If an individual is inside the United States and is married to a United States Citizen then they may be eligible to apply for lawful permanent resident status, commonly known as a green card. The process of going from a non-immigrant status to that of a lawful permanent resident is known as “adjustment of status.” By becoming a lawful permanent resident, one can live legally inside the United States, have full work authorization, and it starts them on the path to United States Citizenship.
The main requirements for adjustment of status under this scenario are that the individual must have entered the United States legally and should otherwise be found admissible to the United States. The most common grounds of inadmissibility include past criminal convictions or U.S. immigration violations. However, even if one entered the United States without being inspected by a US immigration officer upon entry or has a criminal record, they still might be able to become a lawful permanent resident by applying for certain waivers or even by being grandfathered in under old laws.
If one appears eligible to apply for adjustment of status then they can apply for an interim work authorization card which will provide them full work authorization while they wait for their case to be processed. In some cases, an individual can also apply for permission to travel too.
Of course if you are married to a United States Citizen and are currently outside of the United States, you can become a lawful permanent resident. However that process is different, is not known as adjustment of status, and will be a topic of another article.
If you are married to a United States citizen and would like to know if you are eligible to apply for lawful permanent resident status then please contact our office for a review of the specific facts of your case