Adjustmet of Status is the process to become a lawful permanent resident without having to leave the U.S. When you to travel outside of the U.S. to get your residency that process is called Consular Processing. Both require that you are the beneficiary of an approved petition, are a good moral person, and are admissible into the U.S.
In order to adjust your status, one or more of the categories below must apply to you:
- Family member. You either have an approved family based immigrant visa petition or are fining it at the same time as your adjustment of status petition;
- Employment. You either have an approved employment based immigrant visa petition or are filing it at the same as your adjustment of status petition;
- Fiance(e). Your fiance applied for you to enter with a visa and you married him or within 90 days of entering the U.S. If you were admitted as a dependent of your parents fiance visa, you may apply to adjust status based on your parent’s status. If you married the U.S. citizen but not within the 90-day of entering the U.S., you can still adjust but your spouse now also has to file an immediate relative petition for you first. If you did not marry the U.S. citizen faince who filed on your behalf, or if you married another U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, you are not eligible to adjust status in the United States. Your spouse can still petition for you but you must adjust through Consular Processing;
- Asylee/Refugee. You have been in the U.S. or at least a year after being granted asylum or refugee status and still qualify as an asylee or refugee or as the spouse or child of one;
- Diversity Visa (Lottery). You received notice from the Department of State that you have won a visa in the Green Card Lottery;
- Registry. You have lived continuously in the United States since before January 1, 1972; or
- Cuban citizenship/nationality.
In the following situations, you can still adjust your status but it must be the only negative factor in your application. Moreover, because every case is different you should check with an immigration attorney before you apply:
- You worked in the U.S. without permission, If the only “negative” factor in your application is that you worked without permission, you will still be able to adjust to a lawful permanent resident;
- You remained in the U.S. past the expiration date of your visa (e.g., past the expiration date on your I-94) and filed for adjustment of status while in an unlawful status because of that;
- failed to maintain lawful status; or
- have been admitted as a visitor without a visa under the Guam visa waiver program or the 90-day admission under the Visa Waiver Program.
If you entered the U.S. without permission, you generally will not be able to adjust your status. You may be able to Consular Process. However, when you leave the U.S., you may trigger the 3 or 10 year bar. However, if you qualify for the LIFE Act, you may be able to adjust after paying a $1,000 fine.
Andres Mejer Law helps individuals and families who need help with U.S. citizenship, legal residency, deportation, and other immigration issues in the Long Branch and Lakewood areas and across New Jersey.