Foreigners living in Nevada may be able to "adjust status" to legal permanent residence without having to leave the country. Adjustment of status is available to legal aliens who are (1) eligible for green cards, and (2) currently in the United States. Meanwhile, green card applicants who are outside the U.S. must pursue consular processing in order to become legal permanent residents.
Below our Las Vegas immigration attorneys answer frequently-asked-questions about getting a green card while staying in the U.S. Click on a topic to go directly to that section.
- 1. What does "adjustment of status" mean?
- 2. Am I eligible for "adjustment of status" in Las Vegas, NV?
- 3. How do I "adjust status" in Las Vegas, NV?
- 4. Can I "adjust status" if I marry a U.S. citizen?
- 5. What if I cannot "adjust status" but am eligible for a green card?
- 6. If I am eligible for "adjustment of status," will I definitely get it?
- 7. Can I "adjust status" if I am outside the U.S.?
- 8. How long does it take to "adjust status" in Las Vegas, NV?
- 9. How much does it cost to "adjust status"?
Adjustment of status is the application procedure by which a foreigner who is in the U.S. lawfully (usually on a visa) becomes a legal permanent resident. In other words, the visa-holder changes status to a green card-holder. This process happens without the foreigner having to leave the U.S.1
The three general requirements to adjust status are:
- the foreigner must be physically in the U.S.,
- the foreigner must have entered the U.S. legally and have not overstayed his/her visa, and
- the foreigner must be eligible for a green card
Whether someone is eligible for a green card depends on the specific terms of their visa. For example, people on fiancé(e) visas are not eligible unless they married within 90 days of coming to the U.S. Foreigners on H-1B visas may be eligible if their employers sponsor them. And refugees have to wait one (1) year from the time they arrived in the U.S. to be eligible.
There may be some exceptions where an alien can adjust status even if he/she lived unlawfully in the U.S. For instance, employment-based immigrant visa-holders can still adjust status even if they lived illegally in the U.S. for no more than 180 days. Non-citizens are encouraged to consult with a lawyer about their options for becoming a lawful permanent resident.2
The application process to adjust status typically requires completing and submitting Form I-485 and Form I-94 to the U.S. The foreigner also needs to submit to a medical exam (unless the foreigner is an asylee, refugee, or fiancé(e) visa-holder) as well as give biometrics (fingerprints).
Foreigners looking to adjust status may also have to submit additional documentation depending on their visa type. For instance, fiancé(e) visa-holders need to submit a copy of their marriage certificate to adjust status. And employment-based visa-holders have to submit a letter from their employer.
After the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) receives the application, they will contact the foreigner to schedule an interview and inform him/her what supporting documentation to bring (such as a photo I.D. and marriage certificate).3 The interview will take place at the foreigner's local USCIS office. Nevada has two USCIS offices: Las Vegas immigration office and Reno immigration office.
It depends on whether the foreigner spouse entered the U.S. legally or not. Foreigner spouses who entered the U.S. legally (on a valid visa) are usually eligible to adjust status. But foreigner spouses who did not enter the U.S. legally are not eligible to adjust status.4
It depends on the situation. Foreigners who are already overseas may be able to get a green card through consular processing. Otherwise, foreigners may be able to leave the U.S. to go through "consular processing" in their home country. However, there is no guarantee that the foreigner will be able to come back to the U.S. right away...
It may be possible for foreigners to get a waiver prior to leaving the U.S. to help ensure that they can return to the U.S. once they get the green card overseas. This is a situation where foreigners are strongly advised to seek legal counsel to maximize their chances of getting a green card and being able to reenter the U.S. as quickly as possible.5
USCIS officers always have discretion over deciding whether an alien in the U.S. may adjust status, so it is never a sure thing. Though in practice, anyone who is eligible for adjustment of status and has no negative factors (such as living in the U.S. illegally) is usually granted a green card. And even negative factors may be overcome in some cases, especially if the foreigner was not personally at fault.6
No. Foreigners who are overseas and eligible for a green card cannot adjust status. Instead, they must go through consular processing. Consular processing usually requires showing up to the foreigner's local U.S. embassy or consulate for an interview.7
On average, the time frame for receiving a green card is four months to a year.8
The majority of foreigners pay a $1,140 application fee plus an $85 biometrics fee. The full fee schedule from the USCIS website is below:
Call a Nevada immigration attorney...
If you or a loved one is seeking to adjust status in Nevada, call our Las Vegas immigration attorneys for a consultation at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673). We will guide you through the gauntlet of paperwork and procedures in pursuit of achieving legal permanent resident status for you in the U.S.