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Immigration Lawyer / Immigration Attorney


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Jeff Goldman - Green Card Immigration Lawyer

Jeff Goldman – Green Card Immigration Lawyer

Immigration Attorney Jeff Goldman can help you with green card and form I-485 legal issues. 

UPDATE – Please Note: In September of 2017, a recent change in the
Foreign Affairs Manual may impact the law and explanation on this page.
We will provide more information as it becomes available.

Just click on the links below, or scroll down the page for more information about Adjustment of Status (green card) process-


Introduction to Adjustment of Status / Green Card Applications

If you are currently in the United States and meet certain eligibility requirements, you may become a Green Card Holder/Lawful Permanent Resident. This process is called Adjustment of Status. After you apply, even before you become an Green Card Holder/Lawful Permanent Resident, you may obtain an Employment Authorization Document and may be eligible to travel overseas.

There are many advantages to having a Green Card. As a green card holder, you are permitted to work indefinitely and you can bring family members to the United States. Your green card can be taken away if you do certain things, for example, live outside of the US for too long or commit a crime.

However, for most green card holders, you may begin the Naturalization process after five years if you have successfully maintained your LPR/Green Card status.


What is Adjustment of Status?

Adjustment of Status is changing status from a temporary visa holder to a green card holder/lawful permanent residence without ever having to leave the United States.

Example: Juan from Costa Rica comes to the US to visit on a tourist visa. He meets Sally, a USC and they marry. Juan and Sally probably do not want to be separated while Juan’s green card application is being approved (which could take a year or so), so Juan applies for adjustment of status. Using the adjustment of status process, Juan can stay in the United States while awaiting his green card, so he doesn’t have to be apart from Sally while his case is being processed.


Am I eligible to adjust my status to a green card holder through my spouse??

There are a variety of circumstances under which you are eligible to adjust status. You may be eligible to adjust status through a family petition, an employment petition, refugee status, or other circumstances. Here, we will discuss obtaining a green card through a spouse.

You are eligible to adjust status if:

  1. You are an “immediate relative” of a United States Citizen. This includes husband and wife.
  2. You were lawfully admitted to the United States. You were not lawfully admitted if you crossed without inspection by a border official. (Note: some individuals lawfully admitted to the United States are not eligible to adjust status (Crew-members with D Visas, Exchange Visitors with J Visas, Entry on Transit Without a Visa).
  3. Your USC husband or wife can support you financially (or if not, you have enough assets to supplement his/her income)

However, there are some exceptions. One such exception is that marriage to a US Citizen waives the requirement that you maintained valid immigration status. There are other exceptions as section 245(i) which permits those who entered the US unlawfully to adjust status if a petition was filed before a certain date, or Section 245(k) permits adjustment of persons applying through employment petitions who have fallen out of status temporarily. Call our office to discuss whether you qualify under an exception.


I came on a tourist/student visa, my visa expired and I never left. Can I adjust status to a green card holder?

If you are a spouse of a United States Citizen, then you can still adjust status to a green card holder because marriage to a USC is an exception to the general rule that you have to leave the United States to get a green card, and then re-enter. The fact that you do not have to leave the country makes adjustment of status a great option. For one, you don’t have to separate from your USC spouse for any length of time. Second, and most importantly, there is something called the 3/10 year bar that could stop you from coming back to the United States for a long time once you leave.

Here is how the 3/10 year bar works. If you have been unlawfully (as in you came on a visa and didn’t leave when you were supposed to) in the US for more than 180 days and leave, you are not allowed to re-enter for 3 years. If you have been in the US for more than 1 year and leave, you are not allowed to re-enter. There are pardons (called a waivers in immigration law) to the 3/10 year bar, but the waiver is a process with its own challenges.


I came to the United States and married within days of my arrival, can I still adjust status to a green card holder/lawful permanent resident?

Yes, you are eligible to adjust status to become a green card holder. However, there will be a question of “preconceived intent.” If you file to become an immigrant shortly after arriving on a “non-immigrant” visa, the government might take this to be a sort of bad faith – that is you entered for a temporary stay, but very quickly tried to make your time in the United States permanent.

In other words, the government makes a judgment call of whether you entered the United States with the intent to become a green card holder/lawful permanent resident. If the government finds that your plan all along was to get a green card, then your application might be denied. Be prepared to answer some tough questions.


I am the spouse of a US Citizen, what is the preconceived intent 30/60 day rule, and does it apply to me?

First of all, there is legal precedent that the 30/60 day rule does not apply to the husband or wife of a United States Citizen. Matter of Cavazos. Even though there is legal precedent about the 30/60 rule, you should still keep the 30/60 rule in mind, or at the very least, the concept behind the rule.


What is the 30/60 day rule?

The 30/60 day rule means that if you apply to adjust status to that of a green card holder/lawful permanent resident within 30 days of arrival to the United States, you are presumed to have entered with preconceived intent. In other words, for immigration officials, the starting point is that you entered with preconceived intent/bad faith and you need to prove otherwise.

What if I apply within 60 days of arrival but more than 30?
The 30/60 day rule says that if you apply for your green card/permanent residence in this time period, then you are not presumed to have entered with preconceived intent/bad faith. However, the immigration officer will be suspicious and so be prepared to answer some tough questions about your entry.

Should I wait 90 days to apply for a green card?
If you apply to adjust status to a green card holder through marriage to a US Citizen Spouse after 90 days in the United States, it does not automatically raise suspicion of preconceived intent, but again, it’s good to keep in mind that you did enter on one type of visa, and now you are changing to another, a much more permanent one. You will likely still be asked questions about your intent at the time of entry.


What are other issues that I should think about when applying for a green card/lawful permanent resident through my United States Citizen Spouse?

Fraud or Misrepresentation can be an issue. An example of fraud would be a so called “Sham Marriage.” Misrepresentation happens when for example at the visa interview, you tell an officer that you do not have any family in the United States, when in fact you have three siblings in the United States.

Your “misrepresentation” may come out during a marriage interview with an immigration officer, and such a misrepresentation might stop you from obtaining lawful permanent residence.

Another statement of similar magnitude may cause a problem as well. If this finding is made, you may be eligible for a pardon (in immigration law it’s called a waiver). Waivers for fraud or misrepresentation are outside the scope of this page.


Adjustment of Status / Green Card Process / Form I-485

For adjustment of status through a U.S. Citizen spouse, you will need to prepare Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, Form I-864 Affidavit of Support. Although not required, you should also include Form I-131 Application for Travel Document and Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization.

Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status is an important part of this process, and can be completed with the help of an experienced immigration attorney if necessary.

You then need to gather all supporting documents for the forms. There are many documents, ranging from birth certificates to tax returns. Once everything is prepared, you will send them to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

You and your spouse will then receive notices that the forms and supporting documents were received by USCIS. Your foreign spouse will receive a notice to go to the local USCIS Field Office to give fingerprints. In roughly 90 days, your spouse will receive an employment authorization document and permission to travel.

You will ultimately receive an interview notice. However, it is hard to give a time frame. You and your spouse will then attend your adjustment of status interview at your local USCIS office. If everything goes fine at your interview, you will then receive a green card.



Filing fees for Adjustment of Status

*I-130 Petition – $535 (family based)

*I-485 Application – $1225 (this fee includes Form I-765 – Employment Authorization Document and Form I-131 – Application for Travel Document).

*I-864 Affidavit – USCIS does not require a fee.


Contact Jeff Now to Get Started

Jeff Goldman, Seattle Immigration Attorney

Call Jeff Goldman Today 206-488-9030

Jeff Goldman has a deep commitment to the concerns and problems of immigrants.

He is fully committed to providing legal help for people needing an immigration lawyer or attorney.

Please call our office to discuss your immigration related concerns.

Don’t wait. You can have your case considered by a compassionate and caring lawyer with experience that can help you get past your problems and move forward with your life.

Call Jeff at 206-488-9030,
Use our Contact Form
or E-mail Jeff@JeffGoldmanLaw.com.