The U.S. government provides immigrants in certain situations the ability to file what is known as an adjustment of status. A previous blog post gives a brief explanation of how this can help people become permanent residents. However, there are things that people should educate themselves on, concerning this process, before they apply.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services points out that people may only be able to file for a status adjustment if they are working for an American employer, they have a family member who is a permanent resident or a U.S. citizen, they qualify as a special immigrant, they are a refugee, they are part of a humanitarian program or they are seeking asylum.
Even if people fit into a classification eligible for adjustment of status, they should make sure that there is a visa available for the category they fit in first. If there is not one, the USCIS states that people will not be able to file their application, known as Form I-485. The agency uses charts to determine when people can file. If people were born in Mexico, the Philippines, mainland China or India, they will need to carefully check the date under the header for that country to see if they are eligible.
For example, if someone was born in Mexico and a F1 visa petition was filed by a family member on or before April 1, 1995, then that person can now file the adjustment of status application. A person whose employer applied for a third final action date, and who was not born in one of those four countries, could apply during this month only if the action was taken on or before Oct 1, 2015.