Lauren Gray of Trenton, Missouri has lived in the United States since she was 4 years old. She came here from England with her parents in 1995 on an E-2 investor visa. Her parents invested in the United States by buying and running the Lakeview Motor Lodge and Restaurant in Trenton, Missouri. With their investment, her parents received visas that allow them to stay in the United States indefinitely, pending review and renewal every two years. Lauren’s visa, however, is only valid as long as she remains a “child,” defined in immigration law as “an unmarried person under 21 years of age.” Therefore, as of Lauren’s 21st birthday on August 8th, she is no longer considered a child and cannot legally stay in the U.S. on her parents’ investor visa.
Lauren’s family anticipated such a result and applied for her permanent residency (also known as a green card) nine years ago. Unfortunately, due to the considerable backlog in permanent visa availability, the wait times for the approval of permanent residency applications can be as long as 10 years. Lauren’s application is still pending.
Despite the fact that Lauren has lived in the United States since she was 4 years old and completed high school and college here, she was preparing to return to England until, with the help of Senator Claire McCaskill and Congressman Sam Graves, federal authorities recently granted her deferral for two years. A grant of deferral basically delays Lauren’s return to England and permits her to live and work in the United States even though she does not have a current, valid visa. Lauren’s deferral will continue to be renewed every two years until she is granted permanent residency and receives her green card.
If you are experiencing delays in the immigration process or if you need assistance in obtaining valid authorization to remain in the United States, you should contact St. Louis, Missouri immigration attorney Jim Hacking. We can be reached on our contact page or by calling 314-961-8200 right now.