You don’t have to leave the country if you currently live in the United States and wish to apply for a green card. You may be eligible for an adjustment of status, a process that allows individuals to change their immigration status while remaining in the U.S.
However, not everyone qualifies for an adjustment of status, as explained below.
You must have entered the U.S. legally
First, you must have entered the United States legally, with a valid visa, and maintained lawful status during your stay. It means you should not have overstayed your visa or are illegally in the country.
You must be eligible for a green card
Second, you must be eligible for a green card under one of the various categories established by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It could be a family-based visa, employment visa, or refugee or asylum status.
Each category has specific requirements that must be met, such as having a qualifying family member for a family-based visa. It is crucial to ensure you fit into the specific immigrant category under which you intend to apply for a green card.
You must be admissible to the U.S.
You may not be eligible for an adjustment of status if you are not admissible to the United States. This can happen after a conviction of certain crimes or engaging in activity that would make you bar you from permanent residence status.
You must have properly filed an adjustment application
Finally, you must apply to adjust your status according to the form instructions, depending on your green card application category. Your adjustment application must be properly filed, signed and fully paid.
Get legal help
An adjustment of status can save you a lot of hassle if you intend to extend your stay in the U.S. since you are not required to go to your home country. However, it is essential to avoid making mistakes that could hurt your chances of successfully obtaining permanent residence status.
If you are unsure whether you qualify for an adjustment of status or wish to understand how everything works, reach out for informed counsel for proper guidance and legal representation.