New Biden Policy Would Help Undocumented Spouses Gain Permanent Residence

President Joe Biden and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced a new policy on June 18 that would allow noncitizen spouses of U.S. citizens to apply for lawful permanent residence without having to leave the U.S. and be processed in another country – a measure meant to promote family unity within the immigration system.

In order to be eligible, as of June 17, 2024 noncitizen spouses must have resided in the U.S. for 10 or more years and be legally married to a U.S. citizen, while also satisfying all applicable legal requirements, according to President Biden’s announcement.

“Contrary to popular belief, undocumented immigrants cannot simply marry U.S. citizens to obtain legal status,” National Public Radio said in a story on the policy announcement. “For mixed-status marriages, this has meant that attempts to legalize could end up in long-term separation of families.”

DHS estimates that 500,000 noncitizen spouses of U.S. citizens could be eligible to access the new process, and that approximately 50,000 noncitizen children of these spouses could be eligible to seek parole under this process. 

President Biden’s announcement also implemented a new policy that would help DACA recipients and other Dreamers who have earned a degree at an accredited institution of higher education in the U.S., and who have received an offer of employment from a U.S. employer in a field related to their degree, to more quickly receive work visas.

“This new policy is wonderful news and a beacon of hope for families,” said Immigration Law Attorney Lisa Rivas, a Partner with Cramer & Anderson, a multilingual firm with offices in Danbury, Ridgefield, New Milford, and Litchfield. “Several things are important for noncitizen spouses to keep in mind.”

  • The application process is expected to begin later this summer.
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will first publish a Federal Register Notice to implement the process, explain the application process, and provide additional guidance on requirements to be considered for parole in place.
  • This notice will explain what forms to file, the associated filing fees, any required documentation, and supporting evidence that will be needed to request parole in place.
  • The process is likely to be complex enough that properly applying will require the assistance of an attorney.

See the Fact Sheet: 
DHS Announces New Process to Promote the Unity and Stability of Families

USCIS said the DHS will consider applications on a case-by-case basis, and to qualify those who apply must meet the following requirements:

  • Have been continuously physically present without admission or parole in the United States for 10 years or more.
  • Have no disqualifying criminal convictions.
  • Do not pose a threat to national security and public safety and pass vetting
  • Are otherwise eligible to apply for adjustment of status and merit a favorable exercise of discretion.

In announcing the new policy, President Biden said those who are approved after DHS’s case-by-case assessment of their application will be afforded a three-year period to apply for permanent residency. They will be allowed to remain with their families in the United States and be eligible for work authorization for up to three years. This will apply to all married couples who are eligible, the President’s announcement said. 

Anyone with questions about the new policy, or who wishes to prepare for submitting an application, should contact Attorney Rivas by phone at 203-744-1234, or by email at

Attorney Rivas has significant experience with the full range of immigration issues, including removal proceedings, asylum interviews, family petitions, National Visa Center, Consular processing, and SIJ status matters.

About Cramer & Anderson

Cramer & Anderson provides sophisticated legal services, close to home, with regional offices in New Milford, Litchfield, Danbury, and Ridgefield. For more information, see the firm’s website or call the flagship office in New Milford at (860) 355-2631.

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