Adjustment of Status (Greencards for family members already in the U.S.)
helps family members of U.S. citizens obtain green cards.
Adjustment of status is the process of obtaining a greencard for people who are already in the United States. There are two ways to obtain a greencard. One is for those outside the United States who consular process, meaning they apply at a U.S. embassy for an immigrant visa and enter the United States as a Legal Permanent Resident and are mailed their greencard. The other way to obtain a greencard is through "adjustment of status" from whatever status you had to that of a Legal Permanent Resident. Either way ends with the same result. You will obtain lawful permanent resident status that is permanent. You will obtain an LPR card (aka greencard) which will either be valid for two (2) years (if it is a conditional greencard based on marriage to a United States citizen within 2 years) or a ten (10) year greencard. If it is a conditional greencard, you must file to remove the conditions in order to get the 10 year greencard. At the expiration of the 10 year greencard, you would file to renew the greencard.
Those family members that are not considered immediate relatives may still be eligible to immigrate to the U.S., however, there may be substantial waiting periods before the family member can actually become a lawful permanent resident. It is common for family members to have to wait for many years depending on their relationship to the U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident and which country they are currently a citizen.
Eligible family members include:
- Immediate Relatives -
- Spouse of a U.S. citizen,
- unmarried child of a U.S. citizen, if child is under 21, and
- parents of a U.S. citizen, if the U.S. citizen is 21 or older
- 1st Preference - Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens that are 21 and older
- 2nd Preference - Spouse & unmarried sons and daughters under 21 of permanent residents
- 3rd Preference - Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
- 4th Preference - Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizen
In most cases, a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident ("the petitioner") files a petition (supported by documentation and evidence) with USCIS on behalf of their non-citizen family member ("beneficiary"). For immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, the petition and the application to adjust status can be filed at the same time, because they are immediately eligible to obtain a greencard. However, for those that are not immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, the U.S. citizen family member would file the petition first, and upon approval and when the immigrant visa number becomes current (the wait in line is over), the foreign national may be able to adjust status in the U.S.
There are some people who can adjust status without the need of a U.S Citizen or LPR family member. Asylees who have been paroled into the U.S. do not need anyone to file a petition on their behalf. Victims of violence at the hands of a U.S. citizen or LPR immediate relative may not have to rely on that family member filing a petition. Give us a call to discuss your possible eligibility to file for a greencard inside the United States.
to file your family based petition at