The third and final step towards obtaining permanent resident status through employment is the adjustment of status through Form I-485. This filing is completed after filing Form I-140. There are specific criteria which must be met for an adjustment of status petition.
The benefit of adjustment of status can only be applied for within the United States thus, an applicant must be in the United States. However, an individual whose application is pending may exit the United States under “advance parole”, a temporary permit allowing him/her to re-enter the U.S. and continue the adjustment of status application.
An applicant can only be submitted if immigrant visas are available according to the priority charts. The adjustment of status process is pursued with USCIS using Form I-485 or an “adjustment application” OR before an immigration judge in removal proceedings as opposed to a U.S. consul abroad. When adjudicating the adjustment application, USCIS or the judge will determine any grounds of inadmissibility are applicable and if that is the case, what waivers (if any) are available.
Denial of Adjustment of Status
It is possible that an adjustment of status application is denied by USCIS. In this situation, it may be renewed before an immigration judge at the removal hearing. If the petition is denied also by the immigration judge, an appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) is allowed. The process of appealing an adjustment of status petition can be a difficult one and it is strongly encourage that you consult an attorney if this situation applies to you.
Permanent Resident Status
Once accepted, an individual will receive USCIS Form I-551 which attests to permanent residence. Once an individual becomes a green card holder, he/she is allowed to petition for spouses or minor children to join them in the U.S. using family-based visas (see our article on Family-based immigrant visa). However, the wait-time for family-based immigrant visas can be months or even years thus, some green card holders wait until they become U.S. citizens before sponsoring spouses/children as the process generally moves quicker for U.S. Citizens
Things to Consider
The final adjustment of status is a critical point in the permanent resident status process. Like the previous two stages, errors during adjustment of status can seriously jeopardize a case. When considering pursuing adjustment of status, help ensure the best results by consulting an experienced attorney
The process of obtaining a green card and acquiring permanent resident status has three steps:
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Picking the right path towards pursuing a green card can be difficult. Entrusting your future with an expereinced and tested legal representative could mean the difference in your case. Inquiries are always welcome and I hope that I have the opportunity to work with you on your unique case, I hope to hear from you soon.
This article has helped shed some light on the green card process, please feel free to send me any questions or refer back to the the additional sections on PERM Labor Certification and Form I-140 sections