Green cards for family members already in the US


Adjustment of Status is an option for individuals who are already in the US, had a lawful entry (i.e. entered with some type of visa and were lawfully inspected at the border or Port of Entry), and have a qualifying US citizen relative who can petition for them. This process does not require “Consular Processing” at a US embassy or consulate abroad and allows the applicant to move from nonimmigrant status to permanent resident status without leaving the US. At the end of the process, they will receive a green card which gives them travel and work authorization in the US.

As long as the applicant did not have immigrant intent when they originally entered the US and is not inadmissible for any other reason (e.g. criminal history), she and her US citizen petitioner (spouse, parent, or child) can apply for her permanent residency through a one-step process with USCIS. An interview to determine the applicant’s eligibility and to verify the relationship between the petitioner and beneficiary will be scheduled at the USCIS field office nearest the applicant’s home. 

Adjustment of Status applicants can apply for temporary work and travel permits (Employment Authorization Document and Advance Parole travel document) in conjunction with their green card application. A “combo card” that is valid for one year will be issued once these applications are approved, which will authorize employment and international travel while the Adjustment of Status petition is pending. These temporary documents can be renewed if the case has not been adjudicated by the time they expire.

The process varies slightly dependent on whether the applicant is a spouse, parent, or child of the petitioner. Here are some tips on how to apply.