ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS AND GREEN CARDS

Adjustment of Status in Phoenix, Arizona 

The many paths to citizenship or lawful permanent residence (LPR) are long and difficult. If you have trouble understanding Adjustment of Status and Green Cards, you are not alone. First, an immigrant must determine what type of status they are eligible for. Then, he or she must file the correct forms, maintain their status, pay the necessary fees, and perform the necessary requirements. After completing an application and meeting all the requirements, an applicant must often wait months or even years. This is all on top of the difficulties of everyday life.

It’s easy to make simple mistakes during the process that could disqualify you from obtaining LPR. Consulting an attorney experienced in Adjustment of Status will help you navigate this complicated process. The attorneys at Ybarra Maldonado Law Group can help you determine your eligibility. We can also spot any potential legal problems, and prepare the necessary documents for you.

What is Adjustment of Status?

Adjustment of Status is the process for people not born in the U.S. that do not have LPR status to stay in the country. A person with a student or tourist visa could be eligible. A family member of a U.S. citizen might also be eligible.  After successful completion of the process, the individual may receive a Green Card. This allows them to work and reside in the country. They may stay in the country as long as they meet the necessary requirements. 

The way you entered the U.S., your family ties, and your background determine the way in which you apply for Adjustment of Status.

What is a Green Card?

A Green Card is a document issued to immigrants that allows them to reside and work permanently in the U.S. Its official name is a Permanent Resident Card. Green Card holders may apply for U.S. citizenship after showing they have continuously resided in the U.S. for at least five years. They must also show they have good moral character. The government can revoke Green Cards if the holder commits certain crimes. 

USCIS judges Green Card applications. In some cases, an immigration judge, an authorized federal judge, or a member of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) grants Green Cards. 

There are many types of Green Cards. They basically work in the same way. It grants you LPR status. But the way you become eligible for each requires a different process.

The Four Most Common Types of Green Cards Are:

  • Family Based Green Card
    • This requires the applicant to be an immediate family member of a U.S.citizen. This family member petitions on your behalf for your visa and Green Card. 
    • An unmarried applicant under the age of 21 with a parent that is a U.S. citizen may also apply for a family-based Green Card.
  • Marriage Based Green Card
    • Spouses of U.S. citizens may apply for Green Cards. The U.S. spouse petitions on behalf of the foreign spouse for a visa and Green Card.
    • A fiance of a U.S. citizen may apply for a K-1 visa. This allows them to get married on American soil. Once they get married, they may apply for a marriage based Green Card
  • Employment Based Green Card
    • The competition for this type of visa is strong. Like other forms of visas and green cards, it is highly susceptible to change depending on the current administration.
    • These applicants often need to demonstrate exceptional ability. They might also hold an advanced degree and/or other special categories set by the U.S. Government.
  • Returning Resident Immigrant Visa
    • This is for applicants who received their lawful permanent resident status in previous years. If their status expires while they travel outside of the country, they may apply for a Returning Resident Immigrant Visa. This helps them work towards a Green Card again.

Who is Eligible for Adjustment of Status?

If you have an immediate family member that is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, they may petition for your Adjustment of Status. In most cases, they will need to file Form I-130. Form I-130 is a Petition for an Alien Relative. Its purpose is to show a relationship between the applicant and the citizen or permanent resident. There are other types of forms that may be required for your application. Contact an experienced immigration attorney to help you navigate the application process. An attorney can inform you on which form to submit.

Requirements for Adjustment of Status

The requirements for Adjustment of Status might include but are not limited to:

  • Physical presence in the U.S.
    • You must be inside the U.S. when you file the application for Adjustment of Status.
    • Some people may apply for Adjustment of Status from their home country through a consulate. Consult an attorney to see if this is an option for you.
  • Other categories as declared by USCIS 
    • Immigration law is constantly changing. Speak with an attorney to see if you may be eligible for Adjustment of Status based on special circumstances.
  • Lawful entry into the US
    • This means that you entered the U.S. with valid documentation. If you entered with a valid visa but it is now expired, you still entered the U.S. legally.
  • Presentation of an approved, current, and relevant form
    • An attorney can help you determine which form to submit and how.
  • No serious criminal history or evidence of drug abuse
    • Most drug crimes make it impossible for you to adjust your status. 
  • A sponsor
    • Usually a sponsor is an immediate family member. They will have to prove they make a certain amount of money. In some cases, a sponsor can be a fiance, or an employer.
  • Payment of relevant fees
    • Each type of application requires a specified amount of money required to apply.
  • Medical Exam
    • Most people must take a medical exam before receiving permanent residence status.
    • These exams tend to cost a few hundred dollars.
    • Your doctor will fill out a form for you. Keep it sealed and in a safe place. Only the judge should open it.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Green Card?

With an experienced Attorney, it should take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to complete and submit the necessary paperwork. After submitting the Green Card application, the waiting period depends on how busy USCIS is. You can expect to wait at least 5 months and up to several years.

The Adjustment of Status process is complicated and confusing. At Ybarra Maldonado Law Group, our years of experience in immigration law allow us to get the best possible results for our clients. Applying for Adjustment of Status and Green Cards is much easier with the help of an experienced, compassionate attorney. Contact us for a free consultation.

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