How to Adjust Your Immigration Status

Am I Eligible for a Green Card?

If you are an immigrant to the United States and would like to become a lawful permanent resident, you must apply for a Green Card. There are a variety of reasons you may wish to live in the U.S. and each one has a corresponding path toward obtaining permanent residency. According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Green Card eligibility categories include:

  • Family: If you are a close family member to a U.S. citizen, such as a spouse, parent, sibling, or child, you may be eligible for a Green Card. You may also be able to apply if you are a fiancé(e), widow(er), or an abused family member of a U.S. citizen.
  • Employment: You may be able to obtain a Green Card if you are an immigrant worker and meet the requirements of a first, second, or third preference immigrant worker. You may also be able to adjust your status if you are an approved doctor under the Physician National Interest Waiver or a foreign/immigrant investor and have invested more than $1 million in a U.S. business or industry that will generate more than 10 new jobs.
  • Special immigrants: Currently, immigrants who are religious workers in a faith-based organization or non-profit may be eligible for a Green Card, as well as abused juvenile immigrants, journalists, and members of the media. Employees and family members of employees of international organizations such as NATO may also be eligible.
  • Refugee status or asylum: If you have been granted refugee status or asylum, you can apply for status adjustment after 1 year.
  • Victims of human trafficking and other serious crimes: You may apply for a Green Card after being issued a (U) or (T) nonimmigrant visa.
  • Special circumstances: According to USCIS, you may be eligible to receive a Green Card under the Cuban Adjustment Act, the Indochinese Parole Adjustment Act of 2000, the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act, or the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. You may also be eligible if you are a foreign diplomat, a U.S.-born child of a foreign diplomat, a Canadian-born Native American, or an approved Lautenberg parolee.

How to Apply for Status Adjustment

One of the first and most important steps toward applying for permanent residency is determining the reasons for your move to the United States. Before you are granted a Green Card, you will have to meet the criteria of at least one category listed above and prove it is in your best interest to be a permanent resident.

Next, athird party must file an immigrant petition. The appropriate third party to file a petition on your behalf will depend on your reasons for applying for permanent residency. If you are an immigrant worker, your employer must file an official Petition for Alien Worker. If you are a family member of a U.S. citizen, that family member must file a Petition for Alien Relative for you. (Humanitarian programs that aid refugees, victims of crimes, and other categories of immigrants may require you to meet specific other criteria before you are able to apply for a Green Card, but they are not often required to file a petition on your behalf.)

Before you do any of the above, contact a Twinsburg immigration attorney at Sintsirmas & Mueller Co. L.P.A. We are here to help you figure out which category you fall into, who should file your petition, and how to navigate the challenging process of obtaining a Green Card.

Call us at (888) 491-8770 or send us a message to schedule your free consultation today.