Adjustment of status

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Updated: 4/13/2007 3:36 pm
If you’re an immigrant living in the United States as an alien and are facing deportation, you may be eligible under the Immigration and Nationality Act to have the deportation proceedings against you dropped by changing your alien status to a permanent resident status. This type of relief from deportation is known as “adjustment to status.” In order to qualify, you must be the parent, spouse, widow, or child of a U.S. citizen or an alien with a current priority date for permanent resident status. You may not apply if you’re a crew member or an exchange visitor who hasn’t had the two-year foreign resident requirement waived. Individuals who entered the United States while in transit to another country without a visa or without inspection are also prohibited from applying. To seek an adjustment of status, you must possess a residential address in the United States, fill out Form I-485 (eye A-85) or “application to register permanent residence or adjust status,” and plead your case in front of an immigration judge or examiner. Be prepared to bring your passport, birth certificate, evidence of admission into the United States, a completed fingerprint chart, and documents proving your relationship to a U.S. citizen, including an “affidavit of support” from the U.S. citizen. Keep in mind that being granted an adjustment of status is considered a privilege and not a right. As a result, it will be up to you to prove to the immigration judge that you deserve an adjustment of status. For example, if you’re applying for adjustment of status on the basis of your marriage to a U.S. citizen, you’ll need to prove that the marriage is authentic and not being used to avoid deportation. The burden of proof may be more difficult for marriages that take place after deportation proceedings have started. If your marriage is regarded as fraudulent, you may be required to live outside the United States for a period of two years. If your application for adjustment of status is denied for any other reason, you have the option of traveling abroad and applying for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy. Individuals whose applications are approved for adjustment of status will receive a Green Card and will have the privilege of living and working in the United States permanently.

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