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Green Card Eligibility to Become a Permanent Resident While in the U.S. (Adjust Status)

Green Card - Adjusting to Permanent Resident Status

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You may be eligible to apply to adjust to permanent resident status (to obtain a Green Card) if you are already in the United States and:

  • You have already been approved for an immigrant visa petition and you also have an immigrant visa number available from the State Department.  Immigrant visa petitions are usually filed by a close relative or an employer.  Visa numbers are limited by law every year. This means that even if the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves an immigrant visa petition for you, you may not get an immigrant visa number immediately. In some cases, several years could pass between the time USCIS approves your immigrant visa petition and the State Department gives you an immigrant visa number. For information on filing immigrant visa petitions and obtaining an immigrant visa number, also see:

  • A visa number may be immediately available for you if USCIS approves an immigrant visa petition for you. There is no limit on the number of immigrant visas available each year for certain categories of people, such as the immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and certain special immigrants. This means that if the USCIS approves an application for you to become an immigrant, the State Department will immediately give you an immigrant visa number. In these cases, you may apply to adjust to permanent resident status (and obtain a Green Card) at the same time that an application is filed for you to become an immigrant.

    Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens are parents, husbands, wives, and unmarried children under 21. For instance, you can apply to adjust to permanent resident status to obtain a Green Card at the same time that your U.S. citizen daughter files an application for you to become an immigrant. Other immigrant petitions that would fall under this category include special immigrant juvenile and special immigrant military petitions. For information on filing these immigrant visa petitions and obtaining an immigrant visa number, also see:

There may be other reasons that you are eligible for adjustment to permanent resident status to obtain a Green Card. Please see USCIS Form I-485 for more complete information.


You may be ineligible for adjustment to permanent resident status if:

  • You entered the U.S. while you were in transit to another country without obtaining a visa.

  • You entered the U.S. while you were a nonimmigrant crewman. A nonimmigrant is a foreign national seeking to temporarily enter the United States for a specific purpose.

  • You were not admitted or paroled into the United States after being inspected by a U.S. Immigration inspector.

  • You are employed in the United States without USCIS authorization or you are no longer legally in the country (except through no fault of your own or for some technical reason). This rule does not apply to you if:

    • You are the immediate relative of a U.S. citizen (parent, spouse, or unmarried child under 21 years old).

    • A K-1 fiancé or the child of K-2 fiancé who married the U.S. citizen who petitioned for you within 90 days of being admitted to the country.

    • Certain foreign medical graduates, international organization employees and family members.

  • You are a J-1 or J-2 exchange visitor who must comply with the two-year foreign residence requirement, and you have not met or been granted a waiver for this requirement.

  • You have an A (diplomatic status), E (treaty trader or investor) or G (representative to international organization) nonimmigrant status, or have an occupation that would allow you have this status. This rule will not apply to you if you complete USCIS Form I-508 (I-508F for French nationals) to waive diplomatic rights, privileges and immunities. If you are an A or G nonimmigrant, you must also submit USCIS Form I-566.

  • You were admitted to Guam as a visitor under the Guam Visa Waiver Program.

  • You were admitted into the United States as a visitor under the Visa Waiver Pilot Program. This rule does not apply to you if you are the immediate relative of a U.S. citizen (parent, spouse, or unmarried child under 21.).

  • You are already a conditional permanent resident (conditional Green Card holder).

  • You were admitted as a K-1 fiancé but did not marry the U.S. citizen who filed the petition for you. Or, you were admitted as the K-2 child of a fiancé and your parent did not marry the U.S. citizen who filed the petition for you.

There may be other reasons that you are ineligible for adjustment to permanent resident status. Please see USCIS Form I-485 for more complete information.

For more information, return to: Green Card: Become a Permanent Resident While in the U.S. (Adjust Status)

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