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Six Steps to Adjusting Status in the US
To get a green card in the United States, you need to go through a process called adjustment of status. Unlike with consular processing for a green card through marriage, adjusting your status allows you to stay in the US while processing your application or while your green card application is being processed.
If you’re considering applying to adjust your status, make sure to familiarize yourself with the steps you’ll take, and requirements to meet throughout the process. Read on to learn how to file for adjustment of status in the US.
1. Check your eligibility for filing.
Make sure you’re qualified to apply for a green card in one of the following categories before starting the process of adjusting status.
- Family-based immigration. This applies if you are the spouse or family member of a US citizen.
- Employment-based immigration. This applies if you have a job offer in the US and you qualify for an employment-based green card through sponsorship or based on your credentials.
- Others. This includes immigrants who qualify on humanitarian grounds or through the diversity lottery program.
Note that you should’ve entered the US through a valid visa or the Visa Waiver Program to use adjustment of status. If you’re unsure whether you’re eligible to get a green card and become a lawful permanent resident, discuss your situation with a local immigration lawyer to determine which category you can use to apply for permanent residence.
2. File your petition for adjustment of status.
The next step to adjusting status from visa holder to a permanent resident status is to have your sponsor file your petition to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Depending on which category you filed for, this can be done by your employer, spouse, or family member. Make sure to fill out the appropriate USCIS forms and include all the necessary paperwork.
3. Check the visa bulletin for your preference category.
After your sponsor files the petition, you’ll need to wait for USCIS to grant it. Once granted, make sure to check the availability of visas for your green card category. While immediate relatives of a United States citizen or green card holder don’t need to wait, other applicants for other categories may have to face a long wait before applying.
4. File your application for adjustment of status.
You can file your status adjustment petition using Form I-485 once you get your visa. Consider filing a request for a work permit so you’ll be able to work while awaiting the decision on your application. Consult a reliable immigration attorney if you need legal assistance preparing your application.
5. Attend your biometrics appointment.
The USCIS will schedule you for a biometric appointment, where they’ll take your fingerprints and eye scan. A background check will be conducted, and you may be asked to attend an in-person interview where you’ll be asked questions regarding your application.
Should the USCIS require further evidence from you, you’ll receive a formal request in the mail and possibly be asked to attend another green card interview.
6. Receive your application decision.
After going through the green card process, the only thing left to do is wait for the decision. You can track the status of your case online. If your application is approved, you’ll receive your green card in the mail after receiving your approval letter.
If you’re applying for a green card in the US, it’s important to seek legal advice from someone well-versed in immigration laws. Our immigration attorneys at Diener Law can discuss your options with you and assist in filing for adjustment of status to help you obtain permanent residency in the US. What are you waiting for? Call us today to find solutions to your immigration challenges!