A Green Card, or lawful permanent residence, allows you to legally and permanently live and work in the United States. There are a number of ways to apply for a Green Card; the eligibility requirements differ based on which immigrant category you are applying under.
If you are already in the United States, you may apply for lawful permanent residence by going through the adjustment of status process. You do not need to return to your home country to complete the process.
Green Card Eligibility
There are many paths to a Green Card. Under each immigrant category in which you may apply for lawful permanent residence, there are several qualifying relationships, statuses, or scenarios that will help establish eligibility. The first step before considering Adjustment of Status as an option is to determine whether you fit into a specific immigrant category and are eligible to apply for a Green Card. The general immigrant categories under which you must be eligible in order to apply include:
- Family, such as an immediate relative, fiancé(e), or widower of a U.S. citizen
- Special immigrant
- Refugee or asylee
- Victims of human trafficking or crime
- Victims of abuse
Adjustment of Status Eligibility
There are standard requirements an immigrant must meet in order to apply for adjustment of status.
- You must be physically present in the United States for the entirety of the adjustment of status process, from filing your application to the completion the process.
- You must have entered the United States in a lawful manner.
- You must be eligible for a Green Card at the time of your application to adjust status
Each category has further eligibility requirements. For example, most categories require that you have an approved and current immigrant petition (Form I-130 for family-based petitions and Form I-140 for employment-based petitions). If you entered the U.S. with the K-1 fiancé(e) visa, however, the requirement is that you married the individual who petitioned on your behalf within 90 days of receiving your visa. It is important to make sure you meet all eligibility requirement for the specific immigrant category that fits your situation.
Why Adjustment of Status?
Being eligible for adjustment of status makes a huge difference in the lives of some immigrants. This is due to the fact that having 180 days or more of unlawful presence in the United States can result in a bar upon return to the U.S. once an individual leaves the country. The bar upon return may be three or ten years, depending on how long the individual unlawfully stayed in the U.S.
Therefore, being able to adjust status may greatly benefit an individual who would otherwise leave the United States for consular processing, as they will not face a potential bar upon return.
How We Can Help
Youngblood & Associates has vast experience and knowledge of what is required to apply for a Green Card. Our team is well-versed in the variety of immigrant categories and their corresponding eligibility requirements. We can then assist you in determining if you are eligible for adjustment of status, and we will advise and represent you throughout the process of becoming a permanent resident.
Not sure what you need?
Call our office today at 931-274-7811 to schedule your FREE first consultation or complete a service inquiry form to get your process started today.