Changes and Extensions of Status

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Changes and Extensions of Status Happen

For all of us, plans can shift unexpectedly when something happens to make us change course or change our mind about our goals and plans. This can require changes and extensions of status for your immigration case.

Sometimes a non-U.S. citizen comes to the United States on a temporary, or nonimmigrant visa, with intentions to remain here for a limited period of time. At some point, circumstances in their life may change and they decide to extend their stay or change the type of visa they are on. If, for example, you entered the U.S. on an au pair visa and decide to stay as a student or fiancé, you will need to change your visa status accordingly. No matter the details of your circumstances, there probably is an applicable USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) form you can use. This application needs to be submitted before your old status expires, however.

Immigrant Status Terminology Explained

Everyone who enters the United States comes in with either immigrant or nonimmigrant status.

Nonimmigrant Status

Nonimmigrant status is for those who plan to stay only temporarily and have plans to return to their home country—for example a student, temporary worker, or tourist. These people usually have strong family or financial ties to their home country. If they appear to have the intention to stay permanently, their nonimmigrant visa application could be denied.

Immigrant Status

Immigrant status is for people whose plan is to make the United States their permanent home. Attaining immigrant status can take a long time and be confusing, and it’s best to use the services of an immigration attorney to navigate the complex USCIS processes and requirements. This category includes permanent residents, resident aliens, and green card holders.

A green card is also known as a permanent resident card. It is a legal government-issued U.S. identity document which shows that the holder has lawful permanent residency. After holding their green cards for one to five years, an immigrant may be eligible for U.S. citizenship if he or she meets all of the requirements.

What is the Difference Between an Adjustment of Status and A Change of Status?

With an adjustment of status an immigrant can apply to change their status without returning to their home country if they have been either admitted or paroled into the United States. Being paroled into the United States means you were physically allowed to enter but are not considered to have entered legally. If you are an immigrant who is already in the United States, would like to remain here, and can maintain a valid immigration status for the next 2.5 years, you may be able to apply for an adjustment of status to allow you to remain legally.

A change of status is when you originally entered the United States lawfully on a nonimmigrant visa and later decide to change your visa category because something about your circumstances has changed.

What is An Extension of Stay?

If you are lawfully in the United States, you can request an extension of your visa to continue the activities for which you were originally admitted, such as work or studies. This application must be submitted before your current status expires, however. If there is a gap between valid stays, it will involve more paperwork and expense and possibly affect your approval.

Extension of Petition Validity

This form is often submitted with an Extension of Stay request. Priority is given to people who have previously had requests approved if their circumstances remain the same.

Cost of an Extension of Status

The costs of applying for extensions or changes of status can vary depending on your circumstances. It’s best to consult an attorney for advice on the exact forms you will need and the costs associated with them.

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The Importance of Hiring an Immigration Lawyer

Navigating the immigration process can be overwhelming and confusing. Mistakes can set your paperwork back for months, if not more. An experienced immigration lawyer can make all the difference. We know the paperwork required regardless of your particular circumstances and understand what the USCIS is looking for during interviews. In the event of any denials, your immigration attorney can step in as your advocate and dispute the denial as well as correct any issues and get you back on track to obtaining your green card or citizenship.

The experienced team of immigration law professionals at Siri & Glimstad LLP understands the importance of this process and has the tools and knowledge to guide you through it as efficiently as possible.

At Siri & Glimstad LLP, we have represented thousands of clients in immigration matters. Our motto is simple – Dedication, Efficiency, and Commitment to the end goal.

We also handle other types of immigration cases including:

If you or a loved one need help with any issues concerning immigration, please contact us by filling in the form or call us directly at 212-532-1091. Hablamos español.

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