Adjustment of Status
One of the tremendous advantages to being the Immediate Relative of a United States citizen is the ability to engage in the process known as Adjustment of Status. Adjustment of Status allows the Immediate Relative to file the Green Card Application from inside the United States.
As long as the Immediate Relative did not illegally cross the border, the Immediate Relative can file the Green Card Application through Adjustment of Status even if he or she has overstayed his or her allotted time in the United States based on the most recent Visa.
This means that the Immediate Relative had to enter the United States with permission. The way most people enter the United States with permission is if they entered with a Visa. For example, a student or tourist Visa or by way of the Visa Waiver Program.
Therefore, in order to engage in Adjustment of Status the Immediate Relative must:
1. Be eligible for a Green Card,
2. Have an approved Immigrant Visa Petition and have the Visa number available, and
3. Be physically present inside of the United States.
If the intending immigrant did enter the country illegally, or without inspection, that person cannot avail himself or herself to the benefits of Adjustment of Status. In that situation the intending immigrant will, in all probability, have to leave the United States an engage in Consular Processing. The problem with that, however, is that the United States Consulate may find the person to be inadmissible to the United States because of the illegal entry. A waiver is available for hardship cases, but they are very difficult to obtain.
In order to engage in Adjustment of Status, the intending immigrant will have to file certain evidence, including such documents as photographs, the Immediate Relative Visa Petition, a birth certificate, a valid passport and much, much more.
The Adjustment of Status application needs to be mailed to the appropriate Service Center for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service. Sometime thereafter, usually with a few months, the intending immigrant will be given instructions to perform a Medical Examination, a Biometric appointment and ultimately an in-person interview at the local office of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service.