For those currently staying in the United States through the family preference visa program, it may be possible to seek an adjustment of their status. Such an adjustment can allow those only currently staying in the United States to become a lawful permanent resident who holds a Green Card. With a Green Card, you can stay indefinitely in the United States and seek work here, despite not entering the country via a work visa.

Provided that you already have a specific family relationship with a citizen of the United States, whether they are your parents, your spouse, your siblings or your child, you may be eligible to apply for an adjustment of your status after entry into the United States through a family-based immigration visa if you meet certain criteria.

You have to submit specific paperwork and pass a review of your request

Usually, the first step for adjustment of your status and eligibility for a Green Card will involve the submission of specific immigration paperwork. You will need to complete and file form I-485, also known as the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. You have to be in the United States at the time that you file form I-485.

You also need to meet all of the criteria to receive an immigrant visa. Typically, you will need to demonstrate that you went through an inspection for admission prior to entry in the United States. Additionally, you must affirm that you still have an existing relationship with a citizen or lawful permanent resident.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will also review information ranging from reports on any criminal record you have domestically or abroad to the likelihood you present of becoming a public charge.

Certain circumstances may bar you from an adjustment of status

There are situations in which the USCIS will likely not approve a request to adjust your status. These include illegal entry into the United States or other violations of immigration law. However, even if the USCIS declines to adjust your status or finds that you are inadmissible to the United States, other options may still exist.

The exact situation that leads to your immigration request, the issue that complicates your application and the relationship you have with someone living in the United States will all influence what rights and choices you have as an immigrant.