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Adjusting immigration status years after entry

Immigrants who have been living in Florida on an expired visitor's visa for many years may be wondering if it's possible to file for a green card. Even though they may be married to a U.S. citizen or have other grounds for a valid green card, they may hesitate to apply due to their overstay in the country. However, there is a process by which people who entered on a visitor visa can receive a green card.

The process, known as adjustment of status, can include an interview inside the United States. An individual is eligible to adjust their status if they are the spouse or immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, the unmarried child under 21 of a U.S. citizen or the parent of a U.S. citizen. One must also have entered the country legally on some form of valid visa. Those who entered on C or D nonimmigrant visas, on a K (fiance) visa but married someone else or as a transit without visa at the airport are excluded.

In addition, immigrants can apply to adjust their status in other categories as well. Those who are applying based on a status as a refugee or asylum seeker, who qualify as a victim of domestic violence or are applying based on employment and have not overstayed for more than six months can also adjust their status. For undocumented immigrants to whom the 245i grandfather clause applies, adjustment of status can also be possible.

People who are out of status on their current visa and would like to apply for adjustment of status or seek permanent residency can speak with an immigration attorney. A lawyer can provide advice and representation on navigating the regulations and pathways of the U.S. immigration system.

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