Adjustment of status is the process used to apply for a Green Card or lawful permanent residency for someone already in the United States. You do not have to return to your home country for visa processing.
However, not everyone is eligible for adjustment of status. There are numerous requirements you have to meet in order to qualify for an adjustment of status.
Eligibility for adjustment of status
To be eligible for an adjustment of status, you must have a valid immigration visa and be eligible for a Green Card. First, you should be in the U.S. legally. You cannot be an illegal immigrant or in transit to another country and apply for an adjustment of status. The applicant must also be physically present in the U.S. when filing their application.
There are other conditions you must meet, depending on your category of Green Card application as stipulated by the Immigration and Nationality Act.
How long does adjustment of status take?
The time taken to adjust your status from an immigrant to that of a lawful permanent resident varies. Several factors determine the processing time of Green Cards, such as your application category and the paperwork involved. It may take several months or even years to finalize the process.
What if your visa expires?
You can legally be in the country on an expired visa while awaiting adjustment of status. However, you must have properly filed your application. Otherwise, you risk deportation for overstaying your visa without valid reasons
It may be in your best interests to seek assistance when adjusting your status to avoid mistakes that could delay or derail your bid for permanent resident status.