Individuals wishing to become lawful permanent residents (otherwise known as a "green card" holder) follow one of two pathways to obtain a green card. The first is known as "consular processing". The second, and generally much preferred way, is known as "adjustment of status". Today's blog will discuss the adjustment of status process.
WHAT IS ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS?
Adjustment of status is the process of changing from a non-immigrant status, such as a student or visitor, to an immigrant status. A classic example is a foreign national who comes to the United States as a student, then marries a United States citizen and wishes to reside in the United States permanently.
WHAT IS THE APPLICATION PROCESS FOR ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS?
Generally, several applications are filed concurrently to obtain adjustment of status. In the above example, the following applications could be filed. First, a Petition for Alien Relative, which requests U.S. Citizenship and Imigration Service to determine that the foreign national is a foreign national, is married to a U.S. citizen, and that the marriage is "bona fide". Second, an Application for Adjustment of Status, which requests U.S.C.I.S. to determine that, based on the approval of the the Petition for Alien Relative, the person is eligible to become a permanent resident. To show this, it must be shown that the person entered the U.S. legally, has sufficient financial support, does not have any criminal history that renders him/her ineligible, and has no medical history that renders him/her ineligible. Supporting documents are submitted to prove these essential elements. Third, an application for advance parole, which requests permission to travel in and out of the United States while the application for adjustment of status is pending. Fourt, an application for employment authorization, which requests permission to work legally in the U.S. while the application for adjustment of status is pending.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO GET MY GREEN CARD?
In many cases, the length of time for processing depends on the country of origin and the relationship between the Petitioner and the foreign national, because there is a cap on the number of visas available in certain categories. However, in the above example, no cap exists, and therefore the length of time for processing would just depend on how long it takes for U.S.C.I.S. to process the request. Generally, we would expect this case to take around 9 months to process.
If you're considering adjustment of status, you don't have to go through the journey alone. Individuals need competent legal assistance to guide them through the process. The immigration lawyers of Christiansen Law Firm have significant experience in assisting clients in immigration matters, including adjustment of status. Contact the offices of Christiansen Law Firm in Houston or San Antonio for more information.