If you have a permanent residence outside of the Unites States but wish to be in the U.S. on a temporary basis you likely will apply for a non-immigrant visa. There are different classifications of non-immigrant status including foreign government officials, visitors for business and pleasure, students, and investors. Because non-immigrant visas are temporary, they expire after the set period of time; however, non-immigrants and parolees (temporary) can apply to change their status to immigrant (permanent) if the individual goes through the inspection and admissions process and can meet all of the requirements for obtaining a green card. Typically, the common term for a change is status is adjustment of status.
Steps for Adjustment of Status
1) Decide Your Immigration Classification
There are many immigration categories to pick from when considering an adjustment of status. Most immigrants become eligible for permanent residence through a family member or employer. If applicable, you could also consider applying for refugee or asylum status. Determining which category you fit into is the first step to successfully applying for an adjustment of status.
2) File the Immigrant Petition
After you decide which category you are applying for, you will need to file a petition. Usually, this can be done by a family member who already has permanent residency status through filing Form I-130. In addition, you may be able to file Form I-485 (application for adjustment of status) concurrently with your I-130 petition to streamline the process. On the contrary, if you are seeking an employment-based adjustment of status, your employer likely will have to file Form I-140.
3) Check Visa Availability and File Form I-485
Visas have to be available before you can file Form I-485 for an adjustment of status. When filling out the form, make sure to read the instructions carefully. In addition, you must submit all the required documents or the USCIS could delay or deny your application.
4) Go to your Application Support Center Appointment
At the application support center appointment, officials will take your picture, record your fingerprints and record other information useful to conduct security checks.
5) Go to your Interview
Furthermore, the USCIS may notify you of a date and time for an interview at a USCIS office. You must attend all interviews after you receive a notice of appearance.
6) Receive your Final Decision!
Finally, after you complete the steps listed above, the USCIS will mail you your decision. If you receive a granting of permanent residency, you may now legally reside in the U.S.!
We recommend to always consult an attorney if you have questions regarding your application. Here at Boyer Law Firm, we can make sure that your paperwork is filed properly on time and can assist you with preparing for the interview. If the USCIS denies your application, we may be able to assist you with an appeal. Although not all denials can be appealed, our attorneys at Boyer Law Firm can help you file an appeal if applicable. Our experienced attorneys have assisted with many adjustments of status applications and look forward to helping you attain permanent residency in the U.S.