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What is Adjustment of Status in U.S. Immigration?

What is Adjustment of Status in U.S. Immigration - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

For many people, an adjustment of status is one more step in the direction of becoming a naturalized citizen. This guide explains what adjustment of status is, how to accomplish it and what happens when the U.S. government changes your immigration status.

What is Adjustment of Status?

Adjustment of status is a process you can use if you have a valid visa and want to become a lawful permanent resident, or LPR, of the United States. If the government approves your adjustment of status petition, you’ll receive a green card – and that will enable you to live and work anywhere in the U.S.

Who Qualifies for Adjustment of Status?

Not everyone qualifies for an adjustment of status. You can only apply for it if you used a visa to come to the U.S. on this trip – the one that brought you to the U.S. this time around. Most people must be in the U.S. legally to adjust status, although there are some exceptions (such as when you have overstayed a visa).

How Long Does it Take to Adjust Your Immigration Status?

Adjusting status in the U.S. can be a lengthy process, and it can be complicated. That’s why many people choose to work with a Wisconsin immigration attorney throughout the process.

Essentially, the length of time it takes to adjust your immigration status depends on the reason you qualify for a green card, the location of the processing office and a handful of other factors. Generally speaking, it takes between 7 months and 3 years to get a green card after your application is complete and filed with the U.S. government. However, those based on familial connections (other than spouses and children) can take a long time – even up to 10 years. Those types of green cards are based on availability, and you must wait until your number comes up to claim your green card. On the other hand, some employment-based green cards can go through the system fairly quickly, particularly if they’re in low-demand areas.

Do You Need to Talk to an Immigration Attorney About an Adjustment of Status Petition?

If you’re thinking about filing an adjustment of status petition, we may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 today to schedule a consultation with an immigration attorney. During your consultation, we’ll be happy to explain the process, answer your questions and get you started on the right path to a green card.

Carlos Gamino

By |2020-09-19T14:45:22-05:00October 7th, 2020|Immigration Law|Comments Off on What is Adjustment of Status in U.S. Immigration?

Green Card FAQ

Green Card FAQ - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

If you’re like many people, you’d like to get a green card and become a lawful permanent resident, or LPR, of the United States. Whether you’re in the U.S. on a visa right now or you’re just beginning the process, this green card FAQ will answer all your questions – and if you don’t see the answers you need here, call us at 414-383-6700 to schedule a consultation with a Wisconsin immigration lawyer.

Related: Immigrant visa information

Green Card FAQ

Check out the questions and answers below to get the information you need about becoming a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. and getting a green card.

What is a Green Card?

A green card, which is officially known as a Permanent Resident Card, allows you to live and work permanently in the United States. This immigration document shows that you’re authorized to travel anywhere in the U.S. for any lawful purpose, that you can work for any employer you wish to work for, and that you can live in any city in any state without restriction.

How Many Green Cards Are Issued Per Year?

During Fiscal Year 2019, U.S. Customs and Immigration Services issued just under 577,000 green cards. The number varies each year, but USCIS is working through its backlog of applications to reduce wait times for applicants.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Green Card?

Typically, it takes between 7 and 36 months for USCIS to process a green card application. It depends on several factors, including where your application is processed. Some types of green cards take even longer – for example, it can take between 1 year and 10 years for USCIS to approve a family preference green card.

You can check your case status online here.

Can I Travel While Waiting for a Green Card?

You can travel inside the U.S. without restriction while you’re waiting for your green card. If you want to leave the United States, you’ll have to fill out and file a Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. Typically, if you’re waiting for your green card and you leave the U.S. without an advance parole document, the U.S. government can conclude that you’ve abandoned your application.

Related: Permanent residency in the U.S.

How Long Can You Stay Out of the Country With a Green Card?

If you have a green card, you can generally stay outside the U.S. for up to 6 months at a time. If you stay outside the U.S. for more than 6 months but less than a year, you’ll most likely face additional questioning when you return. If you stay outside the U.S. for a year or more, you’ll need a reentry permit – but you can’t apply for it when you’re outside the U.S. You must apply for it when you fill out and file Form I-131 before you leave the country.

How Long is the Green Card (I-485) Interview?

Your green card interview, which USCIS uses to determine whether to permit you to change your status and become a lawful permanent resident of the U.S., should take less than 30 minutes to complete. Some interviews are very short, and others are a bit longer. Either way, the immigration officer assigned to your case will ask you a series of questions and let you know whether your petition is approved on the spot – unless he or she needs more information. In that case, you’ll be given time to provide additional evidence. You’ll receive USCIS’s decision by mail.

What Happens After the Interview for a Green Card?

In many cases, the USCIS officer who conducts the green card interview will approve the application on the spot. If that happens to you, the officer may put an I-551 stamp inside your passport and USCIS will mail you a green card. However, sometimes USCIS needs more information to make a decision. If that happens to you, you’ll have time to provide evidence; then, you’ll wait for USCIS’s decision to arrive in the mail.

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Immigration or These Green Card FAQ?

If you have questions about immigration that we haven’t answered here, please feel free to schedule a consultation with an immigration attorney by calling 414-383-6700.

Carlos Gamino

By |2020-05-16T17:32:07-05:00June 15th, 2020|Immigration Law|Comments Off on Green Card FAQ

I-485 Interviews

I-485 Interviews - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

An I-485 interview is probably the last step you’ll need to take in the green card application process – and for many people, the interview results in a decision from U.S. Customs and Immigration Services. Here’s what you need to know about the I-485 Adjustment of Status interview.

What Happens During a Green Card Interview?

During your I-485 interview, the officer in charge of interviewing you will ask you questions about your application. If he or she needs clarification on something, you’ll be given a chance to explain. If you’re adjusting your status based on a marriage, your interviewer may ask you questions about the history of your relationship, what you do together as a married couple, and your future plans together. All these questions are USCIS’s way of determining whether you have a bona fide marriage.

Related: Adjustment of status

What Should I Bring to My I-485 Interview?

You should bring a complete copy of your adjustment of status application, including your Form I-485 and other forms you’ve submitted, to your green card interview. You should also bring:

  • Government-issued ID
  • Your appointment notice
  • Originals of any supporting documents you submitted to USCIS
  • Your passport and any travel documents you have (such as an advance parole document)
  • A letter from your employer if you’re applying based on employment
  • Your marriage certificate and evidence of your bona fide marriage (such as a lease or mortgage, joint bank account information, kids’ birth certificates and other types of evidence) if you’re applying based on marriage

Related: Family-sponsored visas

How Long Does an I-485 Interview Take?

Usually, an I-485 interview takes less than 30 minutes to complete.

What Questions Do They Ask in a Green Card Interview?

Many of the questions your interviewer will ask will be about your I-485 application, such as whether you’ve had any major changes since you filled it out. If you’re applying based on marriage, the interviewer will ask questions to establish that you have a bona fide relationship with your spouse. He or she might ask things like:

  • How, when and where did you meet?
  • Where did your spouse work when you met?
  • How much money does your spouse make?
  • When did you decide to marry, and how did you or your spouse propose?
  • Did you go on a honeymoon? Where?
  • How many bedrooms are in your home, and who sleeps in each?
  • What size bed do you and your spouse have
  • Who pays for your housing, and how?

The USCIS officer in charge of your case can ask a wide variety of questions to see if you and your spouse have a genuine relationship.

Do You Need to Talk to an Immigration Attorney About an I-485 Interview?

Many people choose to work with an immigration attorney during the entire green card application process. If you’re applying for a green card, we may be able to help you – whether you’re only considering filing or you’ve already started the process. Call us at 414-383-6700 to schedule a consultation with a Milwaukee immigration attorney today.

Carlos Gamino

By |2020-05-16T18:17:49-05:00June 8th, 2020|Immigration Law|Comments Off on I-485 Interviews