Adjustment of Status
A change in immigration status is permitted by the Immigration and Nationality Act if the individual was inspected and admitted or paroled in the United States. The individual must also be able to meet all required qualifications for a green card in a particular category. Adjustment of status is the process by which an individual already in the United States can be granted a green card without having to return to their home country to complete processing. In the alternative, the consular process is for an individual outside of the United States to obtain a visa outside of the country, and enter the United States as a permanent resident.
The steps used for adjustment of status include:
- 1) Determine your basis to immigrate. This means that an individual must first understand their immigration status, and the avenue for which they may obtain a green card.
- 2) File the Immigrant Petition. This is the step that requires an individual to find a friend, relative, or employer to file a petition on their behalf. Requirements for each category include:
- Employment Based: require the intending United States employer to file Form I-140. Investors who intend to invest significant amounts of capital into a business venture in the US may file Form I-526.
- Family Based: Require that a United States citizen or permanent resident relative file Form I-130.
- Special Classes of Immigrants: certain immigrants may file Form I-360 in some cases.
- Humanitarian Programs: most of such programs do not require a petition.
- 3) Check Visa Availability. An applicant may not file Form I-485 until a visa is available in the applicant’s category. If there is an immigrant visa readily available, the applicant may apply for permanent resident status on Form I-485.
- 4) File Form I-485. Applications for permanent residence must be on Form I-485 at the appropriate time regardless of other circumstances.
- 5) Go to your Application Support Center appointment. After the application has been filed, an applicant will be asked to appear for a biometrics collection at an Application Support Center. The collection typically involves having a picture taken, being fingerprinted, and taking a signature. All information at the collection will be used to conduct security checks and for green card and work authorization creation.
- 6) Go to your interview. Interviews are conducted by the USCIS as a way to verify information regarding an individual’s application. All of the original documents submitted in the application must be brought in hard copies to the interview.
- 7) Get a final decision in the mail. In all adjustment of status cases, applicants will be notified of decisions in writing.