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Adjustment of Status

What Are the Requirements for Adjustment of Status in Arizona?

People need to first determine if they are eligible to file for a Green Card, as the United States has several different categories relating to Green Card eligibility that are based on family, employment, or other classifications. The alternative to adjustment of status will be consular processing in which a person applies for a Green Card while outside of the United States and has their case handled by their nearest United States consulate or embassy.


Adjustment of Status Process in Arizona

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) currently estimates that an employment-based Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, in Phoenix can take 21.5 months. Family-based applications in Phoenix can take 13.5 months, Haitian Refugee Immigrant Fairness Act (HRIFA) applications handled only in the Nebraska Service Center can take 31 months, applications based on grants of asylum more than one year ago can take 36.5 months, applications based on refugee admission more than one year ago can take 35 months, applications based on approved T visas handled in the Vermont Service Center can take 30 months, and applications based on approved U visas can take 15 months.

A majority of people applying for Green Cards usually must complete two forms, their own immigrant petition, and a Green Card application. Another person typically needs to file a petition for an immigrant, although an immigrant could be eligible to file for themselves in certain cases.

Some of the different petitions people may have to file could include a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition, or Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal.

Some people could also need to file a Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, Form I-918, Petition of U Nonimmigrant Status, or Form I-929, Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U-1 Nonimmigrant.

When form I-485 is filed before an underlying immigrant visa petition is approved, it is known as concurrent filing. An application will be considered to be concurrently filed when an immigrant visa petition and Form I-485 are filed at the same time and mailed together with all required filing fees and supporting documentation to the same filing location.

The only people who can take advantage of concurrent filing are the immediate relatives of United States citizens who are living in the United States, employment-based applicants and eligible family members when visa numbers are immediately available, Special Immigrant Juveniles when EB-4 visa numbers are immediately available and USCIS has jurisdiction over the application to adjust status, a self-petitioning battered spouse or child when the abusive spouse or parent is a United States citizen or an immigrant visa number is immediately available, certain members of the armed forces applying for special immigrant visas under Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) § 101(a)(27)(K), and Special Immigrant International Organization Employees or family members.

People can file a petition and application concurrently provided that there is a visa number immediately available at the time of filing, but there are categories in which even when there are visa numbers available at the time of filing, people may not be allowed to file concurrently unless they have an approved basis of eligibility before they can file for adjustment of status. USCIS recommends checking the Visa Availability and Priority Dates page and the Adjustment of Status Filing Charts on the USCIS website as well as the Visa Bulletin on the Department of State website.

When a person files their Form I-485, USCIS will mail them a notice for a biometrics appointment at which a person will provide their fingerprints, photograph, and/or signature. It is important for people to attend biometrics appointments because missing the appointment can lead to a denial of form I-485.

USCIS could also determine that an in-person interview will be necessary in some cases, and people must prepare properly for such interviews. While USCIS officers will simply be asking questions about Form I-485, people also must bring all required documentation submitted with their Form I-185, including passports and other travel documents.

You will want to be sure you have an experienced immigration attorney working with you every step of the way when you are seeking an adjustment of status because legal representation will make an extraordinary difference in understanding any delays and what resolutions could be available in your case. A lawyer is going to know how to help a person earn approval for their adjustment of status application, and they will be able to walk people through the entire process.

People need to understand all of the requirements involved in an adjustment of status application. Immigrants must be physically present in the United States when applying, as people outside the United States must use consular processing instead.

All applicants need to be legally admitted to the United States, and they cannot have experienced any major changes in circumstances. Such situations may include the death of a sponsor, an unmarried child marrying, or married couples divorcing.

People should also be aware of several statutory bars to adjustment of status, which can include unauthorized employment, unlawful status, or failure to maintain status. While immigrants who engaged in unauthorized employment, were not in lawful status when filing their adjustment application, or failed to continuously maintain status since entry into the United States may be prohibited from receiving an adjustment of status, exceptions do exist in these cases for immediate relatives of United States citizens who are eligible to adjust their status, technical violations that are not the fault of immigrants, employment-based immigrants being out of status for no more than 180 days, or an exception under INA § 245(i).

J-1 or J-2 nonimmigrant status holders will be subject to a two-year foreign residence requirement under which they are prohibited from adjustment when they have not completed the two-year foreign residence requirement or were not granted a waiver. An immigrant who marries a United States citizen other than the person who filed a K-1 petition cannot receive an adjustment of status.

Immigrants must also prove they will not become public charges, meaning they will have the means to support themselves. Certain immigrants who marry United States citizens can also have their petitions denied when USCIS determines the applicant entered into the marriage in bad faith.

When it comes to Green Card categories, Green Cards are available for family members who are immediate relatives of United States citizens, other relatives of United States citizens, or relatives of lawful permanent residents under the family-based preference categories, fiancé(e)s of a United States citizens or fiancé(e)’s children, widow(er)s of United States citizens, and Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) self-petitioners or victims of battery or extreme cruelty. Green Cards are available through employment for immigrant workers, physicians who agree to work full-time in clinical practice in designated underserved areas for set periods of time, and immigrant investors.

Green Cards as Special Immigrants are available for religious workers, Special Immigrant Juveniles, Afghanistan or Iraq nationals, international broadcasters, employees of international organizations or family members, NATO-6 employees, or family members. Green Cards are also available to any person who is granted asylum or refugee status.

Green Cards can also go to Human trafficking victims with T nonimmigrant visas and crime victims with U nonimmigrant visas. A VAWA self-petitioner, meaning a victim of battery or extreme cruelty, Special Immigrant Juvenile,  abused spouse or child under the Cuban Adjustment Act, and abused spouse or child under the Immigrant Fairness Act (HRIFA) can also obtain a Green Card.

Additional Green Card categories can include Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness (LRIF), the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, the Cuban Adjustment Act, abused spouses or children under the Cuban Adjustment Act, people with dependent status under the HRIFA abused victims of battery or extreme cruelty spouses or children under HRIFA, Lautenberg parolees, Indochinese Parole Adjustment Act of 2000, American Indians born in Canada, people born in the United States to foreign diplomats, and Section 13 diplomats. A person can also be eligible for a Green Card if they have resided continuously in the United States since before January 1, 1972.

Many adjustments of status cases can also involve requests for additional evidence, such as when a person fails to include all of the required evidence or the evidence they submitted is no longer considered valid. An attorney will be able to help a person ensure that they are submitting all of the valid forms of evidence USCIS needs so there are no concerns about USCIS denying the I-485 application.

Call Us Today to Speak with an Arizona Immigration Lawyer

Are you currently hoping to adjust your status in the United States but have concerns about how easy it will be for you to complete the process? You will want to make sure you are working with Diamondback Legal because we understand how stressful and confusing the immigration process can be for most people, but we walk our clients through the entire journey from beginning to end and answer every single question that people might have.

Our firm knows how important adjustment of status cases can be for entire families in Arizona, and we work tirelessly to help every single person get the results they are seeking. Call (602) 584-8938 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.

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