Immigration law blog

Applying for Lawful Permanent Resident Status (the “Green Card”) in the U.S. through a Family Visa Petition

If you have a family member who can file an immigrant visa petition for you, one of your first questions will be whether you can file for your green card (known as “adjustment of status”) within the United States, or whether you will have to return to your country of birth to apply through the consulate (known as “consular processing”). Below are some of the most common ways that individuals are permitted to apply for adjustment of status in the United States:

1) You entered the United States lawfully. If you came to the United States lawfully, for example, on a tourist visa, you may be able to apply for your green card without leaving the United States. If you are an “immediate relative,” meaning the spouse, parent, or minor child of a U.S. citizen, you may be able to apply within the U.S., even if your lawful status has expired. However, if you are applying based on any other family relationship and your legal status has expired, you may be required to return to your country of origin for consular processing.

2) You are the spouse, parent, or minor child of a U.S. citizen member of the Armed Forces. If you are the spouse, parent, or minor child of a U.S. citizen who is, or previously was, a member of the Armed Forces, you may be able to apply for something called “parole in place.” If approved, this may allow you to apply for adjustment of status in the United States, even if you previously entered without papers.  Read more about "parole in place" in our other blog post.

3) You qualify under “245(i).” Section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act allows some individuals who were the beneficiaries of immigrant visa petitions filed before April 30, 2001 to apply for adjustment of status in the United States, even if they previously entered without papers. If this prior petition was filed for you or your parents or grandparents you may be able to qualify under this law.

Please note that, even if you appear eligible for adjustment of status for one of these reasons, you may still be ineligible to apply based on your criminal history, your number of entries into the United States, or other factors. Therefore, you should consult with an immigration attorney prior to filing any application for adjustment of status. 




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 lawyers exclusively practice immigration law, covering diverse topics: asylum, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), 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 lawyers 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.

Lesley Irizarry-Hougan

Lesley has been practicing law since July, 2005. She has significant experience in representing clients in Immigration Court, both detained and non-detained cases; appeals from immigration judge decisions, both at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals; and the Board of Immigration Appeals. Lesley is actively involved in her community, regularly volunteering at the Latina/o Bar Association Legal Clinic and the King County Bar Association Neighborhood Legal Clinic. Lesley Irizarry-Hougan ha estado practicando exclusivamente leyes de inmigración desde Julio del 2005. Ella tiene experiencia significante representando clientes en la Corte de Inmigración; apelando las decisiones del juez de inmigración, ambos a la Corte de Apelaciones de Estados Unidos para el Noveno Circuito y la Corte de Distrito de Estados Unidos para el Oeste de Washington. Lesley también se especializa en aplicaciones afirmativas, incluyendo aplicaciones para la tarjeta verde (Mica), asilo, NACARA, y aplicaciones de ciudadanía archivado en los Estados Unidos y Servicios de Inmigración. Lesley también hace certificaciones de trabajo, incluyendo aplicaciones de cocineros especializados. Ella habla español nativo.

L.I.H. Law, P.S., Immigration Lawyer, Seattle, WA