Serving Clients in Houston, West Houston, Southwest Houston, Sugar Land, Katy, Copperfield, Memorial, Spring, Northwest Houston, Northchase, Spring Cypress, Champion Forest, The Woodlands, Kingwood, Humble, Lake Houston, Midtown, Memorial, West Oaks, Royal Oaks, Clear Lake, League City, Westchase Business District, Harris County, and Galveston County.






When an Experienced Immigration Attorney Matters!


Adjustment of Status (Green Card Application)

There are only a few basic ways in which a person may change status from a non-immigrant, or non-permanent resident, into a permanent resident of the U.S. and obtain a green card.  The two most common methods in which a person may obtain a green card and become a permanent resident is either because of family relationship with the sponsor through I-130 petition or employment relationship with the sponsoring employer through I-140 Petition.  In addition, a person may also apply for permanent residency through “self-petition.”  Self-petition does not imply that the foreign national should apply for adjustment of status by himself, but it implies that the person does not need a sponsor and may apply based on his or her own status, either as a refugee, asylee (those that entered the U.S. and obtained an asylum status), or a “Special Immigrant” such as T-Visa holders as victims of trafficking, U visa holders as victims of crime, spousal abuse victims under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), or as a “Ward,” through I-360 Petition.  A ward is a minor in which the Court requires the protection and guidance of a court appointed guardian. 

To qualify for Adjustment of Status, our Houston Green Card Application Attorneys and our Houston Green Card Lawyers must show that:

  1. The applicant is qualified to adjust his or her status based on one of the above categories, family-based immigrant petition, employment-based immigrant petition, or as an asylee, refugee, or a special immigrant;


  3. A Visa must be immediately available for such applicant.  Some family-based immigrant petitions (I-130) and employment-based immigrant petitions require a awaiting period (retrogression) before a visa is available.  In such case, the foreign national may not file an application for adjustment of status (I-485) until a visa is available for such person;

  4. The applicant must not be an “unlawful alien” who overstayed his visa status for 180 days or more, or if the person entered the U.S. “without inspection,” (also known as “illegal” or “EWI”).  Also, a person that has been ordered to appear in immigration court by issuance of a “Notice to Appear” or “NTA” for removal proceedings, may not adjust their status with the USCIS.  Such person must appear and apply with the Immigration Judge.  Further, foreign nationals who entered the U.S. without inspection, regardless of whether such person is currently in removal proceedings, must file for an immigrant visa through consular processing in their home country, once the I-130 Petition or the I-140 Petition has been approved.  In addition, through filing for an immigrant visa with the U.S. Consular Office abroad, the person may be required to file a I-601 Extreme Hardship Waiver contemporaneously (at the same time.) Please see below or call the Houston I-601 Waiver Attorneys or the Houston Extreme Hardship Waiver Lawyers at the Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham for more information;


  6. There has not been a change of circumstance in the person’s application or qualifications that would change the applicant’s qualifications, such as the death of the sponsoring spouse or that the employee is no longer employed by the sponsor employer;

  7. The applicant is not a person categorized under the “statutory bar.”  That is, the person must not fall under one of the categories that are designated by Congress as a person that cannot adjust status as a matter of law.  These include the following:


  • Foreign Nationals who engaged in the unauthorized employment, those who were not in lawful status (overstayed their visa for at least 180 or more), or those who have failed to continuously maintain status for even only one day, are barred from adjustment of status.

  • Those that entered the U.S. under J-1 or J-2 exchanged visitor visas, unless they have filed and received an approved J-Visa waiver from the required return to the applicant’s home country for a period of 1 or 2 years.

  • K-1 finance visa holders who failed to marry their sponsoring “spouse” within the required 90 days, or those that married another U.S. citizen or permanent resident other than the K-1 sponsor.

  • Those that are likely to be a public charge, someone that will most likely be dependent on public assistance.

  • Those that entered the U.S. under a visa waiver pilot program, not to be confused with the visa waiver program of certain privileged countries.

  • Crewmen under D Visa and “Transit Persons” who do not possess a visa.

  • Those that are currently in removal proceedings

  • Those that are a removable alien under the INA, such as those that committed an aggravated felony or a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT).


Immigration Law is a vast area of law and every situation is unique.  You should NOT rely on the limited information on this general site in replacing a personal consultation with an experienced Houston Immigration Lawyer.  There may be legal issues, depending on the facts and circumstances, in which you may not be aware. Call the U.S. Asylum Application Attorneys and the Spring Asylum Lawyers at the Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham today at 713-517-6645 or complete our Contact Form