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When Is an Immigrant Eligible for an Adjustment of Status?

 Posted on January 11, 2024 in Immigration

Blog ImageFor immigrants who are currently living in the United States, the process of obtaining legal permanent residency, also known as a Green Card, can be complex and confusing. One potential pathway to obtaining a Green Card is through an adjustment of status. This option allows certain eligible immigrants to change their immigration status from nonimmigrant to immigrant without having to leave the country. An attorney with experience in immigration law can help immigrants and their family members determine when this option may be available, and they can provide legal support during the process of applying for a Green Card.

What Is an Adjustment of Status?

An adjustment of status allows eligible immigrants who are in the United States to apply for lawful permanent residency or a Green Card without being required to return to their home countries. This can save time and money compared to applying for a visa at a U.S. consulate abroad.

Eligibility Requirements for Adjustment of Status

In order to be eligible for an adjustment of status, immigrants must meet certain criteria:

  • Eligible immigration category: The immigrant must be applying in a category that allows for adjustment of status. Some examples include immediate relatives (spouses, parents, and unmarried children under 21 years old) of U.S. citizens; family members of U.S. citizens and Green Card holders who are eligible for Family Preference visas; immigrants who are eligible for employment-based visas after receiving sponsorship from U.S. employers; refugees or immigrants who have been granted asylum; diversity visa lottery winners; and VAWA self-petitioners who have been victims of abuse.

  • Maintaining legal status: The immigrant must have maintained lawful nonimmigrant status during their stay in the U.S., meaning they have not violated any immigration laws or overstayed their authorized period.

  • No unlawful presence: The immigrant cannot have accrued unlawful presence in the U.S., which typically means they have not stayed beyond their authorized period by more than 180 days.

  • Eligible for a visa: The immigrant must be eligible to receive an immigrant visa. This means they meet all the requirements of their particular category and have an available visa number.

  • Inadmissibility: The immigrant cannot be found inadmissible based on grounds such as criminal convictions, immigration fraud, health issues, public charge grounds, or security-related concerns.

The Adjustment of Status Process

The adjustment of status process involves several steps:

  1. Filing Form I-485: Immigrants must file an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. Along with this form, supporting documents such as birth certificates, passports, marriage certificates, photographs, and other evidence of eligibility should be submitted.

  2. Fingerprinting and background check: After filing the application package with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the applicant will typically receive a notice to attend a biometrics appointment where fingerprints and other information will be taken in order to perform background checks.

  3. Interview: In many cases, applicants are required to attend an interview at their local USCIS office. During the interview, officers may ask questions about the information provided on the application forms, and they may review supporting documents.

  4. Decision on application: After completing the necessary steps in the adjustment of status process, including submitting any additional evidence requested by USCIS following an interview, an immigrant will receive a decision on their application. Their request for an adjustment of status may be approved or denied. If necessary, an unfavorable decision may be appealed.

Contact an Experienced Orlando Adjustment of Status Lawyer

Navigating the adjustment of status process can be overwhelming. It is important to consult with an experienced immigration attorney who can help you understand the eligibility requirements, guide you through the application process, and address any potential challenges that may arise. At Vasquez Law Firm, PLLC, our Orange County Green Card attorneys are here to answer your questions and provide guidance throughout the immigration process. To set up a free consultation and learn more about how we can assist you in obtaining a Green Card, contact us at 407-955-5000.

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