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  • Matthew W. Peterson

What is Adjustment of Status?

Updated: Mar 13



If you are an immediate relative of a US citizen and did not cross into the US illegally, you could be eligible to adjust your status and acquire a green card. This means you do not have to travel outside of the United States to get your green card but can remain in the country while your application is pending.

To begin with, you must be an immediate relative of a US citizen. This means you're a spouse, parent (if the child is over 21), or child (if you're under 21 and unmarried) of someone who was born in the United States or was naturalized to become a US citizen.

Second, you cannot have come into the United States illegally. This means you came in through customs and were inspected.

If these categories apply to you, you are eligible to adjust your status and apply for a green card. This means you would submit an I-485 along with your sponsor's (citizen family member's) I-130. Your sponsor will also have to prove that they can support you, or you can get a substitute sponsor.

You may also be able to work while your green card application is pending by applying for an employment authorization document.

If you are planning on marrying a US citizen, you can receive a fiancee visa to allow you to travel to the United States to marry, and then apply for adjustment of status afterwards.

This process is complicated and is full of pitfalls. It can involve a lot of documentation, especially if you recently married a US citizen. It's better to hire an experienced immigration lawyer to help rather than trying on your own. Otherwise, you risk delays, additional expenses, and your petition being denied.

Please let me know if I can help. Contact me today if you need an immigration attorney to help with your green card application or adjustment of status. My office is located in Boston, Massachusetts, but I practice immigration law all over Massachusetts. Call me today at 617-356-8217 if you need an immigration attorney in Massachusetts.

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