in Montreal.

Example: Assume that Henry, a U.S. permanent resident, filed a petition to sponsor his wife Wendy, an Indian citizen, on August 15, 2015. This means that the Priority Date is August 15, 2015. The petition was approved and they monitor the Visa Bulletin on a regular basis. The family-based category is “F2A” (spouse of a permanent resident) and Wendy’s country of chargeability is India. Based on this, they can see that Priority Date for them is not yet current. When the Visa Bulletin finally shows 15AUG15 (August 15, 2015) for her category, Wendy can then apply for her green card either through adjustment of status if she is in the United States at that time, or through the U.S. consulate in her home country.

The process can be analogized to the experience of going to a very busy butcher shop. Filing the petition is the first step – it’s like taking a number and waiting your turn. The Priority Date becomes current when the butcher calls out your number and asks for your order. At that time, you can “order” your green card and take it to go!