Immigrants who are already residing on US ground can generally apply for a green card, without leaving the country. This is generally done through a status adjustment procedure also called AOS. Is this a procedure open to everyone? Find out by reading the following immigration lawyer tips below:
This is not for everyone
The adjustment of status procedure is mainly open to people who not only are eligible for green cards, but are currently residing on US ground on an unexpired visa. A few other conditions ask that the people in question have not worked illegally, and have not spent time out of lawful status. Depending on their current visa or immigration status, some people are legally required to leave US ground and to attend an interview in a local consulate in their own home country.
For instance, if you are in the United States with an expired visa, then you are definitely not eligible to apply for adjustment of status.
What is there to do if the visa is about to expire? If you feel you are not 100% ready to apply for AOS, and you cannot fit into any exception, you can apply for an extension of visa.
Are there any exceptions allowing applicants with expired visas to adjust status? As with any law, there are some exceptions involved.
People who are immediate relatives of an US citizen- spouse, parents, minor children. This is not valid though, if you have entered the US without a visa or any authorized form of entry.
Immigrants who qualify under Section 245- an older law. Normally, these people have had a visa petition or labor certification filed on their behalf by January 14, 1998; or by having been physically present in the United States on December 21, 2000 and had a visa petition or labor certification on file by April 30, 2001.
Immigrants applying for green cards on employment basis, who have spent more than 180 days out of status.
It will be tough to figure out whether you fit into one of these exceptions, and basically this would depend on more details that you may not have access to. This is why it is wise to consult an experienced immigration attorney. They may be able to explain the risks involved in staying on an expired visa – these can range from status application rejection to removal and even a ten year bar on returning.