Immigrating to the United States as a spouse of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident is an important step toward building a life together. If you find yourself in this situation, you may be eligible for an adjustment of status, which allows you to change your immigration status and become a lawful permanent resident. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process, eligibility criteria, and the benefits that come with adjusting your status.
Understanding Adjustment of Status
Adjustment of status refers to the process by which certain individuals can change their non-immigrant status to immigrant status while remaining in the United States. For spouses of U.S. citizens or permanent residents, this process is a pathway to obtaining lawful permanent residency, also known as a green card. It provides numerous benefits, including work authorization and protection from deportation.
To be eligible for adjustment of status as a spouse of a U.S. citizen, you must meet the following criteria:
- You must have entered the United States lawfully.
- Your marriage to the U.S. citizen must be genuine and not entered into solely for immigration purposes.
- You must be physically present in the United States at the time of filing the adjustment of status application.
- You must not have engaged in any activities that would make you ineligible for adjustment of status, such as criminal offenses or immigration violations.
For spouses of permanent residents, the eligibility criteria are similar, with the additional requirement that the permanent resident spouse must have already filed Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on your behalf.
The adjustment of status process involves several steps, including:
- Filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, along with the necessary supporting documents.
- Attending a biometrics appointment to provide fingerprints, photographs, and signature.
- Attending an interview with a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officer to review your application and verify the authenticity of your marriage.
It is crucial to ensure that you submit accurate and complete documentation to avoid delays or potential denials.
When applying for adjustment of status, you will need to gather various supporting documents, including:
- Proof of identity, such as a valid passport or government-issued identification.
- Birth certificates for both spouses.
- Marriage certificate to establish the legitimacy of the marital relationship.
- Proof of legal entry into the United States, such as Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record or a valid visa.
- Evidence of any name changes (if applicable).
Interview and Biometrics
As part of the adjustment of status process, you will be required to attend an interview with a USCIS officer. The purpose of this interview is to assess the legitimacy of your marriage and review your application. Additionally, you will need to undergo biometrics collection, which includes fingerprinting and taking your photograph.
Preparing for the interview and ensuring that you have all the necessary documents and evidence is crucial for a successful outcome.
Rights and Benefits
Once your adjustment of status is approved, you will enjoy several rights and benefits, including:
Obtaining a Social Security number, which allows you to work legally in the United States.
Applying for a driver's license or state identification card.
Accessing healthcare benefits and educational opportunities.
Traveling outside the United States with proper authorization.
It's important to remember that maintaining your status as a lawful permanent resident requires adherence to immigration laws and regulations.
Seeking Legal Assistance
Navigating the adjustment of status process can be complex, and it is advisable to seek legal assistance from an experienced immigration attorney. Our team at Akula & Associates P.C. can guide you through the application process, help compile the necessary documentation, and ensure that your rights are protected.
Adjusting your immigration status as a spouse of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident provides an opportunity for a stable and secure future in the United States. By understanding the eligibility requirements, gathering the required documents, and seeking legal guidance, you can embark on this journey with confidence and peace of mind.
Contact our team today at (844) 299-5003 to schedule a constulation!