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Seeking a green card when already in the U.S.

Green card recipients vary greatly in their circumstances. This includes in what qualified them for a green card. There are a variety of routes through which a person could have green card eligibility. So, when thinking about pursuing a green card, an individual may want to discuss what eligibility routes might be available to them with an immigration lawyer.

Another way in which U.S. green card holders vary is in where they sought out their green card. Some seek out a green card while they are outside the United States. Others seek out a green card while already in the U.S. on a different immigration status, such as a temporary work visa. Which of these two circumstances is more common among new green card recipients? According to federal data noted by the Pew Research Center, in recent years, it has been seeking out a green card while already in America.

This data indicates that the number of new green card recipients who were already in the U.S. has outnumbered the number of new green card holders who were new arrivals to the country every fiscal year since 2004. For example, in the 2015 fiscal year, 508,716 new green card recipients were new arrivals, while 542,315 were already in the country on a different status.

One thing worth noting though is that the degree to which already-in-the-U.S. new green card recipients outnumber new-arrival new green card recipients has been shrinking. One wonders if the trend of the shrinking of this outnumbering will continue to the point where new green card holders who are new arrivals will start to regularly make up a majority of new green card holders.

There is a special process for individuals who are seeking a U.S. green card while already in the U.S. on a lawful status. This process is called adjustment of status. There are many questions individuals who are looking to convert from being in the U.S. on a non-green-card status to being a green card holder may have on the adjustment of status process. The quality and accuracy of the answers they ultimately get to these questions can have major implications when the time to make big decisions arises for such individuals. This contributes to why having a skilled immigration lawyer’s guidance can be such a key thing when looking into pursuing a green card through an adjustment of status.

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