How Can I Adjust My Status in the United States?

There are many people who are not citizens of the United States who come to the country. In order to do this, they must first obtain a certain status through obtaining a visa. Visas are available for a variety of reasons including employment, visitation, education, marriage, and more. After living in the country for a period of time, an individual may want to change their status. This is usually seen when they wish to obtain permanent residency with a Green Card. In order to do this, one must go through an adjustment of status. During this time, it can be beneficial to retain the services of an experienced immigration attorney for guidance. 

Do I Qualify for an Adjustment of Status?

In order to apply for permanent residency, a foreign individual must meet certain qualifications. To apply for an adjustment of status, the applicant is required to live in the United States and fall under one eligibility category. The categories are as follows:

  • Family-based: If the applicant is an immediate relative of a citizen in the United States, they are not required to wait for a visa. Immediate relatives that are eligible for a Green Card can include parents, spouses, and unmarried children under the age of 21. It is important to know that there is not a limit to the number of visas that can be issued for family members of a citizen.
  • Job or employment based: Those who want to come to the country due to employment or a job offer can apply for permanent residency. It is important to know there are a limited number of visas that may be issued for this category.
  • Refugee or asylum: Individuals who come to the country as a refugee or were granted asylum can apply for permanent residency as well. This can be done one year after they came to the country. Spouses or children of refugees and asylees can qualify for this as well.
  • Special programs

What Does the Process Look Like?

Just like the process of receiving other government documents, petitioning for an adjustment of status is not a simple or fast process. This can take anywhere from several months to longer than a year. In order for the process to be completed and an adjustment of status to be issued, various steps must take place first. This ensures the applicant meets the criteria they are required to. Throughout this time, background checks and a formal interview will take place. If the individual is petitioning as a spouse, the immigration officer must be provided with proof of their marriage. In addition to this, those who wish to work while their application is being processed can file for employment authorization while they wait. 

Contact our Firm

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.