Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Change of Status vs. Adjustment of Status

The world of immigration law is full of jargon, and it is very important to use that jargon correctly. One of the most common mistakes I see is the misuse of the term "change of status". A change of status has nothing to with U.S. permanent residence or a "green card". The term refers to a change from one nonimmigrant status to another. For example, someone who enters the U.S. as a B-2 visitor may later decide to attend school in the U.S. That person would need to apply for a change of status from B-2 visitor to F-1 student.

The term "adjustment of status", on the other hand, refers to the process for obtaining U.S. permanent residence (i.e., a "green card") while in the U.S. The person applies to adjust his or her nonimmigrant status to U.S. permanent residence. For example, someone who enters the U.S. as a B-2 visitor may later marry a U.S. citizen and apply for adjustment of status based on that marriage.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Just Say "No"

Prior to the visa interview at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy for an immigrant visa or for a K-1, fiance visa, the applicant must undergo a medical examination with the consular post's panel physician. As part of that medical exam, the applicant will be asked about prior drug and alcohol use, and a blood sample will be taken to test for drugs in the system. If the drug test comes back positive, the visa will be denied, and the applicant will need to wait 3 years before applying again. Thus, it is very important that the applicant have a clean system at the time of the medical exam.

If, after 3 years, the applicant wishes to apply for the visa again, he or she will also need to apply for a waiver of inadmissibility. If the visa application is based on a relationship with a U.S. citizen, either as the spouse or the fiance, the applicant will need to show extreme hardship to the U.S. citizen if the U.S. citizen must (1) live in the applicant's home country in order to be with the applicant; and (2) live in the U.S. without the applicant.