The first step in becoming a resident through an immediate family member (an immediate family member is a United States citizen spouse, a child under 21 who has a U.S. citizen parent or step-parent, a parent of a 21-year-old or older U.S. citizen) is filing and receiving approval on Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, which was discussed in the previous blog post (click here to read).
Once approved, there are several ways for the beneficiary (the person who wants to become a resident) to become a Legal Permanent Resident (Green-card holder).
For those who originally entered the United States with a visa, even if they overstayed their visa, it is likely that they can apply for residency while still remaining inside the United States (although this area can be complicated by other factors such as other immigration issues, criminal history etc., and requires a complete evaluation by a lawyer.).
Generally, to apply for residency from within the United States, a person uses Form I-485, which is the application to “adjust status” to a permanent resident. In this form, the applicant provides extensive biographic information about him/herself and their family. Other documents that need to accompany this form may include:
- Copy of all birth certificates
- Copy of the passport
- Copy of your I-130 approval
- Evidence of relationship like the joint lease, joint mortgage, etc if through spouse
- List of address and employment for last 5 years
- Employment letter for the petitioner
- Copies of the marriage certificate or divorce decrees or criminal records (if any)
- As an option, Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
- Form I-693, Medical Examination of Aliens Seeking Adjustment of Status. ( Must be completed by the USCIS authorized physician)
- Apart from the above, supporting documents depending on the individual’s case is submitted.
During this process, the applicant may have an interview with an immigration officer. When the approved petition is based on a family member, that family member accompanies the applicant to the interview. Attorneys may also be present during the interview. Overall, this process could take from 3-8 months to complete. However, if you have entries to the U.S. without documents, deportation, or criminal history, the process to obtain your green card could be much more complicated. Future blog posts will address these different situations.
This is not an easy process, but here is where we excel. Our Seattle immigration law firm, L.I.H. Law offers low-cost immigration consultations to help you understand all the necessary steps and then our services will assist you through the process.
Click here to contact our immigration attorneys - L.I.H. Law, P.S., Seattle WA
L.I.H. Law is a trusted immigration law firm with our office conveniently located in Seattle, near the Seattle Space Needle (2nd Ave and Denny Way).
Our well-respected attorneys exclusively practice immigration law, covering diverse topics: asylum, deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA), detention cases, fiancé visas (K-1 visas), green cards, immigration status for victims of domestic violence or other crimes, naturalization applications, and much more.
The immigration attorneys and professional staff at L.I.H. Law are dedicated to providing the right solutions to meet our clients’ immigration needs. Our entire staff is fluent in Spanish and has served clientele from around the world.
Supporting our local immigration community is important to us. Our immigration lawyers and staff are active in volunteering for various community events and organizations, and conducting pro-bono work.