A Permanent Resident
United States permanent residents are persons who have been authorized to live and work in the United States permanently. Permanent residents are issued a green card or a permanent resident card (hence, the name "green card holders") to prove their status.
What is Adjustment of Status?
Adjustment of Status (AOS) is the process through which you become a green card holder of the United States. Nonimmigrants already physically present in the United States, such as temporary workers or fiancés of American citizens, may apply to adjust their temporary status to become green card holders (permanent residents).
AOS Adjustment of Status
AOS is only for persons who are currently residing in the United States on a temporary, nonimmigrant visa. If you wish to become a permanent resident but you are not currently in the United States and do not have a valid United States visa, then you will need to apply for a green card through consular processing.
Application for Green Card (Permanent Resident)
Form I-485 is the application for a Green Card (permanent residence). Before filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, you must first determine your basis to immigrate and file the appropriate immigrant petition, if necessary. There are four immigrant categories through which you can immigrate: family, employee, special class and humanitarian programs.
How to Adjust Your Status to Green Card Holder:
A Green Card (Permanent Residence) is achieved by filing Form I-485. This form is intended for persons who want to either adjust their nonimmigrant status to green card holders (permanent resident) or to immigrate to the United States on a permanent resident visa.
After first determining your basis to immigrate, you may file an immigrant petition. Once your petition is approved, you may file Form I-485 to adjust your status to permanent residence and receive a green card.
All applications for Form I-485, Adjustment of Status, must be filed individually. Two or more people may not file on the same application but must file separate applications, one per person.
Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, must be filed by a United States citizen or a green card holder (permanent resident) relative on behalf of the foreign-citizen applicant. In some cases, the I-130 and the I-485 may be filed simultaneously. This process is known as concurrent filing.
Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, must be filed by the United States employer on behalf of the foreign citizen employee. If a visa number is immediately available, the I-140 may be filed concurrently with, at the same time, the I-485, Application to Adjust Status.
Form I-360, Petition for Ameriasian, Widow(er) or Special Immigrant, is to be filed by the applicant or by a qualifying person or institution on the applicant's behalf. Special immigrants include religious workers, physicians, juvenile court dependents, and armed forces members. In some cases, armed forces members may file concurrently, filing the I-360 Petition and the I-485 application at the same time.
Child Under 14
Children under 14 may pay a discounted fee when filing form I-485, Application to Adjust Status to Permanent Residence. Children under 14 filing with at least one parent only need pay a fee of $635. Children under 14 not filing with a parent must pay a fee of $985.
Concurrent filing is the process of filing both the immigrant petition and Form I-485 at the same time. You may file concurrently if a visa number is immediately available for you. The following people are able file concurrently:
- Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens living in the United States
- Most employment based applicants and their eligible family members when a visa number is immediately available
- Special Immigrant Juveniles
- Self petitioning battered spouse or child if the abusive parent or spouse is a U.S. he abusive spouse or parent is a U.S. citizen
- Certain Armed Forces Members applying for a special immigrant visa under Section101(a)(27)(K) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)Special Immigrant International Organization Employee or family member
What is a Resident Card?
Resident cards are United States permanent resident cards. In order to live and work permanently in the United States, you will need a green card to prove your official permanent resident status.
What is Follow-to-Join?
Follow-to-Join applications are appropriate for family members of individuals already approved for lawful permanent residence. Filing Form I-824 notifies the U.S. consulate that the primary applicant's status has been adjusted to a green card (lawful permanent resident) and negates the need to wait for Form I-130, Immigrant Petition for Family, to be approved before filing to Adjust Status.
You may use Form I-824, Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition, if you are the spouse or child (derivative) of another adjustment applicant (principal) either before or after the principal's application has been approved and you are currently living abroad. In this case, the principal applicant must be residing in the United States.
What is an Employment Authorization Document?
In order to work legally in the United States, you will need to obtain an Employment Authorization Document, commonly known as an EAD card. Some temporary visas allow you to work during your stay in the U.S. An EAD card proves that you are authorized to work. U.S. permanent residents may also want to apply for an EAD card in order to show they are authorized to work to potential employers.
Form I-765 is the Application for Employment Authorization and must be filed to obtain your EAD card. Popular eligibility categories for Form I-765 are listed below:
- Asylee/ Refugees and their spouses and children
- Nationals of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, or Palau
- Deferred Enforced Departure (DED)/ Extended Voluntary Departure
- Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
- NACARA Relief
- Foreign Students
- Dependents of Employees of Diplomatic Missions, International Organizations or NATO
- Employment-Based Nonimmigrant Categories - B-1, E-1/E-2, L-1, or E-2 visa holders
- Family-based Nonimmigrant Categories - K-1, K-3, Family Unity Programs, or V visa holders
- EAD applicants who have filed for Adjustment of Status
- Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
Affidavit of Support, Form I-864
Form I-864 is used for most family-based immigrants and some employment-based immigrants to show that they have adequate financial support in the United States and will not require government support such as welfare.
The form is a contract between a sponsor and the United States government. It is to be filed by the sponsor. The sponsor must provide documentation showing their income and/or assets. In order to be eligible, the sponsor must be able to show adequate proof that they will be able to provide for their current dependents and the applying immigrant by maintaining the household at 125 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
The following applying immigrants need this form:
- Immediate Relatives of U.S. citizens
- Family-based preference immigrants
- Employment-based preference immigrants (in some cases)