Green Cards for Foreign Diplomats Explained
A diplomat is an official representative of a country working in the US for the country of origin. They work in the embassies and consulates in various places in the US. Diplomats are given a special type of visa known as ‘A’ visa, which gives them diplomatic privileges.
Foreign nationals would also work for International organizations in the US, like the World Bank, UN, etc. They are entitled to a ‘G’ visa, which allows them to work in the US for the international organization. The ‘A’ and ‘G’ visas hold special privileges in line with International protocols.
Diplomats and foreign nationals working in International organizations would work for a long time in the USA. Such employees can consider getting a green card. The green card status ensures that they have permanent residency status in the USA. However, to get this they need to surrender the special privileges they have.
‘A’ visa holders have special privileges since they are diplomats. They don’t have to pay taxes and cannot be prosecuted for crimes, without the permission of their country. If they want to hold a green card, then they must give up those privileges. If they do not do so, then their application for a green card will be treated like all others.
Section 13 green cards
Diplomats with ‘A’ visas can apply for a special category of green cards known as Section 13 green cards. The first pre-requisite for this type of green card is that the applicants must waive the privileges they are enjoying under the diplomatic visa.
They need to submit Form I-508 (Request for waiver of rights, privileges, exemptions, and immunities) and also Form I-566 (Interagency record of request). This type of green card can be given to those who cannot return to their country for any reason.
This would be useful for foreign diplomats whose country has seen a regime change, and they face risk to their lives if they return. They need to prove that there is no ground on which they are inadmissible to the US. They also need to exhibit good moral character. On this basis, they can be issued the Section 13 green card. It must be noted that a maximum of fifty green cards under Section 13 are issued in a year.
Green cards for employees of International organizations
A foreign national working for an International organization in the USA would have a ‘G’ visa. Those who spent fifteen years or more in the US and spent half of seven years immediately prior to applying for the green card would be eligible for this special green card.
Such persons need to submit Form I-360 (Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant) within six months of their retiring from the International organization. This is a special type of green card, which can help them get permanent residency status in the US.
Green cards for family members
Dependent family members of diplomats applying for Section 13 green cards can also apply for the Section 13 green card. If the diplomat gets the Section 13 green card, the same status can be given to family members too. In the case of employees of International organizations, spouses are also eligible for a green card.
Spouses of deceased foreign nationals working for International organizations can also apply for a special green card. Unmarried children of international employees, aged below 25 can also get a special green card if they spent a total of seven years in the US, with half of the seven years prior to submitting the application.
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