Benefits under the Family Unity Program

Benefits under the Family Unity Program

The Family Unity Program was created in 1990 to benefit family members of immigrants who were able to legalize their status under the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act.  Family members are given extended periods of voluntary departure and employment authorization so that they could remain with their legalized family members in the US.

The New Family Unity Program is part of a series of new immigration laws that are overhauling our current immigration system.  The New Family Unity Program consists of rules and provisional waivers that aim to help applicants and their families avoid unnecessary and lengthy separation. Some of these include the "Obama waiver", or provisional waiver form, and the new family unity waiver.  These all apply to family members of a US citizen or legal permanent resident who entered the United States without proper inspection but now wish to pursue their green card, visa, or citizenship.

What are the benefits under the Family Unity Program?

Family unity benefits under IMMACT 90 provide you with two main benefits.   You are authorized to remain in the United States for two years, and you will receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) valid for the same period.

If you are granted family unity benefits under LIFE Act Amendments, you are authorized to remain in the United States for two years (or one year if your spouse or parent has not adjusted to lawful permanent resident status). You will receive an EAD valid for the same period. You should file only this Application for Family Unity Benefits with supporting documents to request authorization to remain in the United States and receive an EAD.

If after being granted family unity benefits under either IMMACT 90 or the LIFE Act Amendments you intend to travel outside the United States temporarily, you must apply for advance authorization by completing Application for Travel Document. Upon approval of your application for travel, you will be issued Authorization of Parole into the United States.  Advance parole allows you to leave United States and be paroled back into the United States when you return.

USCIS Eligibility Requirements for Filing Your Application for Family Unity Benefits

Under IMMACT 90

To prove eligibility for Family Unity Program benefits under IMMACT 90, you must meet the following conditions:

  1. You must have entered the United States prior to May 5, 1988, or December 1, 1988, as appropriate to the section of law that applies to you, and have been continuously residing in the United States since that date.
  2. You were the spouse or unmarried child under 21 years of age of a legalized alien as of May 5, 1988, or December 1, 1988, as appropriate, and you have been continuously eligible since that date for family -sponsored immigrant status based on your relationship to that person.

NOTE: If you were an unmarried child under 21 years of age as of May 5, 1988, or December 1, 1988, as appropriate, who has since been married, you will be regarded as continuously eligible for family-sponsored immigration benefits only if you were married after the legalized alien, through whom your eligibility was gained, naturalized as a U.S. citizen.

Under LIFE Act Amendments

To prove eligibility for Family Unity Program benefits under the LIFE Act Amendments, you must be the spouse or unmarried child under 21 years of age of an alien who is eligible for adjustment under section 1504(b) of the LIFE Act and:

  1. Your spouse or parent has applied for or been granted adjustment of status; and
  2. You entered the United States before December 1, 1988, and resided in the United States on that date.

A legalized alien is someone who obtained temporary or permanent residence in the United States as a Special Agricultural Worker under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).  For the purposes of this form, a legalized alien is also someone who obtained permanent residence through a Cuban/Haitian Adjustment under section 202 of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.

How do I apply for Family Unity Benefits from USCIS?

You will need to submit an Application for Family Unity Benefits to gain Family Unity Program benefits under the Immigration Act of 1990 (IMMACT 90), or if you are applying under Legal Immigration Family Equity Act (LIFE Act) Amendments.

Immigration Lawyer Assistance Application for Family Unity Benefits

If you need to determine whether you are eligible for Family Unity Program benefits, or for more information and advice on any of your immigration issues, please contact my office at (949)228-3922 or email me at attorney@lawofficesofjackcsung.com to receive a free consultation with immigration attorney. Immigration law office located at 2975 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 352 Los Angeles, CA 90010. Click here to submit a consultation form to receive advice directly from immigration attorney. Click here to return to the home page.

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