How To Go From A DACA To A Green Card?


You are a dreamer if your parents came to America illegally and brought you with them. No, we are not talking about your dreams; we are talking about DACA. DACA holders are also called dreamers. DACA is referred to as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival. Without DACA, the US would have departed you because you didn’t have any logical and legal reason to stay in the US. 

Even though DACA allows you to work, you can get a social security number and driver’s license, but DACA has its challenges. You have to renew your DACA every one or two years. Getting a green card is a dream because you can get loans and permanent residency. We are sure that you also wonder whether you can go from a DACA to a green card. You might be wondering about the options you have to enjoy the US permanently. Let’s take a look!

Can DACA Holders Get Green Cards?

Yes, DACA holders can get a green card under certain conditions. There are specific eligibility criteria that you must meet to get a green card. DACA holders do not have a direct path to get permanent residency. In short, they must have some other factors that facilitate them to apply for a green card, such as; being married to a US citizen, particular employment, etc. One of the most common ways is to get married to a US citizen. 

DACA Path To A Green Card Through Employment

Unfortunately, not every DACA recipient can benefit from an employment-based green card. INA Immigration and Nationality Act has set laws that indicate who can get a green card and who can’t. One way to get a green card is to be sponsored by the employer. But it doesn’t guarantee that you will qualify for the green card.

Only the following DACA recipients can qualify for an employment-based green card:

DACA Holders Who Are Eligible For INA 245(I)

DACA recipient who has less than six months of unlawful presence after turning 18: The individuals having more than six months of illegal existence trigger a bar of 3 to 10 years. 

DACA holders who have a US citizen spouse who qualifies for a waiver of the bar: The people who trigger a bar of 3 to 10 years for the unlawful presence may still benefit if they have a permanent resident spouse of the US. If they have a qualifying spouse, they can waive the bar.

DACA To A Green Card Through Marriage

If you are a DACA recipient and married to a US citizen, you may be eligible to get a green card. Getting married to get a green card is not a good thing to do. But, if you qualify, you can take advantage of this green option. A spouse is considered one of the closest relatives who provide you eligibility to apply for a green card.

However, there are two ways that a DACA recipient can apply for a green card being married to a US citizen.

Consular Processing

DACA holders have to apply for a green card at a US embassy or consulate in consular processing. Because being married to the US, the citizen doesn’t mean that you have legal entry into the US. Lawful access means that you were admitted to the US with proper documentation and face-to-face inspection. For example, an undocumented individual who stayed in the US unlawfully leaves the country and tries to re-enter; he’ll end up in bars. So, consular processing is the best option to get legal entry into the US.

You have to follow some simple steps to go from DACA to a green card through consular processing:

  • First things first, you have to establish eligibility. By being married to a US citizen, you automatically became eligible. You have to show valid proof of your marriage.
  • Next, you have to file an I-130 petition. You are the beneficiary, and your spouse is the petitioner. Once your petition is completed and approved, you will receive an I-797 Notice for Action.
  • You will need to get your visa number from the National Visa Center. There is no need to worry because the visas are unlimited for petitions based on immediate relatives.
  • National Visa Center will notify you when you can apply for an immigrant visa. You will have to submit your immigrant visa fee, visa application, and complete documents. Then you will submit a DS-260 form.
  • After everything is submitted and processed, the consular office will call you for a meeting. If you get approved, you will receive a visa packet.
  • And then a dream come true happens. You can enter the US with your visa packet. USIC will send your green card to your registered US address.

This process is time taking, and you will have to be patient. It can take up to 12 months, but trust us; outcomes will make you happy.

Adjustment of status

Unlike consular processing, you have to apply for an adjustment of status while you are in the US. It would be best to acquire a legal entry for adjustment of status. Individuals having no legal access are denied. It is more than vital that you maintained your DACA status until this happens.

These conditions make it very difficult to apply for a green card even though you have DACA. But you can follow the given steps for success:

  • You have to establish your eligibility with valid proof of your marriage to a US citizen.
  • You have to be present in the US at the time of the process. You will have to make a lawful entry into the US with the I-130 petition approved.
  • You will have to attend USCIS appointments. They will inform you about the screening appointment, including biometric tests. They will take your photo, fingerprints, and signature to ensure that you are not involved in criminal activities. Once you are verified, you and your spouse will be called for an interview.
  • And then, wait for your green card. Once everything is verified, USCIS will mail your green card to our registered address.

INA 245(a)

INA 245(a) is a piece of legislation that permits you to apply for a green card. In general, if you lived in the US illegally, you must spend a specific period outside the US to re-enter. But with the help of the Immigration and Nationality Act 245(a), having a lawful entry can waive the period you would be barred.

Requirements for DACA to Green Card applicants married to US citizen

Following are some of the basic requirements you need to fulfill to go from DACA to a green cardholder.

Legal Entry

Dreamer’s first entry with their parents was unlawful and illegal. But it would help if you made a legal entry based on an exit for one of the following reasons:

  • For Education
  • For Employment
  • Medical Appointment

Many DACA recipients already have legal entry, but you have to make one if you don’t.

Eligible For An Immigrant Visa

You must be eligible for an immigrant visa. Your eligibility depends upon an I-130 petition and a legal entry.

Immediate Availability

There is no such visa limit for the immediate relative petition. Therefore, the visas are immediately available. Just the process can take 10-12 months.

Major Considerations

You can enjoy a hundred benefits by being married to a US citizen. But it has its challenges. An individual will have to go through many hurdles if he has ever:

  • Committed a crime
  • Tried to deceive authorities with fraud documents
  • Misrepresented himself
  • Left the US and re-entered without proper inspection and parole

Final Words

You have multiple options to transfer from a DACA to a green card. Make use of every opportunity to get yours. Your marriage to a US citizen can benefit you in the longer run. You are a dreamer, make use of this opportunity and make your dreams come true.