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The common term according to the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) of changing from a non-immigrant to a lawful permanent resident is "adjustment of status." This process, which results in a green card, allows you to live and work indefinitely in the United States. You have to have entered the country legally in the first place, be admissible and meet all qualifications to apply for a green card through this process.
In some instances, individuals who last entered the U.S. illegally can also apply for adjustment of status, but must meet other requirements. Several application paths exist to apply. In order to ensure that your application process is complete, thorough, and has the best chance for success, I advise you to contact my firm in order to set up a consultation with my team. I can review your situation, advise you on what needs to be done, and help you through the process.
In order for someone who last entered the United States illegally to be able to adjust their status, the individual had to have been the beneficiary of a petition filed prior to April 30, 2001. Adjustment of status is discretionary, meaning that it is up to the courts to decide whether or not it will be granted. Those who qualify for visas through an adjustment of status may be petitioned for by a family member, such as a spouse, parent, son or daughter, or sibling.
Most people apply for an adjustment of status through a petition filed on their behalf by a family member or an employer or through asylum or refugee status or through special immigrant programs. Those who apply through family-based immigration must be sponsored by a family member who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. They may also apply through a family member who is a refugee or had asylum granted to them in the last 2 years.
Those who apply through an employer must have the employer file a petition on their behalf. Some categories under this type of application require that the U.S. Department of Labor certify that no American workers will be displaced as a result of the application. In other cases, categories for highly skilled workers and those with extraordinary abilities are given priority.
If you are in removal proceedings, you may be eligible for relief from deportation by applying for an adjustment of status with the Immigration Judge in charge of your hearings. If you need legal assistance with this process, you should contact my firm to arrange to speak with me about your case. It is in your best interests to have the benefit of an experienced immigration attorney working on your behalf to ensure you present the most thorough application.
If you are considered inadmissible to the United States based on criminal grounds, you may apply for a 212(c) or 212(h) Waiver of Inadmissibility in order to petition for an adjustment of status. These waivers remove the factors that have hindered you from obtaining an adjustment of status. In order to achieve this, you should get professional legal assistance. I have the knowledge and resources to help in this matter. I practice federal immigration law exclusively and have helped hundreds of individuals obtain permanent residency through the process known as adjustment of status.
Criminal grounds which make a person inadmissible for permanent residence include crimes involving moral turpitude, which consist of crimes which deviate from accepted moral standards. These include, but are not limited to, theft, fraud, and prostitution offenses. You can apply for a 212(h) Waiver which will remove these factors from your adjustment of status application if you can show that you have a qualifying relative such as a spouse, parent or child who is either a permanent resident or a U.S. citizen.
In addition, you have shown that your removal or deportation will cause extreme hardship to a qualifying relative. In certain instances you can apply for adjustment of status application along with a 212(c) Waiver of Inadmissibility. To help you have the best chance of a favorable decision in this matter, you should have the legal assistance of a qualified Houston immigration attorney.
As this can be a complicated process which requires appropriate documentation, it is important that you work with a legal professional to ensure you have the best chance of success. If you are granted an adjustment of status, you will be granted lawful permanent residence. As this is an important step that will allow you to remain in the U.S., I advise you to contact me so that we can begin working together.