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Adjusting status from non-immigrant to permanent resident

Some foreign-born individuals in California qualify for an adjustment of their immigration status. Individuals who did not enter the United States as immigrants may apply for permanent resident status later on. A person who is eligible for an adjustment of immigration status, they will not have to leave the U.S. in order to obtain a green card.

The first step people must take to adjust their status from non-immigrant to permanent resident status is to determine their basis for immigrating. People may qualify for a green card if they have a close family member who is a U.S. citizen or if they have been offered a job by a U.S. employer. Certain special circumstances may also allow a non-immigrant to apply for an adjustment of immigration status once in the U.S.

Before people can apply, they must check with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to see what is available to them. A Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residency or Adjust Status. Someone other than the prospective immigrant usually files the petition. For example, a family-based petition might be filed by a person's U.S. citizen spouse, and an employment-based petition might be filed by an employer.

Understanding immigration laws can be confusing for many people, which is why having legal assistance can be advisable. An immigration attorney may be able to help a foreign-born person to submit an application for a green card at the appropriate time. If one was previously denied, an attorney can often assist in appealing the decision.

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  • American Immigration Lawyers Association
  • State Bar of California | California Board of Legal Specialization
  • Avvo
  • Orange County Bar Association
  • Irvine Chamber