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Adjustment of Status

Adjustment of Status - Immigration Practice Areas

Our Mississippi Immigration Legal Team will assist in the adjustment of your status in the United States from temporary to permanent while acquiring a green card in the United States.

Adjustment of Status through Parent/Child

Families are meant to be together; they shouldn’t be separated by borders or oceans. Sadly, there are many relatives who live countries apart although they desire to be united. And while the United States allows citizens to bring their immediate relatives over, the bureaucratic processes involved can be quite complex and confusing. Legal assistance is often a necessity in these matters.

U.S. citizens over the age of 21 may petition for their child (unmarried and under the age of 21) and parents to come and live permanently in the United States. There are no fiscal year visa limits for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens since they hold special immigration priority and therefore do not have to wait for a visa number to become available to them.

Adjustment of Status Through Marriage

Through marriage, a foreign national can become an immediate relative of a United States citizen, allowing him or her to apply for permanent residency in the U.S. The immediate relative classification allows a foreign national to apply for a visa without having to worry about preference categories or priority backlogs, since an immigrant visa will always be available to him or her. However, the adjustment of status process involves a lot of paperwork, obligatory bureaucratic processes, and even an interview. Having an experienced immigration law attorney can help out immensely.

What are the Requirements for Adjustment of Status through Marriage?

A foreign national who is interested in applying for adjustment of status through marriage should fulfill the following conditions:

-Physically present in the U.S.
-Was inspected and lawfully admitted into the nation by a U.S. immigration official.
-Has no previous criminal or immigration history that renders them inadmissible.
-If the foreign national does not fulfill the two former requirements, then he or she may apply for lawful permanent resident status through Immigrant Visa Process (IVP) instead. Also, he or she may apply for waiver(s) if considered inadmissible due to past criminal or immigration violations.
What Documentation is Required for Adjustment of Status through Marriage?
Adjustment of status applicants must submit a comprehensive package of documentation to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to prove the legitimacy of their marriage and, in turn, their eligibility.
The two primary forms are:
  • Form I-130 – Petition for Immediate Relative: The form is necessary for the validation of the marriage. Evidence of the marriage’s legitimacy must be submitted with the form. Such evidence may include photographs, joint account statements, insurance policies, and other documents.
  • Form I-485 – Adjustment of Status: This form determines whether or not the applicant is admissible and qualifies for permanent residency status.

Additionally, the following two ancillary forms must be submitted:

  • Form I-693 – Medical Exam Results: A USCIS approved civil surgeon must conduct a medical examination of the foreign national spouse to ensure he or she is not inadmissible on medical grounds.
  • Form I-864 – Affidavit of Support: The form is completed by the U.S. citizen spouse and checks whether he or she is able to financially support the foreign national spouse.

Finally, the following forms may be submitted to establish or preserve the foreign national spouse’s employment eligibility and travel privileges:

  • Form I-765 – Application for Employment Authorization: A foreign national may file this alongside adjustment of status paperwork to receive work privileges while his or her adjustment of status case is pending. If approved, he or she receives an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which allows him or her to work in any position for any employer.
  • Form I-131 – Application for Advance Parole: A foreign national may file this alongside adjustment of status paperwork to retain international travel privileges while his or her adjustment of status case is pending. If approved, he or she receives an Advance Parole Document.
    If an applicant departs the U.S. before the adjustment of status application is processed and without advance parole, he or she may forfeit their application to adjust status.

What Should I Expect after Filing Adjustment of Status through Marriage?

The foreign national applicant should receive Receipt Notices for each application filed within 2-3 weeks of filing. Afterwards, he or she will be scheduled by the USCIS for a Biometrics Appointment, which involves the foreign national having their picture and fingerprints taken for security purposes. If the USCIS deems the original documentation that was submitted with the forms to be inadequate, they will request the submission of specific information. Finally, an interview will be conducted with the couple by an immigration officer, the purpose of which is to determine the legitimacy of the marriage.

After everything has been completed, the officer will usually let the couple know if the foreign national has been approved for permanent residency, or if there are any issues. If approval is not given at the end of the interview, the couple will likely have to wait 30-60 days before an answer is given.

Applying for a Green Card while in the United States

Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who wish to apply for a green card while inside the U.S. may do so through either a one or two-step process.

In the one-step process, the eligible relative may file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, at the same time the petitioning U.S. citizen files Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. If the concurrent filing goes through, the relative may receive permanent residence status.

In the two-step process, the petitioning U.S. citizen must file Form I-130 and have it pending or approved. Then the eligible relative should receive Form I-797, Notice of Action, and afterwards may file Form I-485, including a receipt of the Form I-130 or the Form I-797.

Applying for a Green Card while outside of the United States

An immediate relative of a U.S. citizen who lives outside of the United States and wishes to get a green card should initiate consular processing, which involves the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) working with the Department of State to issue a visa based on an approved Form I-130. Once the relative receives the visa, s/he can then use it to travel to the United States and become a permanent resident upon admission into the nation’s port of entry. For more information, visit the USCIS webpage.

Additional Immigration that we can assist with are Green Cards for DACA & TPS holders, I-130 with Provisional Waiver, Obtaining Green Cards Through Marriage, Parents of US Citizens, Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver, Same Sex Marriage, and Sibling Immigration.

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