Does Your H-1B Dependent Qualify for Residency Under the Dream Act?

For decades, hundreds of thousands of families have entered the US under work visas like the H-1B, which allows the holder to bring their dependent spouse and children. The H-1B permits the beneficiaries and their families to remain in the US for three years, with an optional three-year extension. But what happens to those minors who outgrow their dependent category during that time? Without a visa, they might be deported. However, the Dream Act of 2023 could change that.

Who Are the Dreamers?

The Dream Act of 2023 (S. 365) was introduced by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) in February 2023. The act focuses on young, undocumented immigrants who have lived in the US for years, brought here by their parents. Once they become adults, they’re faced with two options: obtain legal status or get deported.

Under the Dream Act, nearly two million Dreamers meeting certain criteria would receive permanent protections to remain in the US. They’d have a conditional permanent resident status that would last up to eight years, keeping them safe from deportation provided they continued to meet the requirements for eligibility.

This status would allow the Dreamers to work, go to school, and travel outside the country. To be eligible, each individual would need to prove that they were brought to the US before they turned 18, living there for at least four years before the legislation passed.

Additionally, eligibility is determined by background checks, moral character, and a biometric and medical exam. Felonies and multiple misdemeanor convictions will invalidate eligibility. 

Each person must also have earned a high school diploma or equivalent (or be in the process of such) and/or demonstrate admittance to a college or university.

Those under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) would have automatic conditional permanent resident status.

The conditional status would become lawful permanent residency if the individual continually remained a resident in the US and graduated from a college or university, completed two years of an advanced degree, completed two years of a military track, or worked for at least three years. They must also prove that they can read, write, and speak English and are knowledgeable about the history, principles, and government in America.

Conditional status can be revoked if the holder commits a serious crime or does not meet the requirements in the terms of their residency.

H-4 Holders Can Qualify

Under the terms of the bill, H4 and L2 children who turn 21 and “age out” of the system while their H-1B holder parents are waiting for a green card can qualify. Currently, the most popular way to stay in the country is to switch to a student visa, yet not every child chooses the academic path. The Dreamers Act allows freedom of choice for each person’s future, provided they meet the characteristics of good behavior and moral character.

Children of H-1B parents could spend most of their lives in the US before they “age out.” The H-1B extends up to six years, and families can stay in the country while on the green card path. By the time the child turns 21 and faces deportation, the US could be the only home they remember.

The Dream Act is a seamless way for H-4 and L-2 holders to obtain conditional permanent residency on their own merit.

What’s Next?

Navigating immigration law is tricky, especially when legislation continues to evolve. You don’t have to face the legal system yourself and then hope you get it right. If you’re seeking an H-1B visa or trying to keep yours valid, Visa2US is here to help you. Contact our friendly immigration law professionals 24/7 to see how we can make the journey to your family’s time in the US easier.

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H-1B Visa

H-1B Visa

H-1B visa is used by businesses and organizations in the United States to employ foreign nationals with the preferred qualifications, knowledge, and expertise in a role.

I-485 Adjustment of Status

I-485 Adjustment of Status

Submit a form I-485 application to apply for lawful permanent resident status.

National Interest Waiver (NIW)

National Interest Waiver (NIW)

An applicant must either hold an advanced degree or have an exceptional ability in their field that would substantially benefit the U.S. to be qualified.