Adjustment of status is available only to those who are inside the U.S; on the contrary consular processing is applicable to those who are outside the U.S.
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About Green Card for the First Time
Green card, for the first time officially known as adjustment of status, is the process of upgrading a nonimmigrant immigration status to lawful permanent residence. It is commonly known as applying for a green card from within the United States. As to U.S. Immigration law, a temporary visitor who has legally entered the United States can change status to a permanent resident upon meeting some specific requirements.
Green card through adjustment of status exempts applicants from going back to their home country and allows them to obtain a green card by using the visa they already have. Obtaining a green card through adjustment of status can happen in a variety of ways, including family members, jobs or job offers, asylum seekers or other special provisions. If an individual is not eligible for adjustment but wishes to have permanent residency in the U.S., he or she must consider consular processing.
Eligibility to Apply for a Green Card for the First Time
To be eligible for a green card for the first time, an alien must meet the following criteria:
- He or she must not have entered the U.S. illegally.
- Furthermore, an individual must be eligible for a green card in at least one of the following categories:
Green card candidate must be physically present in the United States.
- The applicant must qualify for a family-based green card as the spouse, unmarried child, parent, or other immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen or Greencard holder.
- AOS applicant must qualify for an employment-based green card through sponsorship by an employer.
- The alien must qualify for LPR on humanitarian grounds or through the diversity lottery.
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Required Documents to Apply for Green Card
Here’s a checklist that includes everything you’ll need to apply for a green card for the first time as a living nonimmigrant.
- Adjustment of Status Form I-485
- Two passport-size photos
- I-94 travel document
- I-797 nonimmigrant visa approval receipt
- A copy of the Employment Authorization Document (if any)
- A copy of Form I-693 medical examination results (where necessary)
- Proof of legitimate relationship with the petitioner U.S citizen; e.g. birth certificate, marriage certificate, adoption documents etc. (if applying for a family-based green card)
- A job offer letter (if applying for an employment-based green card)
- A copy of the approval receipt for your green card from the USCIS
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Note that: The price mentioned above does not include the standard government fees paid directly to USCIS.
Frequently Asked Questions
An immigrant petition I-130 asks for a determination whether the alien qualifies as an immigrant under a definite category and immigrant preference. In contrast, an adjustment of status I-485 application requests a change in the alien’s status to that of an immigrant and cannot be filed unless an immigrant visa is available at a given time.
Yes, since your case will be processed at one of the USCIS service centers, that accept personal checks.
No. The filing fees must be paid with a money order or cashier’s check since your case will be processed at a local USCIS office. Local offices don’t accept personal checks.
Although some Green Cards contain no expiration date, most are valid for ten years. If you have been granted conditional permanent resident status, the green card is valid for two years.
Unfortunately not. Visa waiver entrants are not eligible to adjust status as long as it is based on an immediate-relative petition filed within the 90 days of your entry.
Yes, you can
No. You must have married the person who sponsored your K visa to be eligible for adjustment of status within 90 days of your entry into the United States.
You can file an appeal or request the adjudicating officer to reconsider the decision, provided that you believe the denial was not justified.