The path toward achieving lawful permanent residency in the United States can be complicated. Confusing phrases, multiple forms, and other obstacles are just some of the challenges you will have to face. It’s important to understand some of the basics of becoming a lawful permanent resident. Doing so will help you better prepare for the road ahead.
Adjustment of status
One of the confusing phrases you will encounter is “adjustment of status.” In plain English, this phrase means you have received your green card, effectively making you a lawful resident of the U.S.
There are a few different ways for you to adjust your immigration status. One way is to marry a U.S. citizen. Another way forward is to have a relative who is already a U.S. resident file a petition of support on your behalf.
If you are seeking an adjustment of status through marriage, you can apply for permanent residency almost immediately. If a family member has filed a petition of support, the process can take much longer.
Whether you are requesting a green card through marriage or a relative, your sponsor must complete an I-130 petition. As part of this petition, your sponsor must state that they will provide you with some form of financial support when you are granted permanent residency.
Of course, the paperwork doesn’t end there. After the I-130 has been filed, you will have to fill out an I-485 application. You will receive your green card when your application has been approved.
Seeking a green card does carry some risk
If you are currently residing in the United States, seeking an adjustment of your immigration status does involve some degree of risk. You could face deportation hearings. It’s especially important that you tread carefully if you have any type of criminal record. A skilled legal professional can help guide you through this process and inform you of all available options.