With the rumors swirling that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, have resigned their royal duties to live part-time in the United States, will the Prince need a visa? As a British diplomat, Prince Harry can enter the United States on an A-1 visa; he should not use a B1/B2 Visitor Visa or the Visa Waiver Program. However, with the abdication of his royal duties, this will no longer be a viable option, especially if he plans to work and reside in the U.S. permanently. So, what are his other options?
Option for a Temporary Visa
One option for Prince Harry is to apply for an O-1 visa based on his extraordinary ability in business. He founded the Invictus Games, which allow “the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect for wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women.” The games include wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, and indoor rowing. Prince Harry was inspired after a trip to the United States to attend The Warrior Games, where he “saw how the power of sport could help…in recovery—physically, psychologically, and socially.”
The drawback with the O visa is that it is temporary in nature, and his initial stay will be granted for up to three years with each renewal in increments of 1 year. Prince Harry’s employment would be restricted to the profession and events for which his visa was granted.
Lawful Permanent Resident Status
Another option that does not expire is the EB-1 visa for extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim. Upon approval, Prince Harry would receive lawful permanent resident status (Greencard). This visa should be attainable for the Prince because of the successful creation of the Invictus Games. The first event was held in London, England, in 2014, and the second games were brought to Orlando, Florida. The opening ceremony was well-attended and included such dignitaries as former U.S. President George W. Bush and First Lady Michelle Obama. The 2020 games will be played this May in the Hague, Netherlands. Prince Harry remains active with the Invictus Games and is the Patron.
If the Prince does not meet the strict requirements of First Preference EB-1, Prince Harry could also seek permanent resident status by applying for an EB-2 visa and filing a national interest waiver. In doing so, he is requesting that the Labor Certification be waived because it is in the interest of the United States. Though the jobs that qualify for a national interest waiver are not defined by statute, national interest waivers are usually granted to those who have exceptional ability (see above) and whose employment in the United States would greatly benefit the nation. Prince Harry may self-petition and does not need an employer to sponsor him. He may file his waiver directly with USCIS along with Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker.
If the aforementioned is not appealing, the royal Prince can pursue an EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program which affords permanent residence so long as the following criteria are met:
- An investment is made in a commercial enterprise that is based in the United States
- The initial investment either totals $1,000,000 or $500,000 in a high-unemployment or rural area, otherwise known as a targeted employment area
- The investment includes a plan to either create or preserve at least ten permanent full-time jobs for qualified workers living in the United States within two years
- The ten permanent full-time jobs are not given to the spouse or children of the investor
Due to the backlog of the EB-5 cases and the fact that initially the applicant is only granted a conditional Greencard, this is not the ideal path for lawful permanent resident status.
The easiest and fastest route is for the Duchess to sponsor her husband for the Greencard as an immediate relative. Prince Harry can adjust his status to lawful permanent residency if he is in the United States at the time the Duchess files the I-130 petition. In this category, he would be exempt from certain “bars”, such as unauthorized employment or overstaying his time of admission. The Prince can also work and travel while his adjustment application is pending by filing an I-765 Application for Work Authorization and I-131 Application for Advance Parole, respectively.
What Is Baby Archie’s Status?
On May 6, 2019, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, the son of Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex and Meghan, the Duchess, was born in London, England. By all accounts, it appears that baby Archie is currently living outside of the United States, but he should be able to obtain derivative U.S. citizenship under Section 322 of the INA. Archie is eligible for naturalization if all of the following conditions have been met:
- The child has at least one parent, including an adoptive parent, who is a U.S. citizen by birth or through naturalization;
- The child’s U.S. citizen parent or U.S. citizen grandparent meets specific physical presence requirements in the United States or an outlying possession;
- The child is under 18 years of age;
- The child is residing outside of the United States in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent, or of a person who does not object to the application if the U.S. citizen parent is deceased; and
- The child is lawfully admitted, physically present, and maintaining lawful status in the United States at the time the application is approved and the time of naturalization.
Only time will tell if the Duke and Duchess will settle in the United States or relocate to Canada and make that their permanent home by immigrating under one of three broad categories – economic immigration, family reunification, and humanitarian considerations.