Co-Habiting Partners of Nonimmigrants Qualify for B-2 Status For the First Time Ever

In a groundbreaking Policy Memorandum which permits household member partners who are not married but normally dwell together, elderly parents or over 21 year old children, to qualify for visitor status when their principal alien holds non-immigrant status, such as F-1, H-1, O-1, or L-1, etc. Never before in the history of the USCIS have such relationships been recognized so as to provide lawful status as part of immigration benefits. The relationships benefited do not fall within derivative status under the Immigration and Nationality Act such as for spouses or minor children of professional workers. This action is based on "Prosecutorial Discretion". 

The requirements for eligibility for B-2 status don't change. Nonimmigrant intent of the applicant is still required, but the lawful extension of the principal beneficiary, even for years, does not negatively impact the nonimmigrant intent of the B-2 applicant. The finite purpose of the principal's stay (such as temporary employment) matters rather than the number or length of extensions. In fact, the co-habiting partner’s relationship to the nonimmigrant principal alien in another status will be considered a favorable factor in allowing the household member to obtain or remain eligible for B-2 classification. But if the principal applicant not in B-2 status lacks nonimmigrant intent, this will be viewed as a negative factor on the household member's B-2 application. This would happen if, for example, the O-1 partner applied for permanent residence ("green card" status). An application for a green card is viewed as evidence of permanent ("immigrant") intent.

For the first time, live in boyfriends and girlfriends of students, professionals, accomplished artists, or the elderly parents of such persons, or their adult children may be with their loved one in the U.S. This is welcome news for the keeping together of persons who wish to be together or need to be together but don't traditionally fall within those relationships recognized by the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Bravo Attorney General Eric Holder!