Pennsylvania Green Card Attorney (Adjustment of Status) Guiding Clients to Lawful Permanent Resident Status
Getting a Green Card can be an important step toward making the United States your permanent home, but the process can be confusing. There are a lot of forms to fill out, and the paperwork required depends on your current category status and whether you have a sponsor or are filing your own petition.
Having a Green Card lawyer who is familiar with the process and requirements to guide you can make everything easier and less stressful.
Get help understanding the requirements to apply for an adjustment of status when you call the Law Office of Rosina C. Stambaugh. Our team can talk with you about our current status and your immigration goals and provide help as you navigate applying for a green card and obtaining lawful permanent resident status.
What Is a Green Card?
A Green Card is a different name for lawful permanent resident status in the United States. Those who were originally granted this status immediately after World War II were given green residency cards. Today, the cards are no longer printed on green paper, but the reference remains.
Lawful permanent residents are able to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis, and they cannot be deported back to their home countries if immigration laws change in the future.
Having a Green Card also provides a path to citizenship, as you are able to apply for U.S. citizenship after you have had your Green Card for three to five years, depending on whether you are married to a U.S. citizen. As a Green Card holder, you can also then sponsor other eligible family members to obtain their Green Cards.
How Do You Apply for a Green Card Through an Adjustment of Status?
There are specific eligibility requirements to be able to apply for an adjustment of status for a Green Card. You can apply for a Green Card through family or employer sponsorship.
You may also be able to apply for a Green Card if you have refugee or asylee status or if you’ve been the victim of human trafficking, abuse, or another crime. If you aren’t sure if you are in a category that is able to apply for an adjustment of status, talk to a Green Card attorney.
If you meet the requirements to apply, you can start the process by filling out the appropriate form based on the category you are applying from. For example, if a family member is sponsoring you, they would fill out a Form I-130.
In most situations, you will need to have the initial immigrant petition approved before filing the actual adjustment of status application. This is Form I-485, and you can file this when a visa is available in your category. You can check this on the USCIS site. You may need to provide other documentation or go to an interview if required.
How Long Does It Take for an Adjustment of Status to Be Reviewed?
The amount of time it takes for an adjustment of status application to be reviewed varies greatly. However, in most cases, it’s a lengthy process, and you should expect it to take several months and possibly as long as a year or more.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services provides some current review times based on your local office and type of petition online, and you can also check the current status of your application through its website.
Why Would an Adjustment of Status Be Denied?
An adjustment of status application can be denied for a few reasons, and it’s important to review your denial notice so that you know what the issue is and whether it can be corrected.
Common reasons for an adjustment of status to be denied include:
- Not being able to show that you have the financial means to support yourself
- An issue with the forms themselves, such as leaving out information or not attaching your supporting documentation
- Having a criminal conviction or other violation that keeps you from being eligible for lawful permanent resident status
- Not meeting the health requirements, such as being free of communicable diseases or having the required vaccinations
If you receive a notice of denial, don’t panic. In many cases, you may be able to appeal or refile at a later date when you have addressed whatever the issues are. Contact a Green Card attorney as soon as you have your notice of denial so that you can understand exactly what the problem is and what your options are. An attorney can also help you address any issues and make sure that you have everything you need before you refile.
Can I Work While My Adjustment of Status Is Being Processed?
Whether or not you can work in the United States while your adjustment of status for a Green Card is being processed depends on your current status. In many cases, the answer is yes, but you will likely need to apply for employment authorization.
If possible, it’s a good idea to apply for employment authorization because it can take several months for a Green Card to be processed, and it shows that you have the ability to financially support yourself.
Whether you’re just starting the process of applying for an adjustment of status or you’re wondering what your options are after being denied, the team at The Law Office of Rosina C. Stambaugh is here to help. We work with clients across the state of Pennsylvania to help them better understand their immigration options and how to eventually obtain a Green Card. Call our office at 717-900-1818 to take the first step and schedule your appointment.
Did You Enter The U.S. Unlawfully?
Find out how you can still obtain your residency with an unlawful presence waiver.