Adjustment of status is the process by which someone who has been lawfully admitted to the United States – even if they are currently out of status – applies to become a lawful permanent resident of the United States, or a “green card” holder. They must have an immediate relative who can petition for them, i.e. a U.S. citizen spouse or parent; or they must have a U.S. citizen child over the age of 21. In every case, the petitioner must demonstrate they are financially able to support the beneficiary. If the application is based upon marriage, they must demonstrate their marriage was entered into in good faith, i.e., that it is “bona fide”, and not a “sham” marriage. If the interviewing officer has doubts regarding the validity of the marriage, the parties will be subjected to a second interview, known as a “Stokes” interview, where they will be separately questioned, in depth, about their marriage.
If the beneficiary of the petition has any criminal convictions, or any prior immigration history – especially prior deportation or removal proceedings – the person should consult a qualified immigration attorney to determine if they are in fact eligible to adjust their status. If the application is denied, the person will almost certainly be placed into deportation-removal proceedings. Our firm has helped many individuals to adjust their status, even those with complicated immigration histories, or criminal convictions. We will prepare you for, and accompany you to, your interview.