If You Entered The U.S. Legally, Can You Obtain An Adjustment Of Status?

Published On: October 24, 2022Views: 896

”El Show Sin Fronteras”

Spanish Video Above Translated In English Below

Entering The U.S. Legally

Every year, thousands of people come to the United States intending to make a better life for themselves and their families.

There are different ways to enter the country, both legally and undocumented. In turn, there are different types of Visas, Asylum, and Residences for each type of immigration case.

Adjustment of Status is an immigration process that allows the beneficiary to complete the process within the United States without having to leave the country.

Sadly, this option is not viable for all immigrants. Many factors go into determining whether or not we are a candidate for adjustment of status.

Once the adjustment of status is completed, the immigrant receives permanent residency. Between June and September 2021 alone, more than 282,000 people received their Green Card in the United States.

Consult Free Today To Find Out If You Qualify For U.S. Adjustment Of Status

If I Entered With A Visa & It’s About To Expire, Can I Apply For An Adjustment Of Status?

Many people enter the United States annually through some type of Visa, whether it is a Work Visa, Tourist Visa, or other types of Visas for which the immigrant qualifies.

There are cases in which a person enters the country legally to work under a contract with the company where they work, and it’s common that they meet a person inside the United States, fall in love, and get married.

These cases where a person enters legally and is married to a citizen are usually faster when talking about a waiting time.

Those who entered legally and have conceived a marriage within the country have the option to begin their immigration case in a form called a One-Step application.

Normally, there are two different steps, first, we do the Family Petition to prove to immigration that these people are married and it is a bona fide marriage and it is not a marriage based on obtaining adjustment of status.

Then, once that part of the process is approved, we take the second step to apply for the Green Card.

We can do both steps at the same time and that way the waiting time will be reduced, so the important thing that is important to carry out this migratory case is:

  • The immigrant has entered the United States legally.
  • You are married to a U.S. citizen.
  • If the Visa has expired, it doesn’t matter.

In this case, you can apply to adjust your immigration status, obtain your residency and file the Family Petition, and the good thing about this type of process is that everything is done within the United States, you do not need to leave the US. in any part of the process.

The entire adjustment of status process can be completed in about a year from the time you start your case, and thus, obtain your residency in hand.

Can Undocumented Immigrants Qualify For Adjustment Of Status?

Apply For Adjustment Of Status And Get Your Green Card As Soon As Possible

The key is whether or not a person enters the U.S. legally, and if they are married to someone who is a citizen, it doesn’t matter if they stayed in the country after their Visa expired.

On the other hand, if the immigrant who remained in the country has a spouse who is only a resident, for example, it’s very important for the immigrant to still have legal status in the United States to qualify for adjustment of status.

We cannot adjust your status to a resident if you did not remain in legal status all this time on a Work Visa or Tourist Visa.

Basically, it depends a lot on those two factors, if you entered legally, it is a very positive thing for you to qualify, if you are married to someone who is a U.S. citizen, you have another positive aspect, but if one of those scenarios changes, we need to know all the details to know if you qualify or not.

Entries & Exits In The U.S. & Adjustment Of Status

In these cases where an immigrant attempts to cross the U.S. border successfully or unsuccessfully, it’s always essential that we know exactly what happened at each entry the immigrant had.

It is normal that in a situation where an immigrant has attempted to enter the country several times through the border, there’s a chance that in one of those apprehensions, when Border Patrol agents returned the person, they may have given them something called an Expedited Removal.

Expedited Removal is a way in which Border Patrol officers have the power to conduct deportation at the border without the need to go before a judge.

If that happens to the immigrant, it is basically like deportation, and gives you the same bar that would have been given if you went in front of a judge and they gave you a deportation order.

We need to make a FOIA in this type of situation. A FOIA is a request for the detailed file of any person you wish to request in the United States

There are several requests that can be made to obtain this file, both to federal agents and federal departments, to ask for all the information they have on a person.

With this file, we can review what happened in those detentions and what jail time, if any, the immigrant had.

That is why it is so important to retain the services of a good immigration attorney to guide you through this adjustment of status process, and in this case, to determine if the immigrant has attempted to enter the United States multiple times, you need to wait at least 10 years of permanent bar before you can apply for a waiver.

How Long Does It Take To Apply For Residency?

It all depends on whether that person entered the U.S. legally and is married to someone who is a resident and they stayed in the country with some status, never worked, and had a Visa, such as a Tourist Visa.

If the immigrant who entered as a visitor were to work in the country during their time of stay, that would automatically break your legal status, and  we need you to maintain that legal status to make the adjustment of status to obtain residency.

If there are no details that may alter your immigration adjustment of status, what we will do next is the One-Step.

We apply for Family Petition residency at the same time, and there are approximately nine months to a year of waiting time until you receive your Green Card.

Green Card, Deportations & VAWA

Unfortunately, when a person has deportation and still enters the United States again, this entry action automatically gives you this permanent 10-year bar.

It is more likely that an immigrant who has this permanent bar on their back, will re-enter the country through the VAWA program, we can explain to immigration that the person left the U.S. based on the abuse for which they obtained their VAWA.

It may be possible that we can adjust the status in a case like this, but it depends on the deportations that the immigrant may have.

If You Are Suffering From Relationship Abuse, See What Benefits VAWA Can Give You In The US.

VAWA & Advance Parole

Individuals who have been inside the United States and have applied for VAWA because of abuse they have suffered in their relationship, should discuss in more detail with an immigration attorney the options they have to qualify for a travel permit.

If, for example, the person has that permanent bar, it is not very safe for that person to get an Advance Parole, because it may cause more risks, such as an immigration officer may not allow the person to enter the United States again.

We will not send someone who has a pending immigration situation to resolve, such as permanent detention, a deportation order, or a crime where we believe the officer will say no.

If you have that permanent bar, the stakes are higher, and it’s really not worth leaving the U.S. to be banned from entering when you try to return to the country.

Can I Obtain An Adjustment Of Status With A Humanitarian Case?

When you already have the U Visa approved for three years, you automatically qualify for the adjustment of status.

Adjustment of status must be made before your U Visa expires because it is a requirement to be in a lawful status to be able to process the adjustment of status.

If your U Visa expires, we need to apply to extend that Visa, so that you will have legal status in the United States to apply for residency.

For the VAWA program, it is going to depend on whether or not you have a permanent bar, or if there are other factors of inadmissibility because there is no waiver that is as great as the U Visa.

Are There Adjustment Of Status Interviews?

Yes, although there are often certain types of immigration cases where we don’t need to do such an interview (such as when a person is a parent of a citizen) in this type of case we do need to go through the interview process.

This is most often seen in applications involving marriage cases, other types of abuse cases, or any related to a humanitarian case.

This is why it is so important to hire the services of a reputable and reliable immigration attorney to help and advise you throughout the process, as these interviews can result in complications if they are not done in the best way.

In case you have additional questions about your adjustment of status, or your specific case, you may contact us at (855) 502-0555. After a brief 10-minute evaluation of your case over the phone, we will let you know what options you have. You can also follow us on our social networks so you don’t miss our weekly broadcasts on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch.

Frequently Asked Questions About Adjustment Of Status

Yes, although there are often certain types of immigration cases where we do not need to do such an interview (such as when a person is a parent of a citizen) in this type of case we do need to go through the interview process.

In the event that there are no details that may alter your immigration status adjustment, what we will do next is the One-Step. We apply to Family Petition residency at the same time, and approximately nine months to a year of waiting time, until they receive their Green Card.

The key is whether or not a person enters the U.S. legally, and if they are married to someone who is a citizen, it does not matter if they stayed in the country after their Visa expired.

About the Author: Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch

I am the managing partner of Lincoln-Goldfinch Law. Upon graduating from the University of Texas for college and law school, I received an Equal Justice Works Fellowship in 2008, completed at American Gateways. My project served the detained families seeking asylum. After my fellowship, I entered private immigration practice. My firm offers family-based immigration, such as greencards and naturalization, deportation defense, and humanitarian cases such as asylum, U Visa, and VAWA. Everyone at Lincoln-Goldfinch Law is bilingual, has a connection to our cause, and has demonstrated a history of activism for immigrants. To us, our work is not just a job. After the pandemic we began offering bankruptcy services in addition to immigration I realized how much lack of information there is in financial literacy resources in Spanish.

Share this story!

Contact a U.S. Immigration Attorney Today!


    How To Find Us

    Austin Office
    Lincoln-Goldfinch Law

    1005 E 40th St
    Austin, TX 78751

    Waco Office

    Lincoln-Goldfinch Law

    1616 Austin Avenue, Suite A
    Waco, TX 76701
    By Appointment Only

    Austin & Waco
    Call or Text: (855) 502-0555
    Fax: (512) 323-9351

    What Our Clients Say

    “This Lawfirm is great, very professional and helpful. I love that they are always in communication and always available for when you have questions . 100% recommended by me and my family. Thank you Lincoln-Goldfinch Law”