Complete Guide to Adjustment of Status for Child Over 21


The Adjustment of the Status process is a way for a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident to petition for the permanent residency of their family member.

Who Requires a Family-Based Adjustment of Status?


The family-based adjustment of status is a process by which an individual’s legal status in the United States is altered based on his or her relationship with a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. To be eligible for this type of adjustment, the individual must have an immigrant visa immediately available to them and must have been lawfully admitted to the United States as a permanent resident.

Adjustment of status is a way to get a green card without leaving the United States. The beneficiary must currently be in the United States to apply for adjustment of status.

They can also apply for an immigrant visa abroad and then enter the U.S. as a permanent resident, but this process typically takes longer than applying for an adjustment of status.

If you need assistance obtaining a status adjustment for a child over age 21, an immigration lawyer Austin Texas, such as Michael G. Murray, P.A, may be able to help. Reach out today to learn more.

Who Qualifies to Adjust Status?

The person applying for an adjustment of status must meet one of the following qualifications:

  • Been inspected and admitted or paroled into the U.S.
  • Been granted asylum by an authorized officer at the port of entry
  • Be a refugee who has already been admitted to the U.S.
  • Had Temporary Protected Status (TPS) conferred upon them by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
  • Had Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) conferred upon them by USCIS

If your son or daughter is pursuing an immigrant visa, you should contact the National Visa Center for information about children applicants seeking lawful permanent residency.

You should also consider hiring a reputable law firm experienced in the family-based immigration process with whom to build an attorney-client relationship.


What Are the Three Types of Family-Based Adjustments?

There are three types of family-based adjustments for legal permanent residents: immediate relative, family preference categories, and special immigrant visas (SIVs).

Immediate relative adjustments are those granted to:

  • Spouses
  • Unmarried children under 21 years of age
  • Parents of U.S. citizens who are over 21 years old

Family preference category adjustments are made for spouses and unmarried children over 21 years old who meet certain criteria such as having been in the country. SIVs are available for those foreign nationals who aided the U.S. government.

Can a U.S. Citizen Petition for a Child Over 21?


If you are a U.S. citizen, you can petition for your child who is over 21 if they are still unmarried, financially dependent on you, and living with you in the United States. An Experienced Visa Lawyer like Michael G. Murray can explain the complicated immigration laws and help a legal permanent resident to seek status changes for their immediate relatives.


How Does a Permanent Resident Petition for Child Over 21?


A Permanent Resident Petition is filed on behalf of a child who has reached the age of 21 and who is still residing in the United States. The child must be unmarried, have resided in the US for at least five years, and be able to show that he or she would suffer extreme hardship if not allowed to remain in America.

There are two ways to file a petition:

  1. If the child lives outside the US, then he or she may file this form with a US consular office abroad
  2. If living inside the United States, then he or she may file this form with USCIS

Immigrant visa applications for lawful permanent residency can be confusing and the rules for changing a permanent resident status can depend on the immigrant status and the child’s age. Before filing a visa petition, contact a skilled attorney experienced with processing immigrant visa applications for advice.


Do Children Need an I-485?

An I-485 is a form that is filed when an individual wants to become a permanent resident. It is also called an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. It must be filed at a USCIS service center to change one’s immigration status.

The I-485 is not required for an unmarried child who is under the age of 18. It is, however, recommended that they fill out form I-539. This will allow them to work in the United States temporarily.

Can a Green Card Holder Sponsor a Child Over 21?


Although adult sons and daughters are not considered immediate relatives, a United States citizen or a green card holder can sponsor them for a Family-Based Green Card. This is done by filing a Form I-130, also known as a Petition for Alien Relative.

The process of getting a Green Card for an adult child is therefore considerably longer than for children under the age of 21. When filing a change of status application, you should contact a qualified lawyer who can determine the child’s eligibility and help with the immigration process.

What Is Permanent Resident Filing for Child Over 21 Processing Time?


The USCIS will process the filed permanent resident petition for a child over 21 within two to three months. Immigration law is complex and, since an immigration visa is a necessary document for legal permanent residents, it is wise to consult with a knowledgable law firm.

When an applicant seeks immigration benefits for their family members, they must understand the laws regarding lawful permanent residents. Failing to follow the law because of ignorance of the rules could have dire consequences. To remain eligible as green card holders, one must abide by the law.

Contacting an attorney for ongoing advice and advocacy can be instrumental for immigration purposes.


Should You Hire an Immigration Attorney for Changing Status?

Many immigration attorneys offer legal services for changing immigration status. The hiring of an immigration attorney depends on what type of status is being applied for.

There are several aspects that a foreign national or citizen parent should consider. The person should look at their financial situation and decide if they can afford a Naturalization & Citizenship Lawyer, or whether they would rather attempt to do it themselves to try to save money.

Unfortunately, being thrifty can sometimes result in costly mistakes, such as missing the visa availability date, etc. Before visiting the USCIS office for an immigrant petition, contact Michael G. Murray, P.A.