Getting a visa means that someone can legally enter and remain in the United States subject to specific restrictions. However, visas eventually expire. Many visas are eligible for renewal, which means that a visa holder can submit paperwork to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to extend their stay in the United States when their visa initially expires. Still, many visas are only eligible for renewal once.
Therefore, those who want to remain in the United States may need to seek alternate solutions to make their continued presence in the country legal if their green card eligibility has been compromised or is running out. Obtaining a green card makes someone a lawful permanent resident and removes many conditions on their stay. Those with a green card can potentially stay in the United States for the rest of their life, provided that they continue to qualify. They will have more freedom regarding economic activity and more opportunities to help loved ones legally enter the country as well.
Determining whether an applicant qualifies for a green card
Not every immigrant can adjust their status to secure a green card. Those already living in the country usually need to have either an individual or a business willing to cooperate with them during the adjustment of status process. They will either need to establish that they have a familial relationship with a permanent resident or citizen of the United States or meet certain criteria related to their employment or possibly their background. Those who qualify for refugee or asylee status can sometimes obtain green cards.
Restrictions on travel are among the important rules that immigrants will need to follow if they hope to remain in the United States permanently as a green card holder. Those who travel right before adjusting their status may not meet requirements. The entire process of adjusting one’s status will usually take more than half a year and can easily require two years or more to complete.
Knowing the requirements that must be met to adjust one’s status can potentially help those who have a temporary right to live in the United States change their situation and become permanent residents.