When a person from a foreign country wishes to come to the United States, they must have a status that allows them to do so. This can be done through the various types of visas that the country offers. There are visas for several different reasons. This can include visitation, employment, education, marriage, and more. When an individual stays in the country for a long period of time, they may wish to change their current status to another. This is done through an Adjustment of Status (AOS). With this, a non-citizen can petition to become a Permanent Resident. This immigration status allows an individual to permanently live and work in the United States. This process is approved by issuing the individual a “Green Card.”
Qualifications for AOS
When a non-citizen wants to apply for permanent residency, they must meet certain qualifications in order to do so. To apply, the individual must live in the United States and fall under one of the following categories of eligibility:
- Family-based: If they are an immediate relative of a United States citizen, non-citizens do not have to wait for a visa. Those who are eligible under this category are parents, spouses, and unmarried children under the age of 21. Unlike other categories, there is no limit to the number of visas that can be issued for family members of a citizen.
- Job or employment based: Non-citizens who want to become immigrants due to employment or a job offer can apply for permanent residency. There are a limited amount of visas that may be issued in this category.
- Refugee or asylum: Individuals who were admitted to the country as a refugee or were granted asylum can apply for permanent residency. This is possible one year after they entered the country. Qualifying spouses or children of refugees and asylees may do so as well.
- Special programs
Petitioning for AOS
When non-citizens petition to adjust their status in the United States, it is important to know that it is not a quick process. The entire process can take several months and even longer than a year in some cases. There are several steps and requirements that must be met before an applicant can be approved for permanent residency. This includes background checks and a formal interview. If an individual is petitioning as a spouse of a citizen, they are required to provide an immigration officer with proof of their marriage. While the Adjustment of Status Application is in the process of being approved, the applicant can also file for employment authorization. This allows them to work and travel throughout the United States while they wait for the approval.
Contact our Firm
If you are looking to apply for an adjustment of status and seek the guidance of an experienced attorney, contact the Law Office of Christopher T. Howell, Esq. today.