The path to obtaining lawful permanent residency in the United States can be a complex journey for many individuals. However, for those already present within the country, there is a process known as Adjustment of Status that offers a potential shortcut.
Successfully navigating the process enables individuals to transition from temporary Visa holders to lawful permanent residents. Thus granting them the rights and privileges associated with being a Green Card holder. The remarkable aspect is that this adjustment can be achieved without the need to leave the country.
The Definition Of Adjustment Of Status
This is the process by which an eligible foreign national currently residing in the U.S. can apply to become a lawful permanent resident (LPR). It allows you to obtain a Green Card without the requirement of leaving the country.
Moreover, it allows you to transition from a nonimmigrant status, such as a temporary Visa holder or an asylee/refugee, to permanent resident status. This grants you the right to live and work in the United States indefinitely.
The Basic Qualifications
To qualify for it, you must meet specific eligibility criteria, which can vary depending on the immigration category you fall under. Some common categories include immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, family-sponsored preference categories, employment-based preference categories, and certain special categories like asylees and refugees.
Furthermore, the process involves filing an application with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), providing supporting documentation, and paying the necessary fees. Applicants are generally required to undergo a thorough background check, including a medical examination and an interview with a USCIS officer.
The interview serves multiple purposes, including verifying the information provided and assessing your eligibility. Additionally, it plays a role in determining your admissibility to the United States as a permanent resident.
Approval & Recommendation
Upon approval of the application, you will be issued a Green Card, which confers lawful permanent resident status. As a result, you can enjoy the freedom to reside and work in the United States without any limitations on the duration of your stay.
Nevertheless, not every foreign national qualifies for it. Certain individuals may need to undergo consular processing, which entails submitting an application for an immigrant Visa at an embassy or consulate in another country.
The process can be complex. It is recommended to seek legal guidance or consult with an immigration attorney to ensure eligibility and navigate the application process successfully.
Learn The Eligibility Criteria
Although Adjustment of Status provides the opportunity to secure a Green Card without the need to leave the country, you must meet specific eligibility criteria to proceed with the process. Meeting these requirements ensures a smooth and successful application and paves the way for lawful permanent residency in the United States.
Presence In The United States
First, you must be physically present in the United States at the time of filing the application. This means that individuals who are outside the country generally cannot apply for it.
Second, the applicant must have entered the country legally. This requirement entails that individuals must have undergone inspection and admission or parole by an immigration officer upon their initial entry into the country.
Another requirement is maintaining lawful status. Applicants must have maintained lawful nonimmigrant status throughout their stay in the United States.
If someone has violated their status, such as overstaying their Visa, they may be ineligible. Furthermore, the applicant must have a qualifying basis for adjustment.
There are several ways one may qualify for adjustment. This may include being an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, having an approved employment-based petition, or being a refugee or asylee.
These are among the various eligible categories that can open the door to pursuing it in the United States. Finally, the applicant must demonstrate that they are admissible to the United States. This means they must not have engaged in certain criminal activities, immigration fraud, or pose a security threat.
How To Go About The Process
To initiate the process, the applicant must be eligible under one of the available categories: family-based immigration, employment-based immigration, or humanitarian programs. Each category has its specific requirements and criteria that need to be met.
Registration To Adjust Status
The process begins with filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Along with the application, supporting documents, such as medical examinations, biometrics, and evidence of eligibility, must be submitted.
Review Of Documentation
After receiving the application, USCIS will review the documentation, conduct background checks, and schedule an interview to assess the applicant’s eligibility further. The interview is an opportunity for USCIS officers to verify the information provided and ask questions to determine if the applicant meets the requirements.
Approval Or Rejection Of The Application
If the application is approved, the applicant will be granted lawful permanent resident status and receive their Green Card. However, if the application is denied, the individual may have the option to appeal the decision or explore other available remedies.
The process can be intricate and lengthy, demanding meticulous attention to detail and strict adherence to immigration laws and regulations. Indeed, everyone should understand the requirements and follow the proper procedures to ensure a smooth and successful transition to lawful permanent resident status.
What Are The Required Documents
This process requires the submission of various documents to the USCIS. Below are some of the essential documents needed for Adjustment of Status:
- Form I-485 is the application for adjustment itself. It must be completed accurately and signed by the applicant.
- Form I-130 is for the applicant applying based on a family relationship, such as being the spouse or child of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, this form is required. It establishes the familial relationship.
- Form I-864 is the Affidavit of Support, which demonstrates that the applicant will have adequate financial support in the U.S.
- Form I-69 is a completed medical examination report conducted by a designated civil surgeon to establish the applicant’s physical well-being.
- Passport-style photos are two identical color photographs required.
- Proof of identity is a copy of the applicant’s passport, birth certificate, or other official identification document.
- Proof of lawful entry can be an arrival/departure record (Form I-94) or a valid Visa.
- Supporting documents may include marriage certificates, divorce decrees, employment authorization documents, and other relevant evidence.
You should carefully gather and submit all the required documents to ensure a smooth process. Consulting with an immigration attorney of Lincoln-Goldfinch Law can help you navigate through the complexities of the application and increase your chances of success.
Key Roles Of Immigration Lawyers In The Process
Legal professionals provide essential advice and guidance to individuals seeking to adjust their status. They assess your eligibility, analyze your specific circumstances, and advise on the best course of action. Also, they can help determine if it is the appropriate route or if other immigration options would be more suitable.
Next, an Adjustment of Status attorney thoroughly reviews your immigration history, Visa status, and any potential grounds of inadmissibility. By examining your case details, they can identify potential issues and develop strategies to address them effectively.
The process requires substantial paperwork, including forms, supporting documents, and evidence of eligibility. Immigration attorneys assist in preparing and reviewing the required documents to ensure accuracy and completeness. They help gather necessary evidence, such as marriage certificates, birth certificates, and financial records, and ensure that all forms are properly filled out.
Next, here are some common issue when going through Adjustment of Status.
Must-Know Common Issues & FAQs
Although adjusting to a lawful permanent resident status may be straightforward for certain individuals, it is not without its common issues and frequently asked questions. Below are some that often arise during this process:
Factors Affecting Eligibility
Determining if you are eligible can be complicated. It depends on factors such as your current immigration status and relationship to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. Additionally, it takes into account whether you entered the country legally.
Requires Various Documentation
Gathering the necessary documents to support your application can be challenging. Common documents include birth certificates, marriage certificates, and evidence of financial support.
Many applicants wonder if they can work in the United States while their application is pending. In most cases, you can apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to work during this time legally.
Leaving The Country To Travel
Leaving the country while your application is pending can have serious consequences. It is generally advised to avoid international travel until you receive your travel document, known as advance parole.
Preparation For Interview
Applicants are required to attend an interview with a USCIS officer. Preparation for this interview is vital, as it can determine the success of your application.
Each individual case is unique, and it is highly recommended to consult with an immigration lawyer or accredited representative to navigate the status adjustment process smoothly.
Adjustment of Status refers to the process through which individuals already present in the United States can apply to become lawful permanent residents. The process allows them to obtain a Green Card without having to leave the country.
Also, to be eligible, several factors are taken into account. These include factors such as your current immigration status, your relationship to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, and your legal entry into the country.
Moreover, the process involves submitting an application and attending an interview with USCIS. It also requires providing the necessary supporting documentation, which includes birth certificates, marriage certificates, and financial evidence.
Common issues and frequently asked questions often revolve around eligibility, documentation requirements, employment authorization, travel restrictions, and the interview process. Seeking professional guidance from an attorney helps navigate these complexities successfully.