Those who come to the United States seeking permanent legal residency generally have two options:
- Leave the country and apply for a Green Card through a U.S. Consulate
- Stay in the U.S. and apply for Adjustment of Status
Some may wonder, “Why would anyone uproot their life when they can apply for their Green Card while still in the country?” The reason is quite simple: not everyone qualifies to apply for Adjustment of Status.
Determining eligibility for adjustment of status
The change of status process happens through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which provides a variety of avenues for green card applicants. In order to apply for adjustment of status, someone must be eligible for a green card.
USCIS provides green cards to several categories of people, including:
- Those who have immediate relatives who are U.S. citizens
- Fiancé(e)s of U.S. citizens
- Physicians planning to work in an underserved area
- Immigrant workers
- Refugees and asylum seekers
- Victims of crime or human trafficking
If someone fits into one of these categories, they may be able to apply for adjustment of status. Those applying based on employment or family relationships must also already have an approved visa petition on file.
Deciding the right path to residency
Adjustment of status speeds up the process of obtaining permanent residency. Some who qualify can get their green card in as little as four months. However, every person’s situation is unique. Talking to an immigration lawyer can help you determine the best way to seek resident status.