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Family-based adjustments of status

Some individuals who are already in the United States are eligible to adjust status to a lawful permanent resident rather leave the United States in order to obtain an immigrant visa.

First, in many cases, the individual must already have an approved immigration petition such as an I-130. However, if the individual is an immediate relative of a US citizen (a parent, spouse, or minor child of a U.S. citizen), then the application for adjustment of status (I-485) may be filed concurrently with the immigration petition (I-130).

Secondly, in order to adjust status, the individual wishing to adjust must have been inspected and lawfully admitted into the U.S.

Thirdly, in general, an individual may not adjust status if he or she has engaged in unauthorized employment, is not in lawful status or has failed to maintain status continuously since entering the United States. There are, however, some important exceptions to this rule. For example, this rule does not apply to immediate relatives of US citizens.

Finally, please note that adjustment of status is a discretionary benefit. In general, USCIS will grant an adjustment of status for eligible individuals unless there are negative factors that weight in favor of denying discretion. For example, if one enters the United States with preconceived intent to remain in the United States, USCIS may determine that discretion is not warranted.

It is important to ensure your immigration case is handled by a skilled immigration attorney. Even a case that may appear “easy” can indeed become very complicated.

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