Someone who is in the United States on a nonimmigrant visa, and who desires to acquire permanent residence in the United States, will need to file an application to adjust status to permanent residence. An adjustment of status (AOS) is the process of changing from a nonimmigrant visa to lawful permanent resident status (often referred to as a green card).
To qualify to adjust status to permanent residence, an applicant must show that:
- he or she has been 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 to apply for permanent residence.
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. The phrase “immediate relative” has a different definition in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) than what comes to mind. Three categories of relationships qualify under the INA as immediate relatives. They are:
- Spouse of United States citizen. Evidence of a valid marriage must be presented establishing 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.
What is the significance of an immediate relative relationship?
Petitions based on an immediate relative relationship are not subject to the numerical cap on immigrant visas and there is no waiting period for an immigrant visa to become available. Therefore, 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 a period of years to a period of months.
It is important to know whether the immigrant relative qualifies to adjust status when filing for an adjustment. Generally, the qualifications to adjust status based on a petition filed by an immediate relative 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, meaning that the immigrant is not inadmissible for any reasons 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!
We represent clients all across the state of Georgia and coastal South Carolina.