If you are in the United States on a nonimmigrant visa and desire to remain in the United States, you will need to adjust your status. An adjustment of status (AOS) is the process of changing from a nonimmigrant status to lawful permanent resident status. The general qualifications for an adjustment of status are that:
- the applicant be lawfully present in the United States,
- a visa number must be immediately available at the time of filing,
- the applicant must be eligible and otherwise admissible into the United States.
There are more detailed qualifications to adjust status, as well as some possible exceptions, but if you meet the above qualifications, you may qualify for an adjustment.
Adjustment of Status based on Immediate Relative Relationship
The most common situation qualifying for an adjustment of status is where an immediate relative United States citizen files a petition on behalf of the beneficiary nonimmigrant. An immediate relative is defined in the Immigration and Nationality Act. Relationships that qualify as an immediate relative relationship are restricted to three categories. The categories are as follows:
- Spouse of United States citizen. There must be evidence of a valid marriage and that the marriage was not entered into for the purpose of evading/circumventing the immigration laws of the United States.
- Parents of a United States citizen. In this situation the United States citizen applying on behalf of his parent must be 21 years of age or older.
- Children of a United States citizen. In this situation, the child must be under 21 years of age and must be unmarried. So, a United States citizen who has a child or children that are not citizens may petition for them to adjust as an immediate relative if the child is not married and under 21 years of age.
If the relationship qualifies as an immediate relative relationship, the numerical cap on immigrant visas does not apply and there is no waiting period for an immigrant visa to become available. If the relationship qualifies as an immediate relative relationship, an immigrant visa is immediately available and the beneficiary can apply for lawful permanent resident status. This is a significant benefit as it reduces the amount of time for a beneficiary to obtain a lawful permanent resident status from probably years to months.
When filing for an adjustment based on an immediate relative relationship, it is important to know whether the beneficiary qualifies to adjust status. Generally, the qualifications to adjust status are as follows:
- the applicant must have entered the United States with inspection. This means that the person made a lawful entry after being inspected and authorized for entry by an immigration officer.
- The applicant must pass medical examination and security clearances.
- The applicant must be otherwise admissible. This means that there is not anything that makes the applicant inadmissible under the INA.
If you believe you or your relative may qualify for an adjustment of status based on an immediate relative relationship, feel free to contact the immigration attorneys at Jarrett & Price, LLC to discuss your case. Call us today at 912.401.8880. We look forward to hearing from you!