Ep. 20 Am I eligible to file for an adjustment of status inside the US?

  • the process if you want to change the status from one visa to green card
  • must be physically in the US in order to adjust status
  • immigration petition must already have been approved
  • if priority date is not current then you cannot file petition for adjustment of status
  • must have not entered the US illegally
  • you do not have any change in your circumstances (ex. change in employment; divorce before green card)

Raw Transcript:

Introduction: You ask we answer your immigration questions. Simple. And now your host immigration lawyer Jacob Sapochnick.

Jacob: Hello everybody, welcome to another episode of Ask An Immigration Lawyer.

Today’s episode we are answering the question am I eligible to file for an adjustment of status inside the United States? This question came to us via Twitter and … great. So it’s a question we always get and … So just a few seconds about adjustments of status.

Adjustment of status is the process that a person will go through if they want to change the status from a visa, a tourist visa or student visa or work visa to the green card. They are adjusting the status to the green card. And they can do that either by marrying a US citizen or filing an employment base application but they have to meet certain criteria to be able to do that and what they are.

Well, you first must be already physically in the United States to be going through this process. If you’re not currently living in the United States you’re not eligible to adjust your status. You have to go through the embassy to get your visa abroad. Second thing is your immigration petition must have already been approved. So, for example, if you’re filing based on marriage you must have an approved I-130 or if you’re marrying a US citizen you can file your I-130 together with your adjustment of status. If you’re marrying an immediate relative you can do it at the same time. If you do it through employment base an I-140 petition must be approved otherwise you cannot file an adjustment.

So, again, if your priority date is not current then you cannot file your 45 adjustment of status at the same times. Again, have to check for visa numbers availability.

Another thing is that you must not have entered in United States illegally. So if you want to be able to adjust your status in the US you have to show that you came here legally. You have to show that you have inspection document like an I-94, that an officer reviewed your paperwork, that the visa has been stamped. If you’re not considered to be admitted you cannot adjust your status. Of course there are exceptions to that. One example is section 245(i). So people who came here before 2001 and never left those people can pay a fine and still adjust their status. It’s an exception.

Another point is that you don’t have any change in your circumstances. For example if you … since you came here. Maybe your citizen spouse who’s going to marry you passed away and you haven’t finished your adjustment of status.
Well, those cases you have to do something different. Maybe file for a widow petition. Maybe you divorced before you got your green card then you won’t be eligible for the adjustment. Maybe change an employment. If you’re going through employment then you lost your job before the end there’s some things that you have to check and see whether you’re still eligible. So you have to make sure that before the adjustment of status is approved there’s no change in your original circumstances and that’s what immigration is going to be check.

Also, if there are any bars for you to get your green card. What if you came here before and overstayed more than a year and then you reentered. Well, in this case, you may not be eligible for adjustment unless you file for a waiver. So it’s very important to check the history, your history before you file for an adjustment of status and speak to an attorney. But otherwise as long as you meet all these criteria and you’re physically in the United States you are eligible to file for an adjustment of status and get your green card inside the US.

Hopefully this was helpful. If you have any other questions go to askanimmigrationlawyer.com. Ask your questions over there. You can email, tweet, Facebook your questions and I look forward to seeing you in our next episode. Remember, you ask, we answer, simple.

Closing: Thank you for listening to the Ask My Immigration Lawyer Podcast, the show that’s dedicated to answering your immigration questions. Simple as that. See you next week for another round of questions and much needed answers.