Green Card for an American Indian Born in Canada

If you prove you are an American Indian born in Canada and have at least 50% American Indian blood, you may be granted admission to the United States without restriction.

If you maintain your principal residence in the United States, you may become a lawful permanent resident and be issued a Green Card.

Eligibility Criteria

You may be eligible to receive a Green Card (permanent residence) as an American Indian born in Canada if you:

  • Have at least 50% American Indian blood;
  • Were born in Canada; and
  • Have maintained your principal residence in the United States since your last entry.

You must have proof of your American Indian ancestry based on your familial blood relationship to parents, grandparents, and/or great-grandparents who are or were registered members of a recognized Canadian Indian First Nation or U.S. Indian tribe.
You cannot apply for permanent residence if your tribal membership comes through marriage or adoption.

Requesting a Creation of Record

A creation of record is used to document an alien’s admission for lawful permanent residence. To request a creation of record, you must:

  • Schedule an InfoPass appointment and appear in person at your local USCIS office. You do not have to complete an application or pay a fee to request a creation of record.
  • Bring the following to your appointment:
    • Two passport-style photos;
    • A copy of your government-issued photo identification;
    • A copy of your long form Canadian birth certificate
    • A copy of your parents’ long form Canadian birth certificate (to establish lineage to named ancestors from whom you and your parents derived American Indian blood);
    • Documentation establishinges that you did in fact derive at least 50% American Indian blood from your parents and named ancestors. This documentation must come from the official tribal government of a legally recognized Canadian Indian First Nation or U.S. Indian tribe, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, or the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs.

You must submit clear, legible photocopies of the original documents. If you submit any document in a foreign language, you must also include a full English translation.

Letters or identification cards issued by Metis associations or other third parties, by themselves, cannot definitively establish your American Indian blood percentage in reference to a specific Canadian Indian Band or U.S. Indian tribe.

Recognized Canadian Indian Bands and U.S. Indian Tribes

Your documentation should clearly identify by name the Canadian Indian First Nation or U.S. Indian tribe (PDF) from which you derive your American Indian blood.

Relevant Statute & Regulations

INA section 289 [8 U.S.C. § 1359]. Application to American Indians born in Canada

Nothing in this title shall be construed to affect the right of American Indians born in Canada to pass the borders of the United States, but such right shall extend only to persons who possess at least 50 per centum of blood of the American Indian race.
 

8 CFR section 289.1. Definition.
The term “American Indian born in Canada” as used in section 289 of the Act includes only persons possessing 50 per centum or more of the blood of the American Indian race. It does not include a person who is the spouse or child of such an Indian or a person whose membership in an Indian tribe or family is by adoption.
 

8 CFR section 289.2. Lawful admission for permanent residence.
Any American Indian born in Canada who at the time of entry was entitled to the exemption provided for such person by the Act of April 2, 1928, (45 Stat.401), or section 289 of the Act, and has maintained residence in the United States since his entry, shall be regarded as having been lawfully admitted for permanent residence.

Family of American Indians Born in Canada

Your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 (known as “derivatives”) are not eligible to receive permanent residence based on your status. If they are American Indians born in Canada who have at least 50% American Indian blood and meet the residence requirements, they may become permanent residents on their own. If they are not American Indians born in Canada, you may file a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, after you obtain proof that you are a permanent resident of the United States.

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