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How Do I Become a Lawful Permanent Resident While in the United States?

Background

An immigrant is a foreign national who has been granted the privilege of living and working permanently in the United States. You must go through a multi-step process to become an immigrant.

First, the USCIS must approve an immigrant petition for you, usually filed by an employer or relative.

Second, the State Department must give you an immigrant visa number, even if you are already in the United States.

Third, if you are already in the United States, you may apply for Adjustment of Status to permanent resident status. (If you are outside the United States, you will be notified to go to the local U.S. consulate to complete the processing for an immigrant visa.)

Important information regarding employment-based Green Card: An undated memorandum (1.5 MB .PDF) from USCIS' William Yates rescinds a March 3, 2004 memo on concurrent adjudication of I-140s/I-485s, although concurrent filing continues. Previously, the Form I-485 could not be filed until the Form I-140 was approved, thus delaying the many benefits associated with the Form I-485 filing. As has always been the case, the Form I-485 cannot be filed until an immigrant visa number is available.

How does concurrent filing affect the filing for work authorization and advance parole?

Under the rule, immigrant visa applicants and their spouses, can also seek employment authorization and/or advance parole simultaneously with their concurrent Form I-140 and Form I-485 filing.

Who is eligible to file concurrently?

The interim rule applies to employment-based immigrant petitions under the First, Second and Third Preference categories (Section 203(b)(1),(2), and (3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act). Applicants with pending labor certification applications must await approval of the application by the Department of Labor to benefit from this provision. The following is a list of the types of Form I-140 immigrant petitions which benefit from this new rule:

Individuals of Extraordinary Ability;
Outstanding Researchers;
Multinational Managers and Executives; National Interest Waiver candidates (who hold an advanced degree or are of exceptional ability);
Advanced Degree Professionals with an underlying approved labor certification from their sponsoring employer;
Professionals holding Bachelor's degree with an underlying approved labor certification from their sponsoring employer;
Skilled Workers - i.e. are being offered a job that requires at least two years experience, with an underlying approved labor certification from their sponsoring employer;
Other workers (unskilled labor- and who have an underlying approved labor certification from their sponsoring employer).

When is an immigrant visa petition and adjustment application considered to be concurrently filed?

There are three instances in which an immigrant visa petition (Form I-140) and adjustment of status application (Form I-485) will be considered concurrently filed:

1) Where the Form I-140 and Form I-485 are submitted simultaneously*, which is defined as:

filed at the same time and mailed to the same Service Center;
enclosed within the same single mailing envelope;q submitted with the correct filings fees;
and received on the same day (at the same Service Center).

(*This requires the applicant to have an immigrant visa available).

2) Where a Form I-485 application is to join up with a currently pending Form I-140 petition, provided that -

a visa number is available;
the correct filing fee is enclosed;
there is proof of the proper receipt of the Form I-140 filing receipt (Form I-797, Notice of Action); and
it is filed at the same Service Center as the Form I-140 petition.

3) Where an applicant is in deportation or removal proceedings before the Immigration Court or has an appeal pending before the Board of Immigration Appeals. In the above instance, the same rules as in #2 above apply except that the filing of the I-485 must be made with the Immigration Court or Board of Immigration Appeals, depending upon which body has jurisdiction over the case.

What Does the Law Say?

The Immigration and Nationality Act is a law that governs immigration in the United States. For the part of the law concerning permanent resident status, please see INA 245. The specific eligibility requirements and procedures for adjusting to permanent residence status are included in the Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] at 8 CFR 245.

Who is Eligible?

To find out who may apply for permanent residence in the United States, please see eligibility information under the for Work Visa and Family Based Visa sections on this web site. (Please note, your permanent residence status will be conditional if it is based on a marriage that was less than two years old on the day you were given permanent residence.

How Do I Apply?

The Law Office of Paul B. Christensen will be pleased to process your Green Card application, whether on behalf of the company or the self-petitioning individual. Our law office will carefully analyze your case and make recommendations on the most appropriate process for you or your company to pursue. We then assist with preparing documents and letters, continuing the case through the adjustment of status or consular processing stage, until the principal applicant and family members receive the Green Card.

Will I Get a Work Permit?

Applicants for adjustment to permanent resident status are eligible to apply for a work permit while their cases are pending. The Law Office of Paul B. Christensen can simultaneously process your work permit application while your Adjustment of Status is pending. You do not need to apply for a work permit once you adjust to permanent resident status. As a lawful permanent resident, you will receive a permanent resident card that will prove that you have a right to live and work in the United States permanently.

Can I Travel Outside the United States?

If you are applying for adjustment to permanent resident status, you must receive advance permission to return to the United States if you are traveling outside the United States. This advance permission is called Advance Parole. I f you do not apply for Advance Parole before you leave the country, you will abandon your application with the BCIS and you may not be permitted to return to the United States. Please contact our law office for more information concerning Advance Parole.

How Can I Check the Status of My Application?

Click on the menu button to the left, labeled "Check Case Status" and enter your file number.

 
LAW OFFICE OF PAUL B. CHRISTENSEN, P.A.
3749 Southern Hills
Jacksonville, Florida 32225
Office: (904) 379-7802
Facsimile: (904) 212-0050
E-mail: contact@immigration-lawyer-us.com
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