Simply securing entry into the United States and becoming a legal resident is not an easy process. Generally, in order to secure a visa just to visit the country, you need to go through substantial paperwork and even a background check. Finding a reason to stay in the country can be even harder.

Quite a few people do so by leveraging their family relationships. The United States has several different visa programs that allow people to enter the country when a member of their direct family is either a citizen or a lawful permanent resident of the United States.

If you fall into either of these categories and have already entered the country, you likely have the right to request a Green Card or Permanent Resident Card that will grant you the status of lawful permanent resident if approved. Obtaining a Green Card is a process that starts with requesting the adjustment of your status.

Everything starts by filing a form

Perhaps you hope to secure a job but cannot because of the visa that you currently hold. Maybe you have simply fallen in love with your community and know that this is where you want to live forever. It’s even possible that you need to stay in the United States for your own safety or the protection of your loved ones because of political unrest in your country of origin.

Regardless of why you want to stay, in order to do so, you will need to file Form I-485. From there, you will be subject to scrutiny by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), who do their best to ensure that those who enter the United States and ask to live here permanently will benefit the rest of the country.

Background checks and determining whether or not you have used public assistance programs in recent months will influence the outcome of the situation, as well as other factors. Part of the process will involve an appointment to gather your biometric information, including your fingerprints. Some applicants will also have to go through an interview process before the USCIS makes a final determination on their request for an adjustment of status in their Permanent Resident or Green Card.