Marriage-Based Adjustment of Status Q&A

When you are already located in the United States, but do not have legal status, it is sometimes possible to obtain a green card (also known as lawful permanent residency) through a process called adjustment of status. Immigrants can apply for adjustment of status in the categories of family, employment, or refugee. If you are interested in applying for family-based adjustment of status because you married a U.S. citizen, today’s blog post is for you! We’re answering some of the most commonly asked questions from people in this situation.

What do I need to do to begin the adjustment of status process?

The first step in applying for adjustment of status is finding an immigration lawyer to help you. Embarking on this journey without an attorney’s guidance increases your chances of getting deported, so it’s certainly not a process you want to enter into without guidance. You and your attorney will need to begin by completing the I-485 Form from USCIS. This is intended to show you are eligible for your green card and is the first of many forms you will need to file.

How long can I expect the adjustment of status process to take?

The exact answer here will depend on your individual situation as well as some factors that may be out of your control (especially now that COVID-19 is causing delays throughout the immigration system). In our experience, the adjustment of status process usually takes somewhere between eight months and fourteen months.

How can I be sure my application will be approved?

Unfortunately, you can never be certain. Adjustment of status is not a right but a privilege. Immigration has been known to deny applications due to very small errors at times. This is why it’s so important to be extremely careful with your paperwork and other aspects of your case. Again, an attorney can help you avoid mistakes that may disqualify you, improving your chances at success. 

Will the adjustment of status process be different depending on whether I entered the country lawfully or unlawfully prior to getting married? 

Entering the country unlawfully makes it much more difficult to get adjustment of status. There are some older laws that might be applied to your case making it possible for you to get a green card, but in most cases, those who entered the country without a visa are in for a challenge. You are likely to be subject to a three- or ten-year bar from the United States unless you obtain a waiver. You also may need to leave the country and go through a process called “consular processing”.  An immigration attorney can help you determine the best way to proceed. 

Who can help me with marriage-based adjustment of status?

The Csépes Law Offices team is here to help you with this and many other legal matters related to immigration and family law. To discuss your situation with a member of our team, please contact us today to schedule a consultation. We can’t wait to talk with you.

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