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Am I eligible to apply for an adjustment of status?

Are you thinking about applying for permanent resident status in the United States? If so, one way to modify your status from temporary to permanent is by applying for "adjustment of status."

In essence, adjustment of status is a procedure through which a person can get permanent resident status without having to return to their home country for visa processing. However, it's not as simple a process as it may sound.

Indeed, there are many requirements a person must satisfy to be eligible for adjustment of status under the Immigration and Nationality Act. A few of these requirements include:

  • You must already be in the United States.
  • You must be eligible for a green card. Usually, this eligibility will be through a close family member who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, an employer, or by virtue of being a refugee or a person seeking asylum.
  • If your green card eligibility is based on family or employment, you must already have an approved visa petition on file and your priority date must be current.
  • If your green card eligibility is based on refugee or asylum status, your entry into the U.S. with refugee status or your asylum approval must have occurred more than one year ago.
  • You must have a valid visa and must not have worked illegally or stayed beyond the expiration date of your permitted stay.

There are also numerous factors that could make you ineligible for adjustment of status:

  • You entered the U.S. while in transit to another country without first obtaining a visa.
  • You entered the U.S. while you were a non-immigrant crewman.
  • You were admitted into the U.S. without being inspected by a U.S. immigration inspector.
  • You are employed in the U.S. without authorization or are no longer legally in the country.
  • You were admitted into the U.S. as a visitor under the Visa Waiver Program.
  • You are already a conditional permanent resident.
  • You were admitted as a K-1 fiancée but did not marry the U.S. citizen who filed the petition on your behalf.

Naturally, there are numerous nuances and exceptions to these general requirements. If you are in the United States and believe you are eligible for adjustment of status, you should contact an experienced immigration law attorney. Before applying for adjustment of status, it's always best to address any complicating factors and make sure you qualify.

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