Immigration Services
Chicago Adjustment of Status Lawyer

Chicago Adjustment of Status Lawyer

Sverdloff Law Group

Adjustment of Status

Adjustment of status is a process undergone by individuals who are not born in the United States and do not have legal status as a permanent resident (or a “green card” or “lawful permanent resident”) in order to remain in the country, for as long as they meet the necessary criteria. Typically, an adjustment of status entails a nonimmigrant visa holder or one with an expired status seeking to transition to immigrant status, in order to get a green card for lawful permanent residence in the USA. Our experienced adjustment of status lawyer in Chicago is here to help you with this complex process.

A foreign national who is not in the country or who is not qualified to adjust their status while in the U.S. will need to apply for an immigrant visa in their home country and enter the United States through “consular processing.”

Very few immigrants qualify to adjust their status in the United States. Applying to adjust your status at the wrong time or when you are not qualified for it can have negative consequences including the possibility of deportation. This is why we always recommend that you speak to an immigration lawyer before filing any immigration form with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

Who is Eligible for Adjustment of Immigration Status? 

If you intend to obtain immigrant status, you must be physically within and have legally entered the U.S. (certain exceptions exist, including abused spouses and children as defined in the VAWA or Violence Against Women Act). Your eligibility to become a green card holder depends on the following immigration categories defined by U.S. immigration law:

  • Family-based immigration
  • Employment
  • Special Immigrant
  • Refugee or Asylee Status
  • Human Trafficking and Crime Victims
  • Victims of Abuse
  • Other categories as stipulated by the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services)
  • Registry (if you had been residing in the U.S. since before January 1, 1972)

How Do I Apply for Adjustment of Status in the U.S.? 

Once you have established your eligibility, such as if an employer or family member might petition on your behalf, you may begin your green card application. The following steps are intended to be used as a basic guideline. However, it is best to consult an experienced Chicago immigration lawyer in order to be fully informed about the steps and options available to you. If you need to petition for an alien relative, you will have far better luck with an immigration lawyer than to try to do it yourself.

Step 1: File an Immigrant Petition

Most people who apply for a Green Card will need to complete at least two forms—an immigrant petition and a Green Card application. In most circumstances, someone else, such as a family member or an employer, will need to file the petition for you (often referred to as sponsoring or petitioning for you). Although, in some situations, you might be eligible to file for yourself while you file an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485). You may check out the guidelines on “concurrent filing” on the USCIS site.

2. Confirm Visa Availability

In general, you may not file your Form I-485 until a visa is available in your category. There is a limit to the number of visas that are available in each category. As such, it is best to make sure an immigrant visa is available before applying for permanent residence. You may refer to the USCIS page “Visa Availability & Priority Dates” for updated information.

3. Register for Permanent Residency or Adjust Status by Filing an Application

You need to apply for permanent residence through Form I-485 no matter if a petition needs to be filed beforehand or if it can be filed concurrently. Certain categories might require a different form.

4. Go to the closest Application Support Center

You will receive an email notification on when you can provide your biometrics data such as your photograph and fingerprints, and/or specimen signature. This data is used for identity verification and security checks.

5. Attend an Interview, if Applicable

USCIS officials will review your application and decide if an interview is necessary for you to answer questions under an oath or affirmation. You will be notified of the time, date, and location of the interview(s). At the interview, you (and the family member who filed the immigrant petition for you, if applicable) will be required to present originals of all documentation submitted with the Form I-485 application. This includes passports, official travel documents, and Form I-94 regardless of if they are expired.

6. Wait for the Final Decision of the USCIS

You will be notified in writing if your application for permanent residency was approved. If your application has been approved, you will receive your Permanent Resident Card or Green Card, shortly after the approval notice. Otherwise, you will receive a request for more evidence or a denial notice which states the reason/s why your application was denied, and whether you may appeal the decision.

Will a Chicago Immigration Lawyer Help with Adjustment of Status and My Green Card Application?

Individuals who are seeking permanent resident status should always talk to an attorney regarding their situations. Even in the most straightforward and uncomplicated circumstances, the assistance of an adjustment of status lawyer in Chicago can make the process of obtaining a green card as simple as possible. To schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers, call Julia Sverdloff of Sverdloff Law Group today to discuss your case.

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