Can I apply for Adjustment of Status in Immigration Court?
The ability to file for adjustment of status is a discretionary rather than mandatory relief in immigration court, which means that if you apply, it is not enough for you to demonstrate that you meet all of the eligibility requirements for adjustment and that you are not barred from adjustment by any ground of ineligibility.
The adjudicator must determine that the applicant merits the favorable exercise of discretion, and may deny the application in the exercise of discretion. This form of discretionary relief is available to change your status from a nonimmigrant to a lawful permanent resident with a Green Card.
While most green card applications are filed before someone is placed into Deportation/Removal Proceedings, it can occasionally be used as a defense to deportation while in immigration court. If you have previously been admitted into the United States, you can apply with USCIS for adjustment of status, while aliens in removal proceedings apply before an Immigration Judge.
Several conditions must be met, including that you are admissible for permanent residence and an immigrant visa is immediately available at the time of application. If you qualify for a visa allowing an adjustment of status, a spouse, another family member, or an employer often petitions for it. Certain individuals, including criminals and aliens who fail to appear for proceedings or fail to depart after a grant of voluntary departure, and those who were ordered removed may be ineligible for adjustment of status.
Am I eligible for a Green Card through Adjustment of Status?
There are four basic requirements that you must meet to be eligible for adjustment of status. You must:
- have been inspected and admitted to the United States, or have been paroled into the United States, the most recent time you arrived
- be admissible to the United States, or eligible for a waiver of any applicable grounds of inadmissibility
- have an immigrant visa immediately available to you
- make application for adjustment of status, and if you qualify, the statute provides that adjustment may be granted in the discretion of USCIS
Due to the continued complexity of immigration laws, it is critical to contact a citizenship attorney or immigration lawyer who has extensive specialized knowledge and experience in immigration law.