One of the main questions being asked today by foreign nationals living in the United States is whether the change of immigration status has accelerated.
The reality is yes, but not because of changes in the laws, but because there is now greater access to information to achieve this change.
In this article, we will explain step by step how to obtain a change in immigration status, but first, it is necessary to clarify what this concept refers to.
A change in immigration status is a process in which a foreign national in the United States applies to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for lawful permanent resident status in order to obtain a Green Card.
In order for a foreign national to be eligible to obtain a Green Card, he or she must be physically within the United States, have an immigrant visa, be admissible to the country, and have entered legally.
What are the steps to make a change of immigration status?
To qualify for a change of immigration status, the migrant must complete the following steps:
Verify if you are eligible for a Green Card
In order to make this verification, it is necessary to take into account that the requirements vary according to the category of immigrant in which the person is.
Submit an application in the name of the Green Card applicant.
It is common for individuals to file two forms: an immigrant petition and a Green Card application.
Usually, someone files a petition about the migrant. This is known as “asking a person”. To do so, there are three common types of forms:
- Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative)
- Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Employment with a Business)
- Form I-730 (refugee or asylee relative petition).
- Check if visas are available.
On the official website of the Department of State, there is a visa bulletin that is important to check. But not all categories require such availability.
File Form I-485
This is the form that can be filed by a foreign national who is in the U.S. and wants to make a change of immigration status.
Go to Application Assistance Center appointment
After filing Form I-485, the applicant will be notified of the date of his or her appointment at an Application Assistance Center to submit his or her fingerprints, photograph, and signature.
Waiting for a USCIS interview
Whether or not the alien receives notice of a USCIS interview is a matter for the State to decide based on all of the information previously provided. If you obtain the appointment, you will be required to answer questions before the officers under oath.
Afterwards, the USCIS may ask for additional proof that the applicant is telling the truth.
Once all of the above steps are completed, the applicant may check his or her status by calling the USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283. When calling, you must have the case number, date of birth and the person’s name.
When USCIS approves or disapproves the application, the applicant will receive a written notice with information about the decision.
Can the change of immigration status process be enabled by paying?
On this question, it should be clarified that the USCIS has a flat fee for most immigration groups. However, there are people who do not have to make this payment:
- – Children who have entered the country through the orphan program or the Hague adoption program.
- – Iraqi and Afghan special immigrants.
- – Afghan nationals (until September 30, 2023 only)
– Permanent residents returning to the country.
- – Spouses or fiancées of U.S. citizens. This is the basic information about obtaining a Green Card, and knowing each of these steps is what can really speed up the process. But what about the students?
How to apply for a Green Card as a student in the U.S.
Since students generally enter the U.S. on an F-1 visa, let’s review how to move from that status to resident status.
To convert from an F-1 visa to a Green Card, you must file a Form I-485, and go through the above process. However, this form must be attached to a petition, i.e., a Form I-130 or I-140, which must be sent together with the I-485.
At Lingua Language Center, we offer English classes to people who are already in the United States or who want to come to spend some time studying English. However, we clarify these points because we know they are of interest to some of our students.