Green Card Inadmissibility Based On Membership in a Communist Party

When seeking U.S. permanent residency, the USCIS or Department of State will ask (among other things) whether the applicant has ever been a member of a Communist Party or any other totalitarian party. While many applicants will answer “no,” citizens of certain countries may have to disclose some type of affiliation with a Communist Party – even though membership was involuntary and there was no active participation.

Example: Sergei is a 30-year old U.S. citizen and he wants to sponsor his father, Fedor – a Russian citizen – for U.S permanent residency. In 1982, prior to the dissolution of the U.S.S.R., Fedor was required to register as a member of the Communist Party in order to qualify a government job. Since this was the only job available to him, and since he had three children to support, he had no choice but to register for the sake of employment. After the dissolution in 1991, Fedor ceased any affiliation with the Communist Party and found a new job as a project manager with a private manufacturing company.

In applying for Adjustment of Status, Fedor disclosed that he had been affiliated with a Communist Party from 1982 to 1991. In doing so, Fedor may have admitted to being inadmissible for purposes of obtaining a green card.

However, there are exceptions to this inadmissibility:

Involuntary Membership

Fedor may not be inadmissible if he can demonstrate that his membership or affiliation with the Communist party was “involuntary, or is or was solely when under 16 years of age, by operation of law, or for purposes of obtaining employment, food rations, or other essentials of living and whether necessary for such purposes.”

Past Membership

Fedor may also not be inadmissible if he can demonstrate that the membership or affiliation terminated at least two (2) years before the date of application; five (5) years before the date of application (if his membership or affiliation was with the party controlling the government of a foreign state that is a totalitarian dictatorship as of such date; and he is not a threat to U.S. security. In the instant case,

Close Family Members

Finally, the Attorney General may waive the application in the case of an immigrant who is the parent, spouse, son, daughter, brother, or sister of a U.S. citizen, or a spouse, son, or daughter of green card holder for humanitarian purposes, to assure family unity or in the public interest if the immigrant is not a threat to U.S. security. Since Fedor is the parent of a U.S. citizen, and he has shown that he does not pose a threat to U.S. security, his inadmissibility may be waived by an order of the Attorney General.


The USCIS called Fedor and his son in for an interview, at which time he explained that he only volunteered to be a member of the Communist Party in order to secure employment and that his membership ended in 1991. Since it had been more than twenty (20) years since his membership ended, and since he demonstrated that his membership was involuntary, the USCIS elected to waive his inadmissibility and grant him U.S. permanent residency.