When individuals who are not a citizen of the United States wish to come to the country, they must have a status that allows them to do so. This status can be attained through different types of visas. These visas allow individuals to come to the United States for a variety of reasons: visitation, employment, education, marriage, and more. After a non-citizen lives in the country for a long period of time, they may wish to change their status. An Adjustment of Status (AOS) is a process in which they can petition to become a Permanent Resident. This immigration status lets an individual to live and work in the United States permanently. This process is completed by approving an individual for a “Green Card.”
Qualifications for AOS
When foreigners look to apply for permanent residency, they must meet certain qualifications to do so. To apply, the individual must live in the United States and fall under one of the categories of eligibility. Individuals are able to apply for a Green Card through the following categories:
- Family-based: If an individual is an immediate relative of a United States citizen, they do not have to wait for a visa. Immediate relatives eligible for a Green Card are parents, spouses, and unmarried children under the age of 21. There is also no limit to the number of visas that can be issued for family members of a citizen, unlike other categories.
- Job or employment based: Individuals who wish to become immigrants because of employment or a job offer can apply for permanent residency. There are a limited amount of visas that may be issued for this.
- Refugee or asylum: Individuals admitted to the country as a refugee or were granted asylum are able to apply for permanent residency. They may do so one year after they came to the country. Qualifying spouses or children of refugees and asylees may do so as well.
- Special programs
Petitioning for AOS
It is important to understand that petitioning for an adjustment of status in the United States is not a quick process. It can take several months, sometimes even longer than a year. The process consists of several steps and requirements to be met before an applicant can be approved. This includes background checks and a formal interview. Those petitioning as a spouse must provide an immigration officer with proof of their marriage during the process. In addition, while the Adjustment of Status Application is being processed, individuals are able to file for employment authorization, which allows them to work and travel throughout the United States while they wait.
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If you or someone you know is facing an immigration issue and wishes to speak with an attorney, contact the Law Office of Cheryl R. Davidtoday.
The Law Offices of Cheryl R. David practices immigration law throughout NYC. If you have questions about your particular matters regarding immigration please contact the office to discuss your circumstances and options.