Adjustment of Status
Adjustment of Status refers to the process of becoming a lawful permanent resident. The most common form of adjustment is family based. You as the beneficiary must have a qualifying relationship with a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. There must also be a visa immediately available to you.
Eligibility in most cases requires that you have entered the U.S. lawfully and that you remain admissible to the U.S. You can adjust your status even if you overstayed beyond your I-94 departure date, provided that you do not have any criminal convictions. If you had a valid visa and were inspected and admitted at a point of entry upon arrival into the U.S., then you can adjust unless you are convicted of certain crimes. In such a case, we provide specialized legal services for Post Conviction Relief (PCR) to vacate and dismiss your conviction(s) so that you can apply to adjust your status or terminate your removal proceedings (deportation). [See Post Conviction Relief and Motions to Terminate sections for further case illustrations and details in our Website.]
Adjustment of status is accomplished when the sponsor (spouse, son or daughter over 21 yrs. old) files an Immediate Relative Petition (Form I-130) and an application for adjustment of status (Form I-485) with the immigration service (U.S.C.I.S. formerly the I.N.S.) or with the Immigration Court - see below. The petition and application require various supporting documents and records to prove the relationship and to establish your eligibility. If we have vacated and dismissed your criminal conviction(s), then we also file a written Memorandum of Law with your package explaining why you are eligible now to adjust and apply now. We have been very successful in representing our clients in obtaining their ‘Green Cards’ and Naturalizations who have had criminal convictions. [See our Ratings & Reviews section for specific case details on our Website.]
If you have overstayed your I-94 Departure Date for more than six (6) months but less than one year, then your unlawful presence will subject you to a three (3) year bar of exclusion from the U.S. should you leave the U.S. and then seek readmission. If you have overstayed more than one (1) year beyond your required departure date, then you will be subject to a ten (10) year bar of exclusion. However, if you entered legally and were inspected and admitted, then you can still adjust your status to an immediate relative without fear of being denied and deported.
Importantly, Adjustment of status can also be applied for during removal (deportation) proceedings as a defense in the Immigration Court. You must qualify and be otherwise eligible as discussed above. You must have entered the U.S. legally unless you qualified for amnesty INA sec. 245i where our clients can file for LPR status at any time thereafter.
We also file their Immediate Relative Petitions (Form I-130), for our clients as the first step in the adjustment process. When an application for adjustment is filed in removal proceedings, the Immigration Judge (I.J.) and not the immigration service will decide whether or not to grant your adjustment. If you are in removal proceedings, then we prepare and file your Adjustment Package (I-485) in the Immigration Court. We will then present evidence to the Immigration Judge of your good faith relationships as well as your eligibility to file for adjustment or naturalization. When the Immigration Judge approves your adjustment, then you will become a lawful permanent resident and the removal proceedings will be terminated.
If you are a non-citizen with any criminal conviction(s) and wish to file for permanent residency, naturalization or are in removal proceedings, then you should consult with a qualified immigration and criminal defense law firm as soon as possible. For more information, please contact our Law Office.
Eckdish & Hall are or have been active members in the following organizations:
Avvo Lawyer Ratings (Avvo)
American Immigration Lawyers Association (A.I.L.A.)
Association of Trial Lawyers of America (A.T.L.A.)
California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (C.A.C.J.)
National Lawyers Guild (N.I.G.)