Adjustment of Status
The immigration laws of the United States allow people to change their immigration status while they are living in the United States from temporary non-immigrant status to permanent immigrant status. The person must have been inspected and initially admitted in the United States on a temporary basis, but they must also meet all of the requirements for a green card. This change to permanent status is referred to an adjustment of status.
There are several steps for obtaining a status adjustment, such as:
First, you must determine on what basis you can immigrate. Do you fit into a specific immigrant category? Often, you are eligible for a green card via a petition filed on your behalf by an employer or a family member. Others may become permanent residents by first obtaining asylum or refugee status, or through other ways, including petitions under the Violence Against Women Act.
Second, once you have determined the immigrant category that fits your situation, you ordinarily will need to have a petition filed on your behalf. Family-based categories require petitions from a relative who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Employment-based categories usually require your employer to file a petition on your behalf. Some special classes of legal classifications allow you to file a petition on your behalf or may not require a petition at all in the case of humanitarian programs.
Third, you must make sure there is a visa available in your category. If one is available, you may be able to apply for permanent resident status on your application form.
Fourth, you must apply for permanent residence or to adjust status using a Form I-485. You must check the requirements for your immigrant category to determine when this form must be filed and whether other forms and/or documents are required.
Fifth, after your application is filed, you will be required to report to an Application Support Center to get your picture taken, to record your signature and to be fingerprinted. This information is used to conduct security checks and to create your green card, work permit or advance parole document.
Sixth, if applicable, you will be required to attend an interview and answer questions under oath regarding your application. Remember to bring any and all required documents with you.
Finally, after all of the paperwork is received, and you have completed your interview, if applicable, your security checks have cleared, and other eligibility requirements have been reviewed, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will issue a written decision. If your application is denied, the decision notice will tell you how you may appeal. Usually, if your decision can be appealed, you must do so within 30 days after you receive the decision in the mail. You may also be able to file a Motion to Reopen or Reconsider the decision.
If you or a loved one is having difficulty figuring out the adjustment of status process, or if you are in need of advice due to a denial of your petition for a status adjustment, the knowledgeable and experienced Central Pennsylvania Immigration Attorneys at Kelly, Parker & Cohen are ready to help. If you are in need of one or more of our immigration law services, contact one of the Central Pennsylvania Immigration Attorneys or call (717) 208-2622 or contact us online today for your free and confidential consultation.