Friday, October 16, 2015

Are You Eligible For Adjustment of Status to Permanent Resident?

My office has helped many individuals who visited the US or have recently married a U.S. Citizen adjust their status to that of permanent resident.  In our experience, a few questions frequently come up with the adjustment of status cases we handle:

Question 1:  I have overstayed my visitor (or other non-immigrant), but I have recently married a US citizen (or my adult son/daughter is a US Citizen).  Will the overstay prevent me from adjusting status?    

A:  Generally no - even if you overstay, immigration law essentially will "forgive" the overstay as long as you are an Immediate Relative of a US Citizen.  Immediate Relative also applies to parents of adult US Citizens, so these individuals are also potentially eligible despite any overstay.  However, if you have overstayed you should have a consultation to be fully aware of what effect your overstay has had on your immigration status.

Question 2:  I have been working without authorization since coming to the U.S.  Will this prevent me from adjusting status?

A:  Generally no - even if you work without a permit for many years, like overstaying a visa, immigration law will essentially "forgive" the unpermitted work and allow you to adjust, as long as you are an immediate relative of a US Citizen.  However, you may not add the income you make to your household income for purposes of qualifying for the financial requirements of adjusting status.

Question 3:  I believe I am eligible for adjustment of status, but my US citizen spouse does not currently work or is not earning much income at the moment.  Can he/she still petition for me?   

A:  Yes, but in this case you will likely need another individual to be a Joint Sponsor.  The rules for Joint Sponsors can be a bit complicated, but in a nutshell the Joint Sponsor can help make up for a lack of income from your US Citizen Spouse or Adult son/daughter.  A Joint Sponsor can be anyone - a friend, family member, etc. - as long as he or she is a US Citizen or Green Card holder.

These are just some of the major questions that often come up with our adjustment of status clients, but certainly there are many more unique to each case.  If you have any questions please feel free to call or email at 323-863-3414 or, and we would be happy to help answer any questions and hopefully help you adjust your status!  Thanks for reading.