A Legal Guide for Adjusting Your Status in the US (Part 1)

Adjustment of Status

Originally, only U.S. consulates overseas were only authorized to issue immigrant visas to foreign nationals. This method is now considerably simpler. 

Nowadays, it is possible for foreign nationals living and working in the United States to gain permanent residency without leaving the country. An adjustment of status application allows candidates to apply for green cards without returning to their home countries. 

Adjusting your status then solely relates to the process of becoming a lawful permanent resident; it does not encompass transferring from one nonimmigrant category to another. 

Applicants must complete specific documents and pay the application costs to request a change of status. 

When to Adjust Your Status

A foreign person residing in the United States may apply for permanent resident status provided his or her immigrant petition has been authorized by the USCIS and an immigrant number is immediately available from the Department of State. 

If you were first accepted as a conditional resident, you may petition for permanent residence status. The majority of conditional residents enter the United States through marriage or through immigration based on investments. 

After two years of living and working in the United States, conditional residents must submit an application for a green card. 

If you earned status as a conditional resident through marriage and wish to shift to permanent resident status, you will need to submit Form I-751: Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence

When you alter your status to that of a permanent resident, the majority of privileges enjoyed by U.S. citizens become yours. Permanent residents are allowed to live and work permanently in the United States and are protected by federal, state, and municipal laws. 

After 5 years, you can also apply for naturalization and U.S. citizenship. Married applicants may apply for naturalization after 3 years.

Ways to  Modify Your Standing 

There are several options to alter your status to that of a green card holder or legal permanent resident of the United States. 

First, if you are currently residing in the United States, you may petition to adjust your status once the Department of State has given you a visa number. Then, fill out Form I-485, Application to  . . . Adjust Status. 

After the approval of your status modification, you should obtain a green card within a few months. 

Submit the Required Forms

To become a lawful permanent resident, you must submit the following documents to the US Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS):

  • Form I-485: Application to register permanent residence or change status; 
  • Form G-325A: a biography (for those aged 14 to 79) 
  • Form I-693, Medical Examination Form 
  • Two current color photographs (taken within thirty days) 
  • Form I-864: Declaration of Support (completed by a sponsor – not applicable to those applying for permanent resident status based on employment) 
  • Form I-765: Authorization for Work (for those who intend to work while their applications are pending) 
  • Form I-94: Arrival-Departure Document (provides evidence of admission, inspection, or parole into the United States)

To get the relevant paperwork, you can call the USCIS forms line at (toll-free) 800-870-3676 or use the USCIS’s forms-by-mail system. Also, you can find forms to download or fill out on the USCIS website at http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis,

Other Forms You May Need to Include

Depending on your specific situation, you may additionally be required to provide the following documents with your application for an adjustment of status: 

  • Your approval notice sent by the USCIS if your immigrant petition has already been approved; 
  • A copy of the completed petition filed on your behalf that will create an immigrant number – available immediately, if approved; 
  • Copies of the fiancé(e) petition approval along with a marriage certificate if you were admitted into the United States as the fiancé(e) of a United States citizen; 
  • A copy of Form I-94: Arrival-Departure Record showing the date you were admitted into the US;
  • A copy of your birth certificate and proof of relationship to your parent, if your parent became a lawful permanent resident after you were born; 
  • A copy of your marriage certificate, proof that any previous marriages were dissolved, and proof that your spouse became a permanent resident, if your spouse gained legal status after your marriage

You’ll need to speak with an attorney to ensure that you fill out the Adjustment of Status correctly and that you include all the appropriate forms and backup documents. He or she can go over the forms you fill out to make sure everything is included and that you are supplying the right paperwork.

Retaining legal services is necessary if you wish to get a green card and also go on and obtain U.S. citizenship at a later date.

Adjustment of Status

Get the Legal Help You Need for an Adjustment of Status Now

To learn more about adjusting your visa status, contact the Rijal Law Firm today. You can make inquiries at any time by calling (951) 667-1919.

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