Adjustment Of Status, Visas & Citizenship

Whether you want to come to the United States on a student visa, an H1-B visa, be sponsored by your family or by your work, you will benefit greatly from the advice of a skilled lawyer. My name is Wana Saadzoi, Esq., and I pride myself on my track record of helping immigrants get legal status in the United States and keeping families together.

Achieving An Adjustment of Status

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) permits the change of an individual’s status while in the United States from non-immigrant or parolee (temporary) to immigrant (permanent) if the individual was inspected and admitted or paroled into the United States and is ablet o meet all required qualifications for a green card (permanent residence) in a particular category. The common term for a change to permanent status is”adjustment of status.”

The INA provides an individual two primary paths to permanent resident status. Adjustment of status is the process by which an eligible individual already in the United States can get permanent resident status (a green card) without having to return to their home country to complete visa processing.

Consular processing is an alternate process for an individual outside the United States (or who is in the United States but is ineligible to adjust status) to obtain a visa abroad and enter the United States as a permanent resident) This pathway is referred to as “consular processing.”

Steps for Adjustment of Status

1. Determine Your Basis to Immigrate
The first step in the adjustment of status process is to determine if you fit into a specific immigrant category . Most immigrants become eligible for a green card (permanent residence) through a petition filed on your behalf by a family member or employer.  Others become permanent residents through first obtaining refugee or asylum status, or through a number of other special provisions.

2. File the Immigrant Petition
When you know what category you believe best fits your situation, in most cases, you will need to have an immigrant petition filed on your behalf.

  • Family Based
    Family based categories require that a U.S. citizen or permanent resident relative file a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, for you.
  • Employment Based
    Employment based categories most often require the intending U.S. employer to file a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker, for you.  Entrepreneurs who intend to invest significant amounts of capital into a business venture in the United States may file Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur” on their own behalf.
  • Special Classes of Immigrants
    In some cases, certain immigrants may file a Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), and Special Immigrant, or have one filed on their behalf. To learn more about who may file a special immigrant petition.
  • Humanitarian Programs
    Most humanitarian programs do not require an underlying petition, although individuals may need to meet additional requirements before they can adjust status. For more information, see the “Humanitarian.”

Depending on the category you wish to adjust under, you may be eligible to have the petition filed at the same time that you file your Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. This is called “concurrent filing.” Immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen may be able to file concurrently.  Also, other certain classes of individuals who have a visa immediately available may be able to file concurrently.  Most categories, however, require that you first establish your eligibility for the immigrant category by having an approved petition before you are allowed to file Form I-485, for these categories you will not be able to file concurrently. As you can see the process is not impossible but with my help we can navigate through the process together to reach a positive outcome.


The Effect Of The Defense Of Marriage Act On Immigrant Couples

Another wrinkle in the federal immigration policy is the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling striking down key provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). If you are an immigrant, you may now marry your American same-sex partner in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage and then reside in Pennsylvania. You must, however, work to prove to the court that your marriage is real. It is essential to work with an attorney to get the adjustment of status you need to legally reside in the U.S. with your spouse.

Do Not Go Through The Process Alone. Call Wana Saadzoi, Esq.

Contact my office in Media, Pennsylvania, at 610-566-5956 to schedule a consultation. I can walk you through the process and make sure that every detail is addressed. In addition to speaking Dari, Farsi and French, I can also provide Spanish translation services.