Navigating the immigration process can be overwhelming. For immigrants who are currently living in the United States, it is important to understand what steps they can take to continue on their path toward permanent residence and eventual U.S. citizenship. For many immigrants, one of the most important steps in their immigration journey will involve applying for adjustment of status. By adjusting their status from a non-immigrant who is visiting the United States temporarily to that of a permanent resident, a person can ensure that they and their family will have the opportunity to resettle in the U.S., maintain employment, and in some cases, take steps to bring their family members to live with them. By understanding the eligibility requirements a person will need to meet when applying for adjustment of status, they can begin taking the proper steps to receive a Green Card and continue living in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident.
Eligibility Requirements for Adjustment of Status
There are numerous requirements that must be met for an immigrant to be able to adjust their status. These include:
Legal entry – An immigrant must have entered the United States legally. This means they must have arrived with a valid visa or through a recognized humanitarian program, such as refugee status or asylum. They must have been inspected by immigration officials and admitted to the United States or received parole.
Qualifying family relationship or employment opportunity – Immigrants can apply for adjustment of status if they receive sponsorship for a family-based or employment-based visa. Family-based visas are available to immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, such as spouses, parents, and unmarried children under 21 years old. Visas may also be available for immediate relatives of Green Card holders or other relatives of U.S. citizens. Employment-based visas may be available for people in certain categories who receive sponsorship from an employer in the United States.
Physical presence in the United States – The immigrant must be in the U.S. at the time of applying for adjustment of status. A person who is already residing in the country can seek to adjust their status without having to leave and receive approval for re-admission.
Compliance with immigration laws – Immigrants must not have violated any laws that would make them ineligible to enter or remain in the United States. Potential reasons for inadmissibility may include certain criminal offenses or accusations of immigration fraud. In some cases, immigrants may be able to apply for waivers of inadmissibility.
Approved immigrant petition – The immigrant must have an approved visa petition that was filed on their behalf by a sponsor. The approval of the petition establishes the basis for the immigrant’s eligibility for adjustment of status.
Visa availability – The immigrant must have a visa number immediately available to them. The availability of visa numbers is determined by the U.S. Department of State, and it is based on a person’s preference category and country of origin.
Contact Our Illinois Adjustment of Status Attorneys
Adjustment of status provides a valuable opportunity for immigrants to obtain lawful permanent resident status without having to leave the United States. However, understanding the eligibility requirements that may apply in these situations can often be difficult, and there are a number of complications that may arise during the immigration process. At [[title]], our DuPage County Green Card lawyers can help you understand the eligibility requirements you will need to meet when applying for adjustment of status, and we can assist with the application process and address any issues that may arise. Our goal is to ensure that you and your family will be able to live in the United States permanently and pursue the opportunities available. Contact us at [[phone]] to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can provide legal help with issues related to immigration.