Adjustment of status is the process through which an individual applies for permanent residence while physically present in the United States. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) permits the adjustment of an individual's immigration status while in the United States from nonimmigrant (temporary) to immigrant (permanent) if the individual was inspected and admitted or paroled into the United States and is able to meet all required qualifications for permanent in a particular category.
Most immigrants become eligible for permanent residence through a petition filed on their behalf by a family member or employer. However, others become permanent residents through first obtaining refugee or asylum status, or through a number of other special provisions.
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
VAWA allow battered spouses, children, and parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents to file a petition to adjust status for themselves, without the abuser’s knowledge. The abuse must have taken place in the United States and the abused must be able to demonstrate that you possess good moral character. Parents of abused children may file for their them and abused spouses may include their children on their petition.
Section 13 Green Card for Diplomats
Section 13 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) of September 11, 1957 was created by Congress to allow individuals who entered the United States with diplomatic status to obtain permanent residence. In order to be eligible for permanent residency under Section 13, the following must be established:
1) The Applicant entered the United States as an A-1, A-2, G-1, or G-2 nonimmigrant;
2) The Applicant failed to maintain his or her A-1, A-2, G-1, or G-2 nonimmigrant status;
3) The Applicant’s duties were diplomatic or semi-diplomatic;
4) There is a compelling reason why the Applicant or the Applicant’s immediate family cannot return to the country which accredited the Applicant as a diplomat;
5) The Applicant is a person of good moral character;
6) The Applicant is admissible to the United States for permanent residence; and
7) Granting the Applicant a green card would be in the national interest of the United States.
With a pending Form I-485, it is possible to apply for authorization to work in the United States and to seek advance parole (advance permission to travel and be admitted to the United States upon your return).
Due to a recent change in the law, the spouses, children, and parents of active-duty members of the armed forces, reservists (including the National Guard), and all veterans are eligible for a “parole in place,” which means that they will be authorized to remain in the United States and can proceed with applications for legal residency.
To learn more about the unique immigration benefits available to military families read our blog post entitled "Special Benefits Available to Immigrants in Military Families"
The Jay Treaty
The Jay Treaty, negotiated between the United States and Great Britain in 1794 gave Canadians with a 50% Native bloodline the right to freely cross the border and remain in the United States. Congress has codified the relevant Jay Treaty provisions into U.S. immigration law as Section 289 of the INA.
Those that qualify can apply for permanent resident cards upon entering the country. Such individuals cannot be denied admission to the United States, are exempt from removal, and eligible for federally-funded public benefits. However, spouses and children of qualified individuals are not covered by the treaty.