Permanent residency is the visa status of a person authorized to live and work in the United States of America permanently. Adjustment of Status is the process by which a non-United States citizen petitions to become a Permanent Resident while in the United States. Once a person becomes a Permanent Resident, they must carry their residency documentation – a green card – with them. In order to qualify for permanent resident status, a non-United States citizen must reside within the United States and meet certain criteria. You may be eligible to apply for a green card through your family, a job offer or employment, refugee or asylum status, or a number of other special provisions. In some cases, you may even be able to self-petition.
Eligibility categories are:
- Family Based
- Job or employment based
- Refugee or asylum
- Special programs
There are many benefits of taking the adjustment of status route:
- You can file an Adjustment of Status application concurrently with
immediate relative green card petitions
- You can maintain valid status in the U.S. while your Adjustment of Immigration Status application is being processed
- You can apply for employment authorization, and
- You can appeal a denied Adjustment of Status application
Petitioning for adjustment of status can take several months to more than a year and will often require biometrics, a medical examination to evaluate for communicable diseases, and a formal interview. The medical examination will also involve a review of immunizations and any physical and mental disorders. Some older applicants are exempt from the biometrics. The term biometrics refers to the processes used to identify people. Immigrant applicants participate to allow for a criminal background check. Having committed certain crimes can prevent or delay citizenship. During a biometrics appointment, your fingerprints and photograph will be taken. DNA may also be taken in certain situations such as where applicants are from developing countries and do not have birth certificates, or when there are case discrepancies. If the person petitioning is the spouse of a United States citizen, then the immigration officer conducting the interview will also require proof of a valid marriage. If you leave the United States while your application is pending, that can negatively impact the process.
Visa numbers are limited for certain family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents and for employment cases. This means that even if the immigration service approves your immigrant visa petition, you may not receive an immigrant visa number right away. Up to several years could pass between the time the immigration service approves your immigrant visa petition and the Department of State provides you with an immigrant visa number.
Contact Our NYC Lawyers for Immigration Arrests
We can also help arrested immigrants who are in ICE detention. We work on your defense to removal proceedings related to the criminal case. To learn how our experience with the immigration consequences of criminal charges can help you and your family, contact the Law Office of Cheryl R. David in New York City.