If you wish to adjust your status from a visa holder into a lawful permanent resident, or green card holder, then you may want to work with an immigration lawyer to complete the adjustment of status process. This can involve submitting an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485) and additional forms. Your additional forms may be submitted at the same time as your application or separately. Filing them together is called “concurrent filing.” This can reduce the amount of time it takes to obtain an adjustment of status.
You will also have to attend an Application Support Center Appointment and an interview with the USCIS. These appointments will require you to answer questions and review your background. It’s best to prepare for these appointments with the help of an immigration lawyer.
How Do You Obtain a Green Card Through Adjustment of Status?
Once you become a permanent resident, you will have many additional rights in the United States. Whether you have a visa currently or wish to obtain a green card, contact an immigration lawyer at Solano Law Firm, LLC today.
When you seek a green card, you must submit an Immigrant Petition and Green Card Application (Form I-485). Your sponsor can submit this form, or you can submit it yourself, depending on what kind of visa you possess. Then, you will have to attend a biometrics appointment, which will involve fingerprints, a photo, and a signature. You may also be required to attend an interview and submit additional evidence to the USCIS. An immigration lawyer can help you with this process.
Steps for Adjustment of Status
The adjustment of status process can be complex. A green card lawyer can help you through each step and make sure you avoid costly mistakes. Steps for an adjustment of status include:
1. Determine Your Eligibility for a Green Card
In order to obtain a Green Card, you must fall into a specific category as an immigrant. For example, you may have a close family member who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, or an employer who is willing to sponsor you, or you may be an asylee or refugee.
There are additional requirements depending on what immigrant category you fall into. For example, if you are a family-based immigrant, then you must have a visa petition approved prior to the adjustment of status process. Your priority date must be current as well. Similarly, if you are an asylee or refugee, then you must have waited a required one year since your entry into the United States or asylum approval date.
A requirement for all Green Card seekers is that you currently reside within the U.S. You cannot live in another country, including your home country. If you have been outside of the U.S. for an extended period of time, you are probably not eligible for a Green Card.
In order to be eligible for an adjustment of status, you must have a valid visa. If your visa is expired and you stayed past the valid date, you may have to leave the country prior to seeking an adjustment of status. In fact, you may no longer be eligible to return to the States. There are some exceptions to this under U.S. immigration code 245(i). This may allow you to pay a $1,000 penalty fee and continue to seek an adjustment of status.
It’s important to work with a green card lawyer to determine your eligibility for an adjustment of status. You will have to prove your eligibility, and if there are any questions about your validity, your process may be delayed or your petition may be denied.
2. Submit an Immigrant Petition
An immigrant petition must be filed by you or by someone else on your behalf. This will include an immigrant petition and Green Card application. Common forms that must be field include the following:
- Application to Register Permanent Residence of Adjust Status (Form I-485)
- Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130)
- Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (Form I-140)
- Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition (Form I-730)
- Application for Asylum and for Withholding Removal (Form I-589)
- Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er) or Special Immigrant (Form I-360)
- Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur (Form I-526)
- Petition of U Nonimmigrant Status (Form I-918)
- Petition for Qualifying Family Member of U-1 Nonimmigrant (Form I-929)
You may file all of your forms together in a concurrent filing or separately. Your requirements for paperwork and timing may be different depending on your immigrant category.
3. Determine Your Visa Availability
If applicable, you may need to ensure there are visas available for you. The United States releases a certain number of visas in specific categories each year. If there are no more visas left in your category, then you may have to be placed on a waitlist or wait to submit your petition.
4. File a Form I-485
If you are currently living in the United States, then you simply file a Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence of Adjust Status. If you are applying for an adjustment of status under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) under section 245(i), then you may also have to file a Form I-485 Supplement A, Adjustment of Status Under Section 245(i).
5. Attend an Application Support Center (ASC) Appointment
After you file necessary forms, you will be mailed a notice to attend an Application Support Center (ASC) appointment for biometrics services. At this appointment, you will provide your fingerprints, a photograph, and a signature. Your biometrics will be used to run background and security checks.
You must also sign an acknowledgment stating that you reviewed all of the information on your application and other paperwork. You must certify that all of that information is true, complete, and correct at the time you filed your forms. If you fail to sign an acknowledgment, then you may have to attend another ASC appointment or your Form I-485 may be denied.
6. Attend a USCIS Adjustment of Status Interview
You may be requested to appear for a USCIS interview; however, not everyone attends an interview. If you are selected for an interview, then you must appear at the date, time, and location in the notice you are sent. If you fail to appear for the interview, your petition for adjustment of status may be denied.
At the interview, you will be asked questions about the information you submitted in your forms. You may also be asked about your past and connections in the United States and abroad. You should answer all questions accurately if you are seeking an adjustment of status.
7. Submit Additional Evidence, If Necessary
The USCIS may request additional information from you at a later date. Before they approve your petition for adjustment of status, the USCIS may need supplemental documents or additional information. This may be because you did not submit all of the required evidence, your evidence is no longer valid, or they simply need more information to determine your eligibility for an adjustment of status.
8. Check the Status of Your Case
Throughout the adjustment of status process, you may wonder about the status of your case. You can check it online or call the USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283. This will enable you to check on the status of your Form I-485 and additional documentation.
9. Receive Your Decision
After you have submitted all necessary information and waited a period of time, you will receive a decision on your adjustment of status. If you are denied, speak to an immigration lawyer as soon as possible. You can begin the process of appealing your situation or applying again with renewed information.
Talk to a Green Card Lawyer About Adjustment of Status
If you or a loved one are seeking a green card through adjustment of status, you should work with a knowledgeable immigration attorney who can help reduce your wait time due to missing documents and improve your chances of being approved. Call Solano Law Firm, LLC today.