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How Do I Become a Permanent Resident through Adjustment of Status?

Many foreign nationals desire to immigrate to the United States and become lawful permanent residents.  Often, the legal process is completed at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the person's home country.  However, many foreign nationals are already present in the United States, often with a non-immigrant visa, and prefer to simply stay in the United States without returning to their home country to process their visa petition.  Gaining lawful permanent resident status in the United States through the process known as "adjustment of status" carries significant legal benefits and opportunities.  Today's blog outlines the basic eligibility requirements for the adjustment of status process.

Lawful entry

Except in limited circumstances, an individual wishing to adjust status must prove lawful entry into the United States. For example, the individual entered with a student visa or visitor's visa, and can show legal proof of this lawful entry.

Not inadmissible due to medical reasons

The immigrant must show that there are no medical issues that would result in inadmissibility to the United States.  Typically, the type of medical problem that would render a person inadmissible would be a communicable disease.  To prove that no medical reason prevents admissibility, a medical examination is performed by a Civil Surgeon approved by the Department of Homeland Security.  The results of the medical examination are then submitted with the Application.

Not inadmissible due to criminal activity

The immigrant must prove that he/she is not inadmissible due to commission of certain types of crimes.  The types of crimes that render inadmissibility are numerous, and if the individual seeking adjustment of status has any criminal record other than traffic tickets, it is critical to seek the advice of an experienced immigration lawyer before proceeding, so that a determination can be made about the admissibility issue.

Approved visa petition

The immigrant must show that an immigrant visa petition giving the person an immediately available immigrant visa number that has been approved.  Multiple exceptions to this rule exist.  The underlying visa petition may be based on one of various types of relationships between the immigrant and a family member or employer.  

Financial support

To be eligible for adjustment of status, the immigrant must submit an Affidavit of Support from a qualified U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident that clearly shows sufficient income or assets to financially support the immigrant, if necessary, to avoid the immigrant becoming a public charge.  The level of income required to be shown is at least 125% of the poverty level.  If the principal sponsor does not have sufficient income or assets, a joint sponsor may submit a separate affidavit.

Adjustment of status is a great benefit to immigrants who desire to remain in the United States as lawful permanent residents.  Often, questions arise as to the immigrant's eligibility based on the requirements described above. Christiansen Law Firm has extensive experience assisting intending immigrants apply for adjustment of status.  For additional information about your eligibility for adjustment of status, contact the offices of Christiansen Law Firm in Houston or San Antonio.


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