Family-based Adjustment of Status
Adjustment of status is a process through which foreign nationals can apply for permanent residence (a green card) while they are in the United States. If you are already in the United States and think you might be eligible for U.S. permanent residence, you should speak with an immigration lawyer before submitting your application for adjustment of status.
Adjustment of status applications can be based on different types of petitions, including family petitions. If you are married to a U.S. citizen, or have a U.S. citizen parent and are under age 21, or have a U.S. citizen child who is at least 21, you should speak with a lawyer to see if you might qualify for adjustment of status. If you have a U.S. citizen brother or sister, or a permanent resident spouse, you should also speak with a lawyer.
In some cases, family members are classified as immediate relatives (IR). There is no limit on the number of green cards that are issued to immediate relatives each year. In other cases, family members may not be classified as immediate relatives and may therefore be required to wait several years after an immigrant petition is approved before they can apply for adjustment of status. If you apply at the wrong time and your application is denied, you could lose your government filing fee.
It is important to get good legal advice before submitting an application for adjustment of status. There have been several changes in USCIS policy in recent years that may affect how the case is processed.
Our firm has been representing clients in adjustment of status applications for over 10 years. We regularly check for updated policies from USCIS so that we can advise our clients appropriately.
Green Cards for Family of U.S. Citizens
The following relatives of United States citizens are eligible to apply for permanent resident status based on the family relationship:
- Unmarried or married minor or adult child
- Sibling (U.S. citizen petitioner must be an adult)
- Parent (U.S. citizen petitioner must be an adult)
The wait times for each category vary widely. The U.S. Department of State's Visa Bulletin is published each month to reflect the priority date of petitions currently eligible to be processed. Consult one of our U.S. immigration lawyers for help understanding the Visa Bulletin and an explanation of how long the wait in your case might be.
Green Cards for Family of Legal Permanent Residents
Lawful permanent residents may also petition for certain eligible relatives to come and live permanently in the United States. The following family relationships are covered:
- Children (up to age 21)
- Unmarried sons and daughters (age 21 and older)
The number of relatives who may immigrate under these categories each year is limited, so there is a waiting period before an immigrant visa number becomes available. The waiting periods differ from category to category.