In a previous post, we started discussing how truly rewarding it can be for those who originally came to the U.S. on a temporary — or nonimmigrant — basis to be granted legal permission to remain here on a permanent basis. We also discussed how this transition from nonimmigrant to immigrant status — referred to as adjustment of status — is not always the easiest given the arcane nature of U.S. immigration laws.
In recognition of this reality, we began providing some basic background information on adjustment of status and will now continue with this effort.
To recap, those eligible for an adjustment of status under the Immigration and Nationality Act must first determine which immigrant category is the most applicable to their situation — family-based, employment-based, refugee/asylum-based.
If the person determines that family-based is the most appropriate, the family member petitioning on their behalf will have to file the Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, which establishes the familial relationship between the two parties.
To illustrate how this admittedly complex process unfolds, consider American citizens who file a Form I-130 — along with evidence of the purported relationship — on behalf of those who immigrants who are considered immediate relatives, meaning spouses, parents or unmarried children under the age of 21.
In general, the filing of the Form I-130 will provide a relative with a place in line for a visa with others from the same country or region who share the same familial relationship. Once a visa becomes available, the person seeking to adjust their status will then have to file the Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residency or Adjust Status, which will be subjected to a thorough review.
However, as far as immediate relatives are concerned, since there are no numerical limits on this visa category, something known as concurrent filing is allowed. What this essentially means is that immediate relatives of U.S. citizens can file both the Form I-485 and the Form I-130 — along with any necessary fees and supporting documents — together to the same filing location, greatly expediting the process of adjusting their status. In other words, no two-step filing process.
We will continue discussing this complex topic in future posts.
Please consider speaking with a skilled legal professional if you have questions or concerns about adjustment of status or other pressing immigration law matters.