Chapter 3 - International Employees of U.S. Government Abroad

A. Purpose and Background

As early as 1952, Congress provided a special immigrant category for certain employees and honorably retired former employees of the U.S. government abroad. [1] Originally, this special immigrant category had no annual limit to the number of visas that could be issued. However, these special immigrants became subject to the preference-based numerical limitations when Congress placed such special immigrants under the employment-based fourth preference visa classification. [2] 

This special immigrant category allows foreign nationals who have served faithfully in the employment of the U.S. government abroad over long periods of time to become lawful permanent residents (LPRs). [3] The U.S. Department of State (DOS) adjudicates petitions for classification as special immigrant international employees of the U.S. government abroad. 

Most applicants who immigrate as a special immigrant international employee do so from abroad, through consular processing. However, eligible applicants present in the United States may file an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485) to obtain LPR status.

B. Legal Authorities

  • INA 101(a)(27)(D) – Certain employees or former employees of the U.S. government abroad

  • INA 203(b)(4) – Certain special immigrants

  • INA 2458 CFR 245 – Adjustment of status of nonimmigrant to that of person admitted for permanent residence

  • 22 CFR 42.32(d)(2) – Certain U.S. government employees 

C. Eligibility Requirements

To adjust to LPR status as a special immigrant international employee, an applicant must meet the eligibility requirements shown in the table below. [4] 

Adjustment of Status Eligibility Requirements for 

Special Immigrant International Employees

The applicant has been inspected and admitted or inspected and paroled into the United States. 

The applicant is physically present in the United States at the time of filing and adjudication of the adjustment application. 

The applicant is eligible to receive an immigrant visa because the applicant is the beneficiary of an approved petition [5] classifying him or her as a special immigrant international employee.

The applicant had an immigrant visa immediately available when he or she filed the adjustment of status application [6] and at the time of final adjudication. [7] 

The applicant is not subject to any applicable bars to adjustment of status. [8] 

The applicant is admissible to the United States or eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility or other form of relief. [9] 

The applicant merits the favorable exercise of discretion. [10] 

1. Eligibility to Receive an Immigrant Visa [11]

Eligible international employees and honorably retired former employees of the U.S. government abroad are subject to a unique process to demonstrate eligibility to receive an immigrant visa to adjust status as a special immigrant international employee. 

Step One – Exceptional Circumstances

First, the principal officer of a Foreign Service establishment must have found that exceptional circumstances exist and on that basis recommended the grant of special immigrant status. 

Step Two – National Interest

Second, the Secretary of State must have accepted the recommendation and found it to be in the national interest to grant the status. 

Step Three – Form DS-1884

Finally, based on the determinations described in the prior two steps, the employee may seek classification as a special immigrant by filing a Petition to Classify Special Immigrant under INA 203(b)(4) as an Employee or Former Employee of the U.S. Government Abroad (Form DS-1884 (PDF)) with DOS. [12] USCIS plays no role in the adjudication of this petition.

Form DS-1884 (PDF) is valid for 6 months after it is approved. [13] Notwithstanding, if a visa is unavailable at the time of approval, the petition is valid for 6 months after a visa becomes available. [14] In addition, DOS can extend the validity of the petition if it determines that an extension is in the national interest. [15] 

2. Priority Dates

The priority date for a special immigrant international employee is the date on which the immigrant petition is filed with DOS. The filing date of the petition is the date that a properly completed form and the required fee are accepted by a Foreign Service post.[16] 

3. Bars to Adjustment

Special immigrant international employees and their derivatives are ineligible for adjustment of status if any of the bars to adjustment of status apply. [17] 

4. Admissibility and Waiver Requirements

In general, an applicant who is inadmissible to the United States may only obtain LPR status if he or she obtains a waiver or other form of relief, if available. [18] If a ground of inadmissibility applies, an applicant must generally apply for a waiver or other form of relief to overcome that inadmissibility. [19] If a waiver or other form of relief is granted, USCIS may approve the application to adjust status if the applicant is otherwise eligible. 

The following table specifies which grounds of inadmissibility apply and which do not apply to applicants seeking LPR status based on the international employee classification.

Applicability of Grounds of Inadmissibility: International Employees of the U.S. Government Abroad

Ground of Inadmissibility

Applies

Exempt or

Not Applicable

INA 212(a)(1) – Health-Related

X

 

INA 212(a)(2) – Crime-Related

X

 

INA 212(a)(3) – Security-Related

X

 

INA 212(a)(4) – Public Charge

X

 

INA 212(a)(5) – Labor Certification and Qualifications for Certain Immigrants 

 

X

INA 212(a)(6) – Illegal Entrants and Immigration Violators

X

 

INA 212(a)(7)(A) – Documentation Requirements for Immigrants

X

 

INA 212(a)(8) – Ineligibility for Citizenship

X

 

INA 212(a)(9) – Foreign Nationals Previously Removed

X

 

INA 212(a)(10) – Practicing Polygamists, Guardians Required to Accompany Helpless Persons, International Child Abductors, Unlawful Voters, and Former Citizens who Renounced Citizenship to Avoid Taxation

X

 

5. Treatment of Family Members

The spouse or child (unmarried and under 21 years of age) of a special immigrant international employee may, if otherwise eligible, accompany or follow-to-join the principal applicant. [20] The spouse and child may, as derivative applicants, apply to adjust status under the same immigrant category and priority date as the principal applicant.

D. Documentation and Evidence

An applicant should submit the following documentation to adjust status as a special immigrant international employee: 

  • Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485), with the correct fee;

  • Evidence of an approved Form DS-1884 (PDF);

  • Evidence of financial support (as appropriate);

  • Two passport-style photographs;

  • Copy of government-issued identity document with photograph;

  • Copy of birth certificate;

  • Copy of passport page with nonimmigrant visa (if applicable);

  • Copy of passport page with admission or parole stamp (if applicable);

  • Copy of Arrival/Departure Record (Form I-94) or copy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) admission or parole stamp on the travel document (if applicable); [21] 

  • Evidence of continuously maintaining a lawful status since arrival in the United States;

  • Any other evidence, as needed, to show that an adjustment bar does not apply; [22] 

  • Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record (Form I-693); [23] 

  • Certified police and court records of criminal charges, arrests, or convictions (if applicable);

  • Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility (Form I-601) or other form of relief (if applicable); and

  • Documentation of past or present J-1 or J-2 nonimmigrant status, including proof of compliance with or waiver of the 2-year foreign residence requirement under INA 212(e) (if applicable).

In addition, a spouse or child who is filing as a derivative applicant should submit the following:

  • A copy of documentation showing relationship to the principal applicant, such as a marriage certificate or adoption decree (if applicable); and

  • ​A copy of the approval or receipt notice (Form I-797) for the principal applicant’s Form I-485 or a copy of the principal applicant’s permanent resident card (Form I-551) (if applicable and not filing together with the principal applicant). 

E. Adjudication [24]

1. Filing

An applicant seeking adjustment of status as a special immigrant international employee may file his or her adjustment application with USCIS after DOS approves the Petition to Classify Special Immigrant under INA 203(b)(4) as an Employee or Former Employee of the U.S. Government Abroad (Form DS-1884 (PDF)), provided:

  • USCIS has jurisdiction over the adjustment application; [25] and

  • ​The visa availability requirements are met. [26] 

These applicants may not file an adjustment application concurrently with Form DS-1884 (PDF)

2. Interview

The officer must schedule the applicant for an in-person interview at the appropriate field office and transfer jurisdiction to that field office for final adjudication in cases where:

  • The officer cannot make a decision based on the evidence of record; or

  • The applicant does not meet the criteria for an interview waiver. [27] 

3. Decision

Approval

The officer must determine that the applicant meets all the eligibility requirements as well as merits the favorable exercise of discretion before approving the application to adjust status as a special immigrant international employee or family member. [28] 

If the application for adjustment of status is approvable, the officer must determine if a visa is available at the time of final adjudication. [29] 

If approved, USCIS assigns the following codes of admission to applicants adjusting under this category as shown in the table below.

Classes of Applicants and Codes of Admission

Applicant

Code of

Admission

Special Immigrant Employee or Former Employee of the U.S. Government Abroad

SE6

Spouse of Employee (SE6)

SE7

Child of Employee (SE6)

SE8

Upon the approval of the adjustment application, the applicant becomes an LPR as of the date of approval.

Denial

If the officer determines that the applicant is ineligible for adjustment, the officer must deny the adjustment application. The officer must provide a written reason for the denial. [30] Although there are no appeal rights for the denial of an adjustment application, the applicant may file a motion to reopen or reconsider. The denial notice should include instructions for filing a Notice of Appeal or Motion (Form I-290B). 

Footnotes


1. [^] See Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) of 1952, Pub. L. 82-414 (PDF), 66 Stat. 163 (June 27, 1952). See INA 101(a)(27)(D).

2. [^] See H.R. Rep. No. 1365, 82nd Cong., 2nd Sess. 1951. See INA 203(b)(4) (“Visas shall be made available, in a number not to exceed 7.1 percent of such worldwide level, to qualified special immigrants described in section 101(a)(27)…”).

3. [^] Eligible employees include those who have worked for the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), which Congress created through the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979. See Pub. L. 96-8 (PDF), 93 Stat. 14 (April 10, 1979). See the Immigration and Nationality Technical Corrections Act of 1994, Pub. L. 103-416 (PDF), 108 Stat. 4305 (October 25, 1994). Although a private, non-profit corporation, the AIT is largely funded and overseen by DOS and was designated as the entity through which the U.S. government was to conduct any programs, transactions, or other relations with Taiwan.

4. [^] See 8 CFR 245.1.

5. [^] See Petition to Classify Special Immigrant under INA 203(b)(4) as an Employee or Former Employee of the U.S. Government Abroad (Form DS-1884 (PDF)).

6. [^] See Part A, Adjustment of Status Policies and Procedures, Chapter 3, Filing Instructions, Section B, Definition of “Properly Filed” [7 USCIS-PM A.3(B)].

7. [^] See Part A, Adjustment of Status Policies and Procedures, Chapter 6, Adjudicative Review, Section C, Verify Visa Availability [7 USCIS-PM A.6(C)].For information on Visa Availability and Priority Dates, see the DOS Visa Bulletin.

8. [^] See INA 245(c). See Part B, 245(a) Adjustment [7 USCIS-PM B].

9. [^] For more information, see Volume 8, Admissibility [8 USCIS-PM] and Volume 9, Waivers [9 USCIS-PM].

10. [^] See INA 245(a). For more information, see Part A, Adjustment of Status Policies and Procedures [7 USCIS-PM A] and Part B, 245(a) Adjustment [7 USCIS-PM B].

11. [^] See Part A, Adjustment of Status Policies and Procedures, Chapter 6, Adjudicative Review [7 USCIS-PM A.6] and Part B, 245(a) Adjustment, Chapter 2, Eligibility Requirements, Section C, Eligible to Receive an Immigrant Visa [7 USCIS-PM B.2(C)].

12. [^] Unlike other special immigrants, the Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant (Form I-360) is not used to classify special immigrant international employees.

13. [^] See 22 CFR 42.32(d)(2)(iv).

14. [^] See 9 Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) 502.5-3(C)(2)(e)(4)(b), Effect of Numerical Limits. 

15. [^] See 22 CFR 42.32(d)(2)(v).

16. [^] See 22 CFR 42.32(d)(iii).

17. [^] See INA 245(c). For more information on the bars to adjustment, see Part B, 245(a) Adjustment [7 USCIS-PM B].

18. [^] See INA 212(a) for the specific grounds of inadmissibility.

19. [^] See Volume 8, Admissibility [8 USCIS-PM] and Volume 9, Waivers [9 USCIS-PM]. See Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility (Form I-601) and Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States after Deportation or Removal (Form I-212).

20. [^] See INA 101(a)(27)(C) and INA 203(d). For the definition of child, see INA 101(b)(1).

21. [^] Foreign nationals admitted to the United States by CBP at an airport or seaport after April 30, 2013, may be issued an electronic Form I-94 by CBP instead of a paper Form I-94. Such foreign nationals may visit the CBP website to obtain a paper version of an electronic Form I-94. CBPdoes not charge a fee for this service.

22. [^] Such as evidence that the INA 245(c)(2) adjustment bar does not apply because the applicant’s failure to maintain status was through no fault of his or her own or for technical reasons. See 8 CFR 245.1(d)(2). See Part B, 245(a) Adjustment, Chapter 4, Status and Nonimmigrant Visa Violations – INA 245(c)(2) and INA 245(c)(8), Section E, Exceptions [7 USCIS-PM B.4(E)].

23. [^] The applicant may submit Form I-693 together with Form I-485 or later at USCIS’ request. See the USCIS website for more information. For more information on when to submit Form I-693, see Volume 8, Admissibility, Part B, Health-Related Grounds of Inadmissibility, Chapter 4, Review of Medical Examination Documentation [8 USCIS-PM B.4]. 

24. [^] For more information, see Part A, Adjustment of Status Policies and Procedures, Chapter 6, Adjudicative Review [7 USCIS-PM A.6].

25. [^] For more information, see Part A, Adjustment of Status Policies and Procedures, Chapter 3, Filing Instructions, Section D, Jurisdiction [7 USCIS-PM A.3(D)].

26. [^] The applicant must have an immigrant visa immediately available when he or she filed the adjustment of status application and at the time of final adjudication. See Section C, Eligibility Requirements [7 USCIS-PM F.7(C)].

27. [^] For more information, see Part A, Adjustment of Status Policies and Procedures, Chapter 5, Interview Guidelines [7 USCIS-PM A.5].

28. [^] See INA 245(a). For more information, see Part A, Adjustment of Status Policies and Procedures [7 USCIS-PM A] and Part B, 245(a) Adjustment [7 USCIS-PM B].

29. [^] For more information, see Part A, Adjustment of Status Policies and Procedures, Chapter 6, Adjudicative Review, Section C, Verify Visa Availability [7 USCIS-PM A.6(C)].

30. [^] See 8 CFR 103.2(b)(19) and 8 CFR 103.3(a).

22 CFR 42.32(d)(2) - Certain U.S. government employees

INA 101(a)(27)(D) - Certain employees or former employees of U.S. government abroad

INA 203(b)(4) - Certain special immigrants

INA 212(a) - Excludable aliens; classes of aliens ineligible for visas or admission

INA 212(e) - Educational visitor status; foreign residence requirement and waiver

INA 2458 CFR 245 - Adjustment of status of nonimmigrant to that of person admitted for permanent residence

Appendices


No appendices available at this time.

POLICY ALERT - Use of Form G-325A

October 25, 2018

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is updating policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual to remove references to Biographic Information (Form G-325A).

AFFECTED SECTIONS

 

POLICY ALERT - Special Immigrant Juvenile Classification and Special Immigrant-Based Adjustment of Status

October 26, 2016

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is issuing policy guidance regarding the special immigrant juvenile (SIJ) classification and special immigrant-based (EB-4) adjustment of status, including adjustment based on classification as a special immigrant religious worker, SIJ, and G-4 international organization or NATO-6 employee or family member, among others.

AFFECTED SECTIONS

 
Current as of

CHAPTERS

Current as of