When I come to the USA by visitor visa, after some time, can I apply for permanent residence to stay in America forever?

Are you in the USA by a visitor visa? Do you have plans to live in America forever? Have you been wondering whether you could apply for the permanent residence visa? If your answer is yes, then this article can tell you what you should do to get your Permanent Residence (PR) status or Green Card.

As per the US immigration law, a temporary visitor, for instance, a tourist or a student can become a permanent resident of the US provided he/she has entered the country through a legal process, and the required conditions are met. There are two ways in which you can obtain your immigrant visa – through Adjustment of Status (AOS) process and by consular processing.

permanent residency in america
When I come to the USA by visitor visa, after some time, can I apply for permanent residence to stay in America forever?

Adjustment of Status (AOS) Process

The process called Adjustment of Status helps the non-immigrants to get their immigrant visa.

Eligibility Criteria for applying for permanent residency in USA:

There are three fundamental conditions to be met for you to apply for adjustment of status.

  1. The applicant must be physically present inside the US when the application for AOS is filed, and the whole process takes place inside the US only.
  2. The applicant should have entered the US only through a legitimate or lawful process.
  3. The applicant must have an approved form I-130 petition and in certain cases, the additional petition for Alien Relative and a visa number as well.

All the above requirements are to be met throughout the AOS process, which means the applicant is required to maintain eligibility until the process is completed. AOS is generally available for a certain group of people only. If you are not eligible to get your PR status through the AOS process, then you could apply through consular processing.

permanent residency in america

Consular Processing

Consular processing is the other way of applying for an immigrant visa, especially when you are outside the US or if you do not have the eligibility for adjustment of status. In this process, you can file your application through a US Embassy or a foreign country’s consulate.

AOS vs. Consular Processing: 

Usually, the process of adjustment of status takes a longer time, typically 8 to 14 months, when compared to the consular processing. However, it has the advantage that the applicant remains inside the US during the process. It also allows the individual to live and work in the US. The applicant may even travel outside the country through additional authorization.

If your AOS application gets rejected, you can challenge the same through administrative and judicial appellate. However, the decisions taken by the consular processing are final towards your permanent residence application.


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