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Adjustment of Status

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) permits the change of an individual's immigration status while in the United States from nonimmigrant or parolee (temporary) to immigrant (permanent) if the individual was inspected and admitted or paroled into the United States and is able to meet all required qualifications for a green card (permanent residence) in a particular category. The common term for a change to permanent status is "adjustment of status."

There are two primary paths for an individual to acquire permanent resident status. Adjustment of status is the process by which an eligible individual already in the United States can get permanent resident status (a green card) without having to return to their home country to complete visa processing.

Consular processing is an alternate process for an individual outside the United States (or who is in the United States but is ineligible to adjust status) to obtain a visa abroad and enter the United States as a permanent resident. This pathway is referred to as "consular processing"

Steps for Adjustment of Status

1. Determine Your Basis to Immigrate
The first step in the adjustment of status process is to determine if the client fits into a specific immigrant category . Most immigrants become eligible for a green card (permanent residence) through a petition filed on their behalf by a family member or employer.  Others become permanent residents through first obtaining refugee or asylum status, or through a number of other special provisions. 

2. File the Immigrant Petition
When a client knows what category he or she believes best fits the individual's situation, in most cases, an immigrant petition will need to be filed.  

  • Family Based 
    Family based categories require that a U.S. citizen or permanent resident relative file a Petition for Alien Relative for the client. 
  • Employment Based
    Employment based categories most often require the intending U.S. employer to file a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker.  Entrepreneurs who intend to invest significant amounts of capital into a business venture in the United States may file Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur" on their own behalf.
  • Special Classes of Immigrants 
    In some cases, certain immigrants may file a Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), and Special Immigrant, or have one filed on their behalf.
  • Humanitarian Programs
    Most humanitarian programs do not require an underlying petition, although individuals may need to meet additional requirements before they can adjust status.

3. Check Visa Availability
An alien may not file a form to adjust status until a visa is available in your category.  If an immigrant visa is currently available to you, you may be able to apply for permanent residence status on Form I-485.  

4. File Application to Register Permanent Residency or Adjust Status
Regardless of whether a petition must be filed and approved prior to your filing Form I-485 or whether it may be filed concurrently, you will need to apply for permanent residence on Form I-485 at the appropriate time.

Note: There are a few categories which may require a different form than Form I-485.

When filing Form I-485, you must read the form instructions carefully and submit all required documentation and evidence required for your particular category.  Failure to do so may result in your application being delayed or possibly denied for failure to establish that you are eligible to adjust status.

5. Go to your Application Support Center appointment (fingerprints)
After you file your application, you will be notified to appear at an Application Support Center for biometrics collection, which usually involves having your picture and signature taken and being fingerprinted.  This information will be used to conduct your required security checks and for eventual creation of a green card, employment authorization (work permit) or advance parole document.

6. Go to your interview (if applicable)
You may be notified of the date, time, and location for an interview at a USCIS office to answer questions under oath or affirmation regarding your application. You must attend all interviews when you receive a notice.

When you come to your interview, you (and the family member that filed the Form I-130 petition on your behalf, if applicable) must bring originals of all documentation submitted with this application including passports, official travel documents, and Form I-94 regardless if they are expired.

Not all applications require an interview. USCIS officials will review your case to determine if it meets one of the exceptions. 

7. Get you final decision in the mail
After all paperwork has been received, interviews conducted (if necessary), security checks completed, and other eligibility requirements reviewed, your case will be ready for a decision by USCIS.  In all cases, you will be notified of the decision in writing.

The granting of permanent residency is generally recorded as the date that you became a permanent resident.  Refugees and certain humanitarian parolees (e.g. Cuban, Lautenberg) will have their date of adjustment of status recorded as that of their entry into the United States as a refugee. Asylees, whether the principal filer or his/her derivatives, will have their date of adjustment recorded as one year prior to the date of being granted permanent residence.

Choosing an Immigration  Attorney 

Becoming a permanent resident of the United States is a goal of many individuals in the country and across the globe. Because of the myriad options available to consider, enlisting the help of a good immigration attorney who has practiced in the field will make the process smoother .The experienced immigration attorney at The Law Office of Sunita Boddu has represented clients from the United States and across the globe in a wide range of immigration issues, including citizenship, permanent residence cards (green cards), nonimmigrant visas, family-based immigration, and employment-based immigration. Call our immigration law firm today for assistance with any immigration matter. 

Contact our experienced immigration attorney today.

Our immigration law firm is built upon the trust of our clients, many of whom have referred their friends, family and coworkers to our firm. To speak with our lawyer, call us at (949)271-6375 for a consultation.

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Get in touch with The Law Office of Sunita Boddu if you have any questions about your case today.






 

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(949) 271-6375

Law Office of Sunita Boddu represents clients worldwide. We are pleased to assist with visa applications for people, especially in Mexico and other Latin American countries, Europe, and Eurasia, East Asia and the Pacific, especially Australia, Central and South Asia or anywhere across the globe.

Within California, we are pleased to serve clients in Orange County (OC) and the surrounding areas, including Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County, and Ventura County. Orange County cities include Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Brea, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Dana Point, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, La Palma, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Los Alamitos, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Stanton, Tustin, Villa Park, Westminster, and Yorba Linda.