Obtaining lawful permanent residency (LPR) is one of the most important steps toward remaining permanently in the United States. LPR status must be attained before one can become a U.S. citizen. After a non-resident has been granted immigrant status, they may apply to adjust to permanent resident status.

How Can I Apply for LPR?

Adjustment of status refers to the process of obtaining permanent residency without leaving the U.S. The applicant must demonstrate one of the following:

  • They have a familial relationship with a permanent resident
  • They have a familial relationship with a U.S. citizen
  • They have a job offer which will not displace another U.S. worker.

Next, the applicant must establish they:

  • Were inspected, then and admitted or paroled into the United States
  • There is an immigrant visa immediately available at the time their application is filed
  • Had lawful status at the time of the filing
  • Are otherwise eligible for admission to the United States
  • Have not engaged in unauthorized employment after January 1, 1997
  • An adjustment of status should be granted

Who Is Eligible to Apply?

A non-resident may be eligible to apply if:

  • Family Member – The alien is the spouse, parent, unmarried child who is under 21, or one of several other eligible familial titles.
  • Employment – The alien has an approved visa petition filed on his behalf by a U.S. employer.
  • Fiancé – The non-resident was admitted on a K-1 Fiancé visa and then married the U.S. citizen who applied for the K-1 visa on their behalf.
  • Refugee or Asylee – The applicant is a refugee or asylee who has been in the U.S. for at least a year after being given refugee or asylee status.
  • Diversity Visa – The applicant has won a visa in the diversity visa lottery. Each year, the Diversity Lottery Program has made 50,000  visas available through a lottery from countries with low rates of immigration.

Who Is Ineligible to Apply?

An applicant may be deemed ineligible to apply for adjustment of status of LPR for a number of reasons. Some common reasons include:

  • They entered the U.S. while in transit to another country without obtaining a visa
  • They were not admitted or paroled into the U.S. after inspection by Immigration
  • They are employed in the U.S. without United States Citizenship and Immigration Services authorization
  • They are no longer legally in the country

There are many other reasons why you would be ineligible, which are spelled out in Form I-485.

Should I Contact an Immigration Attorney?

Seeking an adjustment of status from immigrant to lawful permanent resident can be complicated and difficult. It is extremely important to seek the advice of a qualified immigration attorney before attempting to adjust status or submitting anything to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. A lawyer will be able to explain the nuances of the law to you, and help you avoid delays or unintended consequences of failing to do something or doing something incorrectly.