Adjustment Of Status/Lawful Permanent Residency/The “Green Card”

Adjustment of status refers to applying for lawful permanent resident status while being present in the United States. Lawful Permanent Residency…

Adjustment of status refers to applying for lawful permanent resident status while being present in the United States. Lawful Permanent Residency (LPR) refers to having a “Green Card” – an immigration status that grants individuals the right to live and work permanently in the U.S. The Green Card is the physical document that an applicant receives after their status in the U.S. has been adjusted to that of a permanent resident or after they have been approved for permanent resident status following an immigrant visa interview at a U.S. consulate abroad. The primary benefit of having a Green Card is that it provides a pathway to citizenship for its holder. A Green Card also offers various other benefits to the holder, such as the ability to sponsor certain family members and to access certain government benefits. There are various ways to gain permanent resident status in the U.S., including those listed below and more!

  • Through an immediate relative, such as a spouse or parent, who is a U.S. citizen or U.S. Permanent Resident (IR, CR categories)
  • Through a U.S. employer (EB1, EB2, EB3)
  • Through a Refugee or Asylee program
  • Through a Green Card Lottery (DV-Diversity Visa)
  • As an approved Victim of a Qualifying Crime (U Status)
  • As an approved Victim of Sex/Labor Trafficking (T Status)
  • As an approved Applicant of “Violence of Women’s Act” (VAWA)
  • As an approved National Interest Waiver (EB2- NIW)
  • As an approved Multinational Executive/Manager (EB1C)

Suppose a family member or employer has sponsored a beneficiary for a green card, and the petition is approved. In that case, the individual can file to adjust their status if they are in the U.S. Keep in mind that immigrant petitions can be filed concurrently with adjustment of status applications for foreign nationals from countries with available visa numbers. The eligibility requirements for filing for adjustment of status may vary depending on the immigrant category under which the individual is applying.

To apply for adjustment of status, an individual must follow the steps below:

  • Complete Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
  • Complete Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and Form I-131, Application for Travel Document (both documents allow applicants to work and travel while their I-485 is pending)
  • Submit the above forms with all required documentation and fees to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
  • Attend the biometrics appointment scheduled by the USCIS

Applicants can also include their spouse and children (under age 21) in their submission and proof of their qualifying relationship. Additionally, it is crucial for applicants residing in the U.S. to keep their residential address up to date with the USCIS if they move during the process. This action will help to ensure that their Green Card goes to the correct address upon approval. In some situations, an individual may be able to self-petition for a Green Card. This process applies to certain professions or circumstances, such as those listed below:

  • VAWA (established for battered spouses or children)
  • Afghan/Iraqi Translator
  • Broadcaster
  • International Organization Employee
  • Iraqi Who Assisted the U.S. Government
  • NATO-6 Nonimmigrant
  • Panama Canal Employee
  • Physician National Interest Waiver
  • Religious Worker

Applying to become a permanent resident of the United States can be a complex and lengthy process involving many documents. If you believe you are eligible for a Green Card, contact the US Immigration Law Counsel®, and we will guide you through the process.

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