The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) permits the change of an individual’s immigration status while in the United States from nonimmigrant or parolee (temporary) to immigrant (permanent) if the individual was inspected and admitted into the United States and is able to meet all required qualifications for a green card (permanent residence) in a particular category. The common term for a change to permanent status is “adjustment of status.”
The INA provides an individual two primary paths to permanent resident status. Adjustment of status is the process by which an eligible individual already in the United States can get permanent resident status (a green card) without having to return to their home country to complete visa processing.
An alternative process for an individual outside US (or who is in the United States but is ineligible to adjust status) is to obtain a visa abroad and enter the United States as a permanent resident). This pathway is referred to as “consular processing.”
Steps for Adjustment of Status:
- Determine Your Basis to Immigrate
The first step in the adjustment of status process is to determine if you fit into a specific immigrant category. Most immigrants become eligible for a green card (permanent residence) through a petition filed on your behalf by a family member or employer. Others become permanent residents through first obtaining refugee or asylum status, or through a number of other special provisions.
- File the Immigrant Petition
When you know what category you believe best fits your situation, in most cases, you will need to have an immigrant petition filed on your behalf.
- Family Based
Family based categories require that a U.S. citizen or permanent resident relative file petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130).
- Employment Based
Employment based categories most often require the intending U.S. employer to file for Alien Worker. Entrepreneurs who intend to invest significant amounts of capital into a business venture in the United States may file Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur” on their own behalf.
- Special Classes of Immigrants
In some cases, certain immigrants may file a Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), and Special Immigrant. To learn more about who may file a special immigrant petition.
Contact the Law Office of Raphael M. Scheetz to discuss how we can help you.