Jesse J. Bañuelos, a Los Angeles Immigration Attorney
ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS [TO OBTAIN A GREEN CARD WITHOUT HAVING TO LEAVE THE US]
Adjustment of status (AOS) is a procedure that allows an undocumented alien applicant to become a lawful permanent resident of the US without having to go abroad and apply for an immigrant visa which may be obtained by a process known as consular processing. The key as to whether someone can adjust his status is, in most cases, determined by whether he entered the US legally or illegally.
AN IMMIGRANT’S MANNER OF ENTRY INTO THE US WILL AFFECT HIS ELIGIBILITY TO ADJUST HIS STATUS
The usual ways people enter the US legally are:
1). with a visa (a tourist visa, a student visa, or a temporary worker visa, for example);
2). with a border crossing card (a special pass allowing regular entries);
3). under the Visa Waiver Program (where citizens of certain countries are allowed to enter the U.S. as tourists by showing their passport, without first obtaining an entry visa); or
4). was paroled into the US. [NOTE: someone may be paroled into the US by re-entering with advance parole, by obtaining the status of parole in place, etc]
IMMIGRANTS WHO ENTERED THE U.S. LEGALLY WITH A VISA OR WITH A BORDER CROSSING CARD
If the immigrant entered the U.S. legally, he would be able to adjust his status if he were petitioned by an immediate relative. [NOTE: under immigration law, an immediate relative is a US citizen spouse, US citizen parent–if his immigrating child is unmarried and under 21–or a US citizen child who is at least 21 years old].
SOME IMMIGRANTS WHO ENTERED THE U.S. ILLEGALLY (WITHOUT INSPECTION) MAY BE ABLE TO APPLY FOR ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS UNDER SECTION 245(i)
Whether they entered the US legally or illegally, some immigrants might be able to apply for adjustment of status if they started a green card application process under a law known as “Section 245(i)”. Specifically, an immigrant might be able to apply for adjustment of status if an employer filed a labor certification, or a relative filed a family visa petition, on that immigrant’s behalf either before January 14, 1998, or between January 14, 1998 and April 30, 2001, if the applicant can prove that he or she was physically present in the U.S. on December 21, 2000.
THERE ARE OTHER WAYS FOR SOMEONE TO OBTAIN A GREEN CARD THROUGH THE ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS PROCESS
You may able to apply for adjustment of status to permanent resident status if you are already in the US and if one or more of the following categories apply to you:
1). As a Fiance(e). If you were admitted to the US as the K-1 fiance(e) of a US citizen, and you married that citizen within 90 days of your entry into the US. If you were admitted as the K-2 child of such a fiance(e), you may be to apply to adjust your status based on your parent’s adjustment;
2). Asylee/Refugee. If you are an asylee or refugee who has been in the US for at least a year after you were given asylum or refugee status, or as the spouse or child of an asylee or refugee;
3). Through Registry. If you have lived continuously in the US since at least January 1, 1972, you may be eligible to apply for a green card through a process known as “registry”;
4). Visa Lottery. If you have won a visa through the Green Card Lottery, you may eligible to apply for adjustment of status;
5). Recipients of a U visa, a T visa, or an S visa. A U visa may be given to victims of certain crimes who assist law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of certain crimes. A T visa may given to victims of human trafficking who assist law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of those acts of trafficking. A recipient of a U visa, or a T visa who has lived in the US for a least three years in that status may be eligible to apply for adjustment of status. An S visa may be given to aliens who assist law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of crimes and terrorist activities. If you were granted an S visa, and if the information you supplied to law enforcement “substantially contributed” to a successful investigation or prosecution of a crime, or “substantially contributed” to the prevention of an act of terrorism, or to the apprehension of a person involved in terrorist activities, you may be eligible to adjust your status;
6). NACARA eligible immigrants. Immigrants from certain countries may be able to apply for adjustment of status under NACARA; or
7). VAWA eligible immigrants. Immigrants who are victims of domestic abuse may be able to apply for adjustment of status.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHETHER YOU CAN APPLY FOR A GREEN CARD WITHOUT HAVING TO LEAVE THE US, PLEASE CALL OUR OFFICE.
Many foreigners who live in the US might be eligible to apply for a green card through the adjustment of status process through family, through, TPS, etc., but don’t know it. If you live in the US, and if there is a legal way for you to apply for adjustment of status, Mr. Bañuelos will find it. Because he is hardworking and tenacious, Mr. Bañuelos has been successfully resolving difficult immigration problems, and has been winning difficult deportation and removal cases for over 20 years.