Barrera Legal Group can help with applying for a Green Card through Family Based Adjustment of Status
A noncitizen of the United States may be eligible to apply for legal permanent resident status also known as a green card through the family based adjustment of status process if the noncitizen has a qualifying family member who is either a legal permanent resident of the United States also known as a green card holder or a United States Citizen through the Family Based Adjustment of Status Process. The goal of the process is to obtain a green card from within the United States. It should also be noted that this process can also be used as a form of relief to terminate a removal proceeding.
Qualifying Family Members
U.S. Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident Spouses,
U.S. Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident Parents,
U.S. Citizen Siblings and
U.S. Citizen sons or daughters aged 21 years or older.
Note that for adult noncitizen sons or daughters who are being petitioned by a Legal
Permanent Resident Parent, these sons or daughters cannot be married.
Preference Category Family Members.
Noncitizen adult sons or daughters being petitioned by U.S. Citizen or legal permanent resident parents, siblings petitioned by U.S. Citizens and spouses petitioned by legal permanent residents are considered a lesser family-based preference category which require a wait on a line based on green card slots made available each year. In some cases, like spouses of legal permanent residents, the wait can be months while most other preference categories can involve a wait of many years. Barrera Legal Group discusses this waiting period subject to what is known as a priority date here.
Immediate Family Members
Noncitizen minor children petitioned by United States Citizen parents, noncitizen parents, petitioned by United States Citizen sons or daughters 21 years or older and spouses of United States Citizens are considered Immediate Family members and are not subject to green card slot availability and do not have to wait on the line for an available green card slot.
Barrera Legal Group can help with the Family Based Adjustment of Status Application Process
First Step-Barrera Legal Group can help with filing an Immigrant Petition with USCIS for all Green Card Cases.
The first step in the Family Based Adjustment of Status Process is to have the qualifying petitioner submit the initial green card petition known as the I-130 petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service also known as USCIS. This petition will include documents establishing the qualifying relationship which will likely be birth certificates and marriage certificates for marriage-based cases.
Second Step in the Family Based Adjustment of Status Process -Barrera Legal Group can help with submitting form I-485 before USCIS .
Filing of Form I-485
Note that not all green card cases will qualify for family based adjustment of status to file the I-485. Barrera Legal Group discusses the eligibility criteria for adjustment of status cases here. If the case does not qualify for family based adjustment of status then the case will proceed to consular processing which Barrera Legal Group discusses here.
Upon processing and approval of the initial I-130 immigration petition with USCIS, the beneficiary can now submit the form I-485 before USCIS which is the last application required to complete the filing of the green card through the family based adjustment of status process. However, for the I-485 to be accepted by USCIS, the filing date also known as the priority date on the initial immigration petition must be current where USCIS is processing I-485 applications with immigration petitions filed on or before the priority date published by the Department of State in what is called the Visa Bulletin. Barrera Legal Group discusses priority dates and the visa bulletin here.
Additionally, when the initial immigration petition, form I-130 has a priority date that is current or where the petitioning family member of an I-130 is an immediate family member, the immigration petition and form I-485 can be filed concurrently where both applications will be processed at the same time.
Civil documents in support of the application are also filed with the application which consist of biographical type documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates and passports as well as required documents proving that a relationship is real in marriage-based family cases.
In all family based adjustment of status cases, the petitioning family member must also provide USCIS form I-864 which reports the number of family members supported for a green card and the financial income of the petitioner or of a financial co-sponsor.
Finally, a medical exam must also be submitted with the application which is performed by an authorized physician in the United States.
Almost all family based adjustment of status applications will also allow for the noncitizen to apply for work authorization also known as an employment authorization document, by submitting form I-765 and an application for a travel authorization document, by submitting form I-131 with the adjustment of status application.
After all USCIS forms and supporting documents are submitted, the case will be transferred to a local USCIS field office where the case will be scheduled for fingerprinting of the beneficiary. After fingerprinting, a USCIS officer will be reviewing the application and performing a background check to then determine if any other information or documents are required, or if an interview is required.
Barrera Legal Group can help prepare you for the USCIS Interview
At the interview, the beneficiary is expected to bring original versions of the civil documents, the appointment notice and in marriage documents recent documents demonstrating that the couple is living together and sharing financial obligations and benefits.
The officer will then interview the beneficiary and decide whether to approve or deny the family based adjustment of status application. In family based adjustment of status cases, the petitioner will be required to attend the interview with the beneficiary especially in marriage-based cases where the officer may question about the circumstances surrounding the establishment of the relationship and question about certain personal aspects related to the marriage.
If an officer determines that the noncitizen is ineligible for the green card, the noncitizen should seek assistance of an immigration attorney to determine how the noncitizen may be ineligible and if it is possible to overcome the ineligibility. In most cases, if the officer determines a noncitizen is ineligible, but the ineligibility may be overcome, the officer will indicate to the noncitizen the possibility of overcoming the ineligibility and allow the noncitizen opportunity to overcome the ineligibility issue. Regardless, an attorney should be consulted before or after the interview to understand the ineligibility and plan for presenting a case to overcome the ineligibility.
Some cases may require further review known as administrative processing which could be based on many different reasons but is most typically caused by a security concern in the noncitizen’s background that requires more thorough security checks.
If the case is approved, the officer will send a notice confirming approval through the mail, followed by the actual green card.
Once the beneficiary receives the green card, there are no further steps, other than to wait for the necessary period of time to consider applying for naturalization.