Adjustment of Immigration Status: Proving’Admission’ or 245(i) Eligibility

Being able to adjust your immigration status, or getting a green card, in the United States has its advantages because most applicants have already established a life here through family or work. However, you may not have this option if, at any time between your arrival and petition, you’lost’ your status. You can lose or fall out of status by working here without employment authorization or letting your visa expire. If you have fallen out of status, you may nevertheless adjust your status, but not in the United States. The process of leaving the country and having your petition adjudicated outside the United States is known as consular processing.

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Just Married! Tying the Knot with a U.S. Citizen Does Not Guarantee a Green Card

The process of being sponsored by a spouse who is a U.S. citizen, and petitioning for the other’s adjustment of status in the U.S., may not be the most expedient way to obtain a green card for your spouse. Because a large part of the United States’ immigration system is designed to maintain family unity, various ways exist to adjust one’s status through marriage or family-sponsored visas. There is a conditional visa. Before the conditional visa expires, you must petition to remove the condition and prove your marriage is valid.

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The Fianc'(e) Visa

This article covers the requirements for obtaining a U.S. visa when you are engaged to an American citizen. If you are engaged to a non-U.S. citizen (or you are a non-U.S. citizen engaged to a citizen) and you both want to live together in the United States, you or your fianc'(e) will need to get a Non-immigrant Fianc'(e) Visa from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office. The basic procedure is as follows.

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I am a U.S. citizen engaged to a foreigner. How can I bring him/her to the U.S.?

If you are a U.S. citizen who is engaged to a foreigner, you can file a K-1 fiancée petition with the USCIS in order to bring your fiancée into the United States legally. In the petition, you, as a U.S. citizen, must document that you and your fiancée have met in person within the prior two years. The regulations regarding the K-1 fiancée petition, i.e. the need to prove when you last saw your fiancée in person and when the wedding will take place.

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I am illegally in the United States but entered the U.S. legally. I have just married a U.S. citizen. How do I apply for my green card?

For a person illegally in the United States, but who entered the U.S. legally / married a U.S. citizen, this article discusses your green card options. After you get married, the U.S. citizen spouse must file with the INS an I-130 Relative Petition for you, together with the I-485 application for permanent residence. You can also apply for an employment authorization card. Depending on the INS workload, an interview will be scheduled anywhere from six months to more than one year from the time the application is filed.

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Flaws in Family-Based Immigration Laws Causing Prolonged Separations

The Legal Immigration Family Equity Act, or the LIFE Act, established a new non-immigrant category, or V-visa, within family immigration law that allowed the spouse or child of a U.S. lawful permanent resident (LPR) to live and work in the United States in a non-immigrant category. The spouse or child could remain in the United States while they waited until they were able to apply for lawful permanent residence status (also known as adjusting status), or for an immigrant visa.

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I am a U.S. citizen, but my spouse is not. Our daughter was born outside the United States and I want her to be a U.S. citizen. What are the citizenship requirements for her?

The citizenship requirements for your daughter to become a U.S. citizen will depend on factors such as when she was born and the time you have spent within the U.S. If your daughter was born after November 14, 1986, you will have to be able to demonstrate that you, as a U.S. citizen, were physically present in the United States for at least 5 years after you attained age 14 and prior to your daughter’s birth.

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