If you are an immediate relative of a US citizen and did not cross into the US illegally, you could be eligible for adjustment of status. This means you do not have to travel outside of the United States to get your green card but can remain in the country while your application is pending.
To begin with, you must be an immediate relative of a US citizen. This means you’re a spouse, parent (if the child is over 21), or child (if you’re under 21 and unmarried) of someone who was born in the United States or was naturalized to become a US citizen.
Second, you must have come to the US legally. This means you came in through customs and were inspected.
If these categories apply to you, you could be eligible for adjustment of status and apply for a green card. This means you would submit an I-485 along with your sponsor’s (citizen family member’s) I-130. Your sponsor will also have to prove that they can support you, or you can get a substitute sponsor.
You may also be able to work while your green card application is pending by applying for an employment authorization document.
If you are planning on marrying a US citizen, you can receive a fiancee visa to allow you to travel to the United States to marry, and then apply for adjustment of status afterward.
What Do I Need to File for Adjustment of Status?
This process is complicated and is full of pitfalls. It can involve a lot of documentation, especially if you recently married a US citizen. It’s better to hire an experienced immigration lawyer to help rather than trying on your own. Otherwise, you risk delays, additional expenses, and your petition being denied.
You generally need proof of your sponsor’s citizenship and copies of identification documents such as your passport, birth certificate, and other important documents. If these are in a foreign language, you need to get an official translation. There are a host of other financial and official documents you will need.
If you want to apply for adjustment of status, an immigration attorney can streamline the process. I gather almost all of the information and documents electronically, with easy-to-manage forms and checklists.
Contact me today if you need an immigration attorney to help with your green card application or adjustment of status.
My office is located in Boston, Massachusetts, but I practice immigration law all over Massachusetts. Call me today at 617-356-8217 if you need an immigration attorney in Massachusetts.