What Is Adjustment of Status—and Is It Right for You?

The United States was founded, built, developed, and carried by immigrants. Still to this day, immigrants comprise huge percentages of some of our most essential positions.

But people take many different paths to move to the United States, and these countless options can make the process even more challenging than it already is.

As a general rule, there are two different ways to obtain a green card (lawful permanent residence):

  1. Applying for an immigrant visa through consular processing abroad; and
  2. Adjustment of status from within the United States.

If you are living lawfully in the United States, but you do not yet have a green card, you may qualify for adjustment of status.

Not to be confused with extension of status (which extends the period of authorized stay for your nonimmigrant visa) or change of status (which changes your status from one nonimmigrant category to another), adjustment of status specifically results in permanent residence.

Are You Eligible?

The adjustment of status process is only available for certain categories of applicants.

You may be able to adjust your status to permanent residence if you are:

  • A family member of a lawful permanent resident or U.S. citizen
  • An employee of a U.S. employer
  • An investor
  • A Special Immigrant (e.g., religious worker, Special Immigrant Juvenile, Afghan/Iraqi employee or translator, international broadcaster, or employee of NATO-6 or other international organization)
  • A refugee/asylum seeker
  • A victim of human trafficking or another serious crime
  • A victim of abuse committed by a lawful permanent resident/U.S. citizen family member
  • An immigrant who has lived continuously in the U.S. since 1971
  • An immigrant under other categories

Each of these categories has its own set of qualifications and documentation requirements. To increase the likelihood of obtaining a green card through one of these categories, consult with an experienced professional.

The Adjustment of Status Process

After determining whether you qualify for adjustment of status, your next step will be to complete the immigrant petition. In many cases, you will need someone else to file this petition for you. This person or entity is called your sponsor, and they may be your family member or employer, depending on your category. Immigrant investors, self-petitioners under the Violence Against Women Act, and asylees are just a few examples of individuals who may file the immigrant petition without a sponsor.

If USCIS approves your immigrant petition, you may need to wait for a visa to become available in your category. Check the Visa Bulletin each month to learn whether you may move forward. If you are an immediate relative (parent, child, or spouse) of a U.S. citizen, you do not need to wait for a visa to become available.

Once your petition is approved, and a visa is available in your category, you can submit your application for adjustment of status. You will most likely need to attend an interview and a biometrics appointment.

If you receive a request for additional evidence, this does not necessarily mean USCIS is going to reject your application. You will simply need to provide the requested evidence within the provided deadline.

Get Started on Your Process Today

At Sintsirmas & Mueller Co. L.P.A., we assist people of all backgrounds, circumstances, and occupations. Some of our clients are international entrepreneurs, choosing to take their investments to the U.S., while others are fleeing dangerous conditions in the home countries. No matter your situation, you can expect nothing but respect, dedication, and top-tier legal services from our team of attorneys.

For a free consultation, call (888) 491-8770 or contact us online today.