Legal Status for the Family Members of the U.S. Military

United States grants a variety of immigration benefits to the members of the U.S. armed forces and to their family members. Green cards are resident permits issued by the USCIS to eligible foreign nationals. These permits authorize them to live and work permanently in the United States. Non U.S. citizens or anyone who holds a green card can enlist in the U.S. military. In certain cases, foreign nationals who are not permanent residents will also be permitted to enlist if they hold valid visas and have Social Security numbers.

Eligible dependents of the members of the U.S. armed forces need to apply for permanent resident status in America in the same way as the other relatives of US citizens and permanent residents. The military members must sponsor their relatives by filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.

The Obama administration has introduced a new policy called “Parole in Place”. This new policy will prevent the law enforcement authorities from detaining undocumented family members of the members of the U.S. armed forces. Such family members will be permitted to apply for legal status and remain in the country. They will not be required to leave the country to apply for legal status.

This policy will benefit several military families. Family members of active duty members and veterans can apply for parole. Undocumented family members of military personnel will be permitted to stay back in the United States and obtain lawful status.

Eligible relatives need to file Form I-131, Application for Travel Document with the USCIS, to obtain lawful status. This form must be filed along with an evidence that the applicant’s family member is a member of the U.S. armed forces or a veteran. A copy of the service member’s military identification card must be submitted as proof.