Immigration Issues/Diplomatic Status


I have lived in the United States for five and a half years now- my dad was a diplomat and was sent by the Taiwanese government to Los Angeles five and a half years ago. He was in the US for about threes years, then he retired and went back to Taiwan. My parents, my younger brother and I had an E-1 Visa while my dad was working here. I had an Employment Authorization Card that I used to apply for an SSN. I started college while my dad was still working here, and had to change my status to F-1 when my dad retired. I have been paying in-state tuition fee before he retired, but had to start paying out-of-state tuition afterwards when I changed my status. I was told that only companies Iím going to work for after I graduate can sponsor me for a Green Card. Is there a way for me to apply for a Green Card or US citizenship now while Iím still in college since Iíve lived in this country for quite a long time? I know about the work permit I can apply for after I graduate (OPT), but since Iíve lived in this country for so long I thought getting a Green Card would make more sense. Or is there something about the diplomatic status thatís preventing me from getting a citizenship?

Well what you have been told is true. You are going to have to get a job form an employer willing to sponsor you for a temporary work visa, and then a permanent residence visa (greencard). Unfortunately, your length of time in the USA has nothing to do with making you eligible for a visa.  

Other options:

An E visa like you had before. If you have the funds to invest, it is a simple and easy solution. Not a greencard, but in some ways even better because of the options to become a non-resident for tax purposes.

Marriage to a US citizen is the fastest way to get a greencard, but not the easiest. At least not in real life. If you fall in love and want to get married, and that person is a US citizen, great. But to marry someone for a visa is a dangerous and ugly thing. It opens you up to black mail and unhappiness.

I would study more about the OPT because once you do it, you are restricted in many ways. I would suggest you go the H visa route if you want to work in the US or the E visa route if you want to "do your own thing".

You might find some of the information at helpful in your longterm planning.

Immigration Issues

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Alexander J. Hay


I am a U.S. lawyer with offices in Houston, Texas and in Belize. I can answer questions on U.S. Immigration, U.S. corporate law, and Offshore Tax and Asset Planning.
If you are on an H or L visa I am NOT GOING TO ANSWER your questions since they are usually highly fact oriented, and also you have a company attorney handling the whole thing. Call your own attorney please! If you disregard this request, don't be surprised if I answer with "homework question".


I am a U.S. attorney with offices in the United States and Belize. I have experience helping to protect assets, reduce taxes, and improve investment performance by utilizing global investment techniques.

Harvard University, A.B. degree; University of Houston Law Center, J.D. Degree; Fulbright Scholar

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