Adjustment of Status – INA 245(a)
Section 245(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act allows certain foreign nationals who are physically present in the U.S. to adjust status to that of a lawful permanent resident. If you are an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, you can become a lawful permanent resident based on your family relationship if you meet certain eligibility requirements. The spouse of a U.S. citizen qualifies as an immediate relative.
To be eligible for a Green Card as the spouse of a U.S. citizen, you must meet the following requirements:
- properly file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status as well as file or have an already approved Form I-130;
- You were inspected and admitted or inspected and paroled into the U.S.;
- You are physically present in the U.S.;
- You are eligible to receive an immigrant visa;
- An immigrant visa is immediately available to you at the time you file your Form 1-485 and at the time USCIS makes a final decision on your application;
o If you are an immediate relative of a USC, this is not an issue
- You are admissible to the U.S. for lawful permanent residency or eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility or other form of relief; and
- You merit the favorable exercise of USCIS' discretion.
You are eligible to receive an immigrant visa under 245(a) if you are the beneficiary of:
- An approved Form I-130 on your behalf;
- A pending Form I-130 (that is ultimately approved); or
- A Form 1-130 (that is ultimately approved) filed together with your Form I-485.
Certain bars to adjustment do not apply to the spouse of a U.S. citizen. You may eligible to adjust status even if:
- You are now employed or have ever been employed in the U.S. without authorization;
- You are not in lawful immigration status on the date you file the adjustment application;
- You have failed to continuously maintain a lawful status since entry into the U.S.;
- You were last admitted to Guam or the Commonwealth of the northern Marina Islands (CNMI) as a visitor under the Guam or CNMI Visa Waiver Program and are not a Canadian citizen;
- You were last admitted to the U.S. as a nonimmigrant visitor without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program; or
- You have violated the terms of your nonimmigrant status.
To qualify for a Green Card, you must be admissible to the U.S.
If you are inadmissible, the law may allow you to apply for a waiver of inadmissibility using Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility. If a waiver or other form of relief is granted, USCIS may approve your application for a Green Card if you are otherwise eligible.
Whether a waiver or other form of relief is available depends on the specific ground(s) of inadmissibility that apply to you. General grounds for inadmissibility include:
- Health-related grounds;
- Public charge ground;
- Fraud or willful misrepresentation;
- False claim to U.S. citizenship;
- Smuggling ground;
- Criminal Grounds
- Being subject to civil penalty; or
- 3-year or 10-year bar due to previous unlawful presence in the U.S.
The filing fee for Form I-485 is $1,140. The Biometric services fee is $85. You may also concurrently file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative if you have not done so at the time of filing your application for permanent residency. The filing fee for Form I-130 is $535.
After you file your form(s), USCIS will mail you a notice for your biometric services appointment, sometime after you receive your receipt notices from USCIS which confirm receipt of the case. USCIS officials will review your case to determine whether an interview is necessary. If they schedule you for an interview, you will be required to appear.
Depending on whether you file both forms concurrently or if you file the immigrant petition before you file your Green Card application, the length of time varies case to case according to its circumstances and location. The range usually varies between 4 to 7 months from the date of filing.
We represent you through the entire process, from beginning to end. We are there for you every step of the way. including prepping you for the green card interview and accompanying you to the interview. Our goal is to ensure everything goes as smooth as possible so you can navigate the complex processes and procedures of immigration law with a clear mind and little stress, and conclude with your permanent residency here in the U.S.
Give us a call.