For those people who have come to the U.S. on a temporary — or nonimmigrant — basis, the American Dream is realized the day they are officially granted legal permission to remain here on a permanent basis, such that they are free to pursue their professional calling, put down roots and enjoy the freedoms to which they have become accustomed.
As rewarding as this can undoubtedly prove to be, the truth for many people is that their transition from nonimmigrant to immigrant status was likely far from easy, requiring determination, patience and a willingness to navigate our country’s frequently arcane immigration laws.
In light of this reality, today’s post, the first in a series, will start providing some basic background information on this transitional process, otherwise referred to as adjustment of status under U.S. immigration law.
In general, the ability to change from nonimmigrant to immigrant status is granted by the Immigration and Nationality Act. The INA allows for an adjustment of status provided an individual already here in the U.S. 1) was properly inspected and paroled/admitted, and 2) satisfies all of the requirements for permanent residence as set forth in a particular immigrant category.
Indeed, the first step in the process is the individual must determine which immigrant category is the most applicable — family-based, employment-based, refugee/asylum-based, special program-based etc.
Given that the majority of people secure permanent residence — i.e., adjust their status — via petitions filed by family members or employers, these are the categories we will discuss in detail in our next post on this subject.
In the meantime, if you have questions about adjustment of status or other immigration law issues, please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional able to provide answers and discuss solutions.