Basic Requirements for Adjustment of Status
Not everyone will qualify for adjustment of status to get their green card based on a family relationship. Some of the initial requirements that you should consider include:
- You must have an immediately available visa number.
- You must have a lawful admission to the United States.
- You must be “admissible” to the United States, or be eligible for an immigration waiver.
- You must have a qualifying family relationship with a United States citizen or permanent resident.
The above list does not include everything that needs to be considered. One benefit of working with an immigration lawyer on your application is that you’ll have a professional evaluate your case before any forms are submitted to the government. It is much better to learn from your lawyer that you don’t qualify than to risk receiving a Notice to Appear for an immigration court hearing because you applied when you didn’t qualify.
One-step Adjustment of Status
If you are an immediate relative of a United States citizen, you may be eligible to file a “one-step” adjustment of status application. You may qualify as immediate relative if you are the spouse of a United States citizen, if you are under age 21 and your parent is a United States citizen or if you are the parent of a United States citizen who is over 21 years of age. If you qualify for a one-step application, you will file both the I-130 petition and the I-485 adjustment of status application together. You also will be able to request a work card.
If your green card application is based on a different type of family relationship, you may be eligible to get a green card through a two step process. The first step will be to have your permanent resident or United States citizen relative file an I-130 petition on your behalf. When a visa number becomes available, you will then be able to file for adjustment of status. The amount of time that it takes for a visa number to become available will depend on the type of family relationship involved. You can check the expected waiting time for a visa number by reviewing the monthly visa bulletin.