Under the two-year-old Dallas Office Rapid Adjustment (DORA) program, applicants undergo on-the-spot interviews when they submit their visa petition and application for adjustment of status at the same time. Many of those who attend their DORA appointment, however, learn that they are not eligible to participate in the program. In order to participate in the DORA program, you must meet one or more of the following criteria:

1. The petition must be for a family member who has a visa immediately available to them (a spouse, parent or child of a United States Citizen),

2. The applicant was a Diversity Lottery winner, or

3. The applicant is a special immigrant with an approved I-360 Visa Petition.

There are many rumors and misconceptions about this pilot program among immigrants. Please understand that this is not an amnesty, nor is it President Bush’s new proposal to grant work permits to illegal aliens. This is simply another option available to immigrants who would be otherwise eligible for adjustment of status.

Also, it is very important to make sure that you are eligible for adjustment of status when you use the DORA program. Prior removals, departures (voluntary or not) or refused admissions can have serious consequences on eligibility. Many applicants have been detained and deported without warning at adjustment interviews.

The DORA program was initially begun to adjudicate simpler cases. This system, however, is not for everyone. If you have any questions regarding your eligibility for adjustment of status, you may need to consult with an immigration attorney. It is important to make sure you are in one of the above-mentioned classes of persons eligible to obtain permanent residency at the time of your DORA appointment.