There are many ways by which a foreign individual can enter and live in the United States. However, it can be very complicated to understand what forms and visas apply to your specific situation. Furthermore, it may not always be entirely clear how you can apply to become a permanent resident in the United States. Adjustment of status is one route that foreign residents can be given immigrant status in the U.S.
What is Adjustment of Status?
Adjustment of Status refers to the process by which a foreign citizen residing in the United States can apply for permanent residence without having to leave the country. Adjustment of status changes an individual’s legal status from non-immigrant to immigrant.
Who is Eligible?
There are several circumstances under which an individual can file for adjustment of status. However, in most cases, a foreign individual will have an immigrant petition filed by a US citizen or Legal Permanent Resident, on their behalf. Additionally, in order to apply for adjustment of status, you must be in the US legally and have an immigrant visa immediately available to you.
Exceptions to these standards exist for self-petitioning humanitarian, Amerasian, and widow visas. Additionally, exceptions may be given to immigrants that belong to special categories like refugees or asylees. Individuals may also be disqualified from filing for adjustment of status based on various factors such as criminal history.
How to Adjust Your Status
Individuals may adjust their status and obtain a green card if they are eligible under all provisions of law. They will have to file an application and have a petition filed by a petitioner, as stated above. For example, individuals who are married to a United States citizen would need their spouse to fill out Form I-130 to obtain a marriage visa while they fill out a Form I-485 to adjust their status.
Before taking these steps, be sure to consult with an immigration lawyer to ensure that you are eligible for adjustment of status and are not deportable for any reason. While it is helpful to understand the process before beginning, it is important that an experienced immigration attorney is by your side to ensure that every step is completed carefully and properly. We offer free consultations people who need immigration help in Miami, Orlando, Tampa and West Palm Beach.