Areas of Practice | Adjustment Of Status Applications

“Green Card” Overview

Status to enter the country must be acquired before a visa or a green card is obtained. Immigration to the United States generally comes in one of the following forms…

  • Immigration through a Family Member
  • Immigration through Employment
  • Immigration based on Diversity Lottery
  • Immigration based on Refugees or Asylum

Depending on the path you take greatly alters your ability to obtain status as an immigrant. In most cases, USCIS must first approve an immigrant petition for you, usually filed by an employer or relative. Then, an immigrant visa number must be available to you, even if you are already in the United States. After that, if you are already in the United States, you may apply to adjust to permanent resident status (If you are outside the United States, you will be notified to go to the local U.S. consulate to complete the processing for an immigrant visa.) This Permanent Resident Card is also called Form I-551 or a Green Card..

You may be eligibility for a Green Card if…

  • You have an approved visa;
  • You are filing with a completed relative petition, special immigrant juvenile petition, special immigrant military petition;
  • You are the spouse or child or a legal immigrant or citizen;
  • You are engaged to a citizen within the United States;
  • You have asylum status;
  • You have refugee status;
  • You are a Cuban citizenship and…
    • If you were admitted post January 1959 and have been present in the United States at least one year, or…
    • You are the spouse or unmarried child of an individual described above and have been present in the United States for at least one year; or
  • You have maintained continuous residence since January 1, 1972.

If you desire to do any research on your own,

( www.uscis.gov/greencard ) provides excellent guides for each path to obtaining a green card and renewing green cards

How to Apply for Immigration Status through a Family Member

If you want to become a lawful permanent resident based on the fact that you have a relative who is a citizen of the United States, or a relative who is a lawful permanent resident, you must go through a multi-step process.

  • The USCIS must approve an immigrant visa petition, I-130 Petition. This petition is filed by your relative (known as your sponsor) and must be accompanied by proof of your relationship to the requesting relative.
  • The Department of State (DOS) must determine if an immigrant visa number is immediately available to you, the foreign national, even if you are already in the United States.
  • If you are already in the United States, you may apply to change your status to that of a lawful permanent resident after a visa number becomes available to you.
  • If you are outside the United States when an immigrant visa number becomes available, you must then go to the U.S. consulate servicing the area in which you reside to complete your processing.

Sponsor Eligibility

  • They must be a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the U.S.; and
  • They must prove that they can support you at 125% above the mandated poverty line and file an affidavit stating such.

Applicant Eligibility

The relatives which may be sponsored as an immigrant vary depending on whether the sponsor is a U.S. Citizen or a lawful permanent resident.

If the sponsor is a U.S. Citizen, they may petition for the following foreign national relatives to immigrate to the U.S:

  • Husband or wife;
  • Unmarried child under 21 years of age;
  • Unmarried son or daughter over 21;
  • Married son or daughter of any age;
  • Brother or sister, if the sponsor is at least 21 years old; or
  • Parent, if the sponsor is at least 21 years old.

If the sponsor is a lawful permanent resident, they may petition for the following foreign national relatives to immigrate to the U.S.:

  • Husband or wife, or
  • Unmarried son or daughter of any age.

Preference Categories

The immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, which includes parents, spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21, do not have to wait for an immigrant visa number to become available once the visa petition filed for them is approved by USCIS.

The following preferences are as follows:

First preference:

Unmarried, adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens. Adult means 21 years of age or older.

Second Preference:

Spouses of lawful permanent residents, their unmarried children (under twenty-one), and the unmarried sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents.

Third Preference:

Married sons and daughters of U.S. Citizens.

Fourth Preference:

Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. Citizens.

How to Apply for Immigrant Status Based on Employment?

Please reference our Immigration through employment page.

If you have any questions concerning any of the steps described above, Strasser Asatrian, LLC offers experienced and knowledgeable legal advice that is respected throughout the immigration law community.