Green Cards

  • Process
    • Adjustment of status is the process that an immigrant who is adjusting to permanent resident status (a green card) while in the United States can use to apply for lawful permanent resident status (also known as applying for a Green Card).
    • If you are outside of the United States, you must obtain your visa abroad through consular processing. This requires that you apply at a U.S. Department of State consulate abroad for an immigrant visa in order to come to the United States. Once you come to the U.S., you can then apply for an Adjustment of status (I-485) to be admitted as a permanent resident.
    • Concurrent Filing of Form I-485 - Concurrent filing of Form I-485 is when an immigrant visa petition and the adjustment application (application for a green card, Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) are filed at the same time and mailed together with all the required filing fees and supporting documentation to the same filing location.
    • Concurrent filing is allowed in the following instances:
      • Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens living in the United States;
      • Most employment based applicants and their eligible family members when a visa number is immediately available;
      • Special immigrant juveniles if an EB-4 visa number is immediately available and USCIS has jurisdiction over the application to adjust status;
      • Self-petitioning battered spouse or child if:
        • The abusive spouse or parent is a U.S. citizen; or
      • If an immigrant visa number is immediately available;
      • Certain Armed Forces Members applying for a special immigrant visa under Section101(a)(27)(K) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)Special Immigrant International Organization Employee or family member
      • Concurrent filing cannot occur in consular processed cases, as the immigrant petition is filed with USCIS and the application for an immigrant visa is filed with the Department of State. Therefore concurrent filing is only seen in the context of an immigrant who is adjusting to permanent resident status (a green card) while in the United States.
  • Eligibility
    • Individuals who want to become immigrants (permanent residents) through their qualified family member, a job offer or employment, or a special category will generally be classified in categories based on a preference system. With a few exceptions (such as for immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen who are given the highest immigration priority), Congress has set a finite number of visas that can be used each year for each category of immigrants.
    • In general, to meet the requirements for permanent residence in the United States, you must:
      • Be eligible for one of the immigrant categories established in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA),
      • Have a qualifying immigrant petition filed and approved for you (with a few exceptions),
      • Have an immigrant visa immediately available, and
      • Be admissible to the United States