28 Dec 2016 Non-Crewman C-1 transits can adjust status in the US
Dear Atty. Gurfinkel:
I entered the US on a C–1 transit visa, but I am not a crewman, nor was I joining any ship. I was simply passing through the US to another country. However, I remained in the US and am out of status. I just got married to a US citizen, and was told I would not be able to adjust status (get a green card) in the US because I entered on a C-1 transit visa. Is there any hope for me to adjust status in the US through a marriage petition, without having to go back to the Philippines?
Very truly yours,
A C-1 visa is issued to aliens in “immediate and continuous transit through the US.” Such visas are typically issued to crewmen seeking to join a ship. However, a C-1 visa can also be issued to other people transiting through the US to another country. These non-crewman C-1 entrants could possibly be eligible to adjust status in the US. (For crewmen to adjust status in the US, they would need the benefit of Section 245(i), by having been previously petitioned before April 30, 2001. However, non-crewman transits would not necessarily need Section 245(i) to adjust status in the US.)
In fact, my office has handled several cases involving non-crewmen C-1 transits, and we successfully secured their green card in the US through adjustment of status. In one case, the person entered on a C-1 visa, going to Guantánamo Bay to work. In another case, the person was transiting through the US to work on an oil platform off the coast of Louisiana. Since they were not crewman, we succeeded in having them adjust status in the US versus having to go back to the Philippines via provisional waiver.
If you entered the US on a C-1 visa and were not a crewman, you should consult with an attorney, who can evaluate your case and determine your eligibility for adjustment of status (assuming you have been petitioned and your priority date is current). If you are a C-1 crewman, you would either need the benefit of Section 245(i) or consider a provisional waiver.
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