Thousands of people legally enter the United States every year, but most of them have to leave again. Visas have expiration dates. Even if you apply for extensions and renewals, your visa will eventually end. Those who want to stay in the United States can become Permanent Residents or Green Card holders.
Your Green Card gives you the legal right to stay in the United States permanently unless you break certain laws. Some people treat a Green Card as a step to citizenship, but you can stay in the country with a Green Card without naturalizing. One of the first steps in becoming a permanent resident is the adjustment of your status. What is eligible for the adjustment of their status?
You usually have to be in the United States already
To apply for the adjustment of your status, you need to be a United States resident. Occasionally, there are situations where people can file a visa or immigration paperwork and simultaneously request the adjustment of their status. For most everyone else, being physically present in the United States is a key qualifying factor for the adjustment of their status.
You have to submit paperwork and be able to pass background checks
If you already have a visa, you have probably been through at least one thorough background check. You may also have attended an immigration interview. You may have to repeat these steps when you ask for the adjustment of your status. You will submit Form I-485. You will then receive information about the next steps that you have to take.
You have to attend a specialized biometric appointment
One of the requirements to get your Green Card is completing a biometric appointment with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). By collecting someone’s fingerprints, signature and photographs, the USCIS helps guard against fraud and other tricks that could manipulate the immigration process.
After this process, you may have an interview or receive a request for additional information. The USCIS will inform you in a timely manner of whether they have approved your adjustment request or not. Those approved will receive a physical Green Card in the mail. Those rejected will have the option to reopen their case or request a reconsideration in certain situations.
Good support and advice can make the immigration process easier for you and help you avoid mistakes when applying for a visa or the adjustment of your status.