Adjustment of Status (Changing status in US to Green Card)
Under certain circumstances, a person who is physically present in the United States under one immigration status, may be able to change or “adjust” that status to that of Lawful Permanent Resident (green card). This requires special circumstances in order to be allowed by the USCIS. The most common method is through marriage to a United States Citizen, and I have a fee ecourse on many more details on this process.
Requirements for Adjustment of Status
In order for the alien to adjust status, there must be an immediately available visa for the alien. If the alien is married to a United States Citizen, then there is such a visa. The alien must have either entered the United States legally, with inspection at the point of entry, or if they entered illegally, that they qualify under the INA Section 245(i) provision of the immigration statute. Under that provision, if they have a valid petition that was filed for them on or before April 1, 2001, then they can pay a special fee and adjust status if otherwise eligible.
The petitioner must be a Lawful Permanent Resident or a United States Citizen who meets the requirements for a sponsor or who can find someone who can be a joint sponsor for the alien. The alien must meet the requirements of good moral charater and the other requirements set forth in the application as filed with USCIS.
Steps in Processing an Adjustment of Status
The petitioner alone or with an attorney, files the application for adjustment package with USCIS. This will typically include an application for a work permit. The work permit will usually be issued within 90 days of the date of the application filing, but the rest of the package awaits the interview with an adjustment officer with USCIS. Before the interview, the applicant will be required to provide biometrics for a background check. The biometrics include both fingerprints and a photograph. The adjustment interview is attended by the Petitioner, the Applicant, and their attorney if they have representation. Shortly after the interview, the parties will be advised of the decision.