Did you enter the country on a visa? Now that you are living in Colorado, do you want to remain in the United States? You may be able to do so if you receive permanent residency, also referred to as an adjustment of status or applying for a green card.
You may qualify for a green card, but first you must meet certain criteria to begin the application process. Generally, you must have entered the country legally, reside here and have a current visa. Additional requirements apply, and in order to know what those may be, you must determine under what category you will be applying.
Do you have family in the United States?
Your eligibility to apply for a green card may be due to one of the following familial relationships with a U.S. citizen or permanent resident:
- A U.S. citizen’s or permanent resident’s spouse or child under the age of 21
- A 21-year-old U.S. citizen’s parent
- A 21-year-old U.S. citizen’s sibling
- A U.S. citizen’s or permanent resident’s unmarried child over the age of 21
- A U.S. citizen’s married child
- A U.S. citizen’s future spouse
- The child of a U.S. citizen’s future spouse
- A U.S. citizen’s widow or widower
You may also meet the family threshold if you are a spouse, parent or child under 21 who suffered abuse at the hands of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
Do you work in the United States?
If you came to this country through your employment, you may be able to stay because of it if you fall into one of the following categories:
- A first, second or third preference immigrant worker
- A doctor with a national interest waiver
- An immigrant investor
If you are unsure whether you fall under a first, second or third preference, an immigration attorney should be able to help you determine that.
Do you have some special immigrant status?
You may be able to apply for a green card if you fall into one the following special categories:
- A special immigrant juvenile
- A religious worker
- An international broadcaster
- An employee, or family member of an employee, of an international organization
- A NATO-6 employee, or family member of an employee
- An Iraqi or Afghan translator serving the United States
- An Afghan working for the International Security Assistance Force
- An Iraqi or Afghan working for the U.S. in Iraq for at least one year on or after March 20, 2003
Diplomats may qualify under other categories. If you are a diplomat and do not fall under the above categories, an immigration attorney may be able to help you.
Do you fall into one of these other categories?
You may have entered the country in another manner and under different circumstances that fall into one of the following categories:
- A refugee for one year
- A human trafficking victim with a T non-immigrant visa
- An asylee for one year
- A victim of crime with a U non-immigrant visa
Several other programs and categories may allow you to apply for a green card. If you cannot find a category into which you fit in this article, this does not necessarily mean that you cannot apply. Adjusting your status in this country can be a complex process.
To help ensure that you receive the best opportunity possible to obtain a green card, you may want to discuss your circumstances with an immigration attorney. The more smoothly the process goes for you, the less stress, frustration and trepidation you may experience as you take the next step toward becoming a citizen.