Adjustment of Status for Immediate Relatives

Learn more about Public Charge Simplified, our streamlined green card application service for immediate relatives of current U.S. citizens!

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Learn More About Public Charge Simplified 

What is it?

Public Charge Simplified is a new service that can help certain adjustment of status applicants fill out and submit their paperwork both faster and easier than they would if they went through the normal drawn-out process.

The key element of this service is a streamlined approach to the final step in the process: the I-944 form that was recently added to the application.

While the requirements in Form I-944 would normally complicate most new adjustment of status cases, our approach allows applicants to fulfill this requirement in a quick and efficient manner.

Who’s eligible?

Only individuals who meet a few specific criteria are eligible for Public Charge Simplified.

Thus, the scope of representation is limited, and clients who choose to file using this service must meet the following qualifications:

  • The petitioner is a U.S. citizen.
  • The petitioner has no history, charges, or convictions for crimes related to sex or sex-related offenses.
  • The petitioner has an annual household income of at least $40,000, or otherwise meets the minimum income requirements specified in the Public Charge Simplified service agreement.
  • The applicant is an immigrant to the U.S. and is the spouse, parent, or child under the age of 21 of the petitioner.
  • The applicant has no misdemeanor or felony charges or convictions.
  • The applicant has never received government benefits of any kind.
  • The applicant currently has (or can obtain) health insurance.
  • The applicant was inspected, admitted, or paroled upon entry to the U.S.
  • The applicant is not currently, and has never been, in removal or deportation proceedings.
  • The applicant did not enter the U.S. with a J visa.

Individuals who do not meet these qualifications are not eligible for Public Charge Simplified.

What do I gain by choosing this method?

Recent events in the political and judicial worlds have greatly increased the difficulty of applying for and receiving a green card through the normal immediate relative petition process.

These events specifically disqualify certain applicants from gaining permanent residency status in the U.S. due to certain elements of their past and the likelihood that the applicant will become a public charge.

The culmination of these events is the new Form I-944, which has become a requirement for all green card petitions, and which, quite frankly, is an incredibly long and expensive document to fill out.

Public Charge Simplified can streamline the process by automating certain repetitive aspects of the application, thus helping our attorneys strengthen your application by letting them focus only on the most important details.

Individuals who qualify for Public Charge Simplified receive the same professional care that our clients have come to expect from our firm, while also saving money and speeding up their application by helping our attorneys prove, in an automated and streamlined manner, that the applicant is unlikely to become a public charge.

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Meet the Attorney Behind the Legal Jargon 

Jacob graduated from the University of Richmond School of Law and was accepted to the Virginia Bar in 2012. Less than 30 days later, he launched his own legal practice.

What began in Jacob’s home office has quickly grown to a practice of multiple attorneys and staff which serves thousands of clients both in the Commonwealth of Virginia and throughout the world.

Jacob primarily focuses on immigration cases, and he has personally handled more than one thousand immigration matters in his last several years of practicing law, ranging from family-based green card applications to deportation defense, immigrant rights litigation, and business immigration.

Additionally, Jacob helps various local businesses and non-profit organizations with issues ranging from branding and marketing to trademark registration, business organization, corporate management, and contractual matters.

On top of his role as the managing partner at Tingen & Williams, Jacob also co-owns and manages Utah Global Investments, an EB-5 regional center based in Provo, Utah.

Finally, Jacob teaches an Immigrant Rights Practicum as adjunct faculty at the University of Richmond School of Law.

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How Does it Work?

Let’s start with an example. Adjustment of status applications generally require proof that an individual entered the country lawfully. So, attorneys will often make a short list of documents based on the I-485 form instructions that can help them prove that their client lawfully entered the U.S. 

Documents such as the I-94, stamps of legal entry in the client’s passport, and other such forms of evidence can all help an attorney make the case that their client meets the legal requirements for adjustment of status applications.

Public Charge Simplified is a service based on the idea that we can simplify your adjustment of status process by standardizing the evidence and types of cases we take.

This allows us to give a laser-focus to the types of issues that are likely to come up in your adjustment of status application, and make the entire process easier for you.

Specifically, we are looking for a certain set of adjustment of status applicants who meet the “who qualifies” criteria listed above.

We’re also looking to help clients by standardizing the evidence requirements of the new, and overly complicated, I-944 form.

In this way, Public Charge Simplified lets us help our clients fill out and submit Forms I-130, I-485, I-864, and I-944 (among others) online while also saving them significant time, money, and stress.

We feel this streamlined approach also increases your chances of success.

We’ll outline each section of the application below, but please keep in mind that this is far from a comprehensive guide on the matter.

Only an attorney well-versed in current immigration law who has reviewed your case can give you legal advice on your specific legal matter.

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I-130 + I-485 Joint Petition Requirements: The Basic Process

All family-based applications for an adjustment of status (green card) start with Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.

If the applicant is outside the country they will file form DS-260 with their local U.S. consulate and go through a long and complicated process to receive their U.S. green card.

However, if the applicant is currently living inside the country they can file their I-130 petition and I-485 application concurrently.

Further, if the applicant is the immediate relative (spouse, child, or parent) of a U.S. citizen there is no wait time for this concurrent application (i.e. you can file as soon as you have all your paperwork together).

It’s important to note that in order for the applicant to be eligible for an adjustment of status, they must be present in the country with a lawful entry, meaning they must have been inspected, admitted, or paroled at a U.S. port of entry.

Visa overstays are fine as long as they originally entered the country legally.

If the applicant is the spouse of the petitioner you must also submit the supplement Form I-130A.

This form basically provides further proof that the marriage is valid under current U.S. immigration laws.

It’s common for spouses in this situation to also submit I-765, Application for Employment Authorization to receive an EAD document, thus allowing them to work while USCIS finishes processing the application paperwork.

Returning to the base Form I-130, you must submit additional evidence with with your application that can help prove the petitioning spouse’s relationship to the applicant.

The evidence for the I-130 application is rather simple, and shouldn’t take too long to get together.

The applicant just has to submit basic information about themselves (name, birthday, address, etc…) and provide evidence supporting their relationship with the petitioner.

As a quick look at what you’ll need based on your relationship:

  • Petitioning for a Parent: “I am a U.S. citizen, here is my birth certificate that lists the applicant as one of my parents.”
  • Petitioning for a Child: “I am a U.S. citizen, here is my child’s birth certificate that lists me as the parent.”
  • Petitioning for a Spouse: This can be a bit harder, as you’ll need evidence of a bona fide marriage, which could include affidavits, financial commingling, or even birth certificates of children, just to give a few examples.

(Please note, children born in the marriage are not required to qualify for the Public Charge Simplified process.)

It’s also usually wise to review the instructions for the I-130 for more details on the evidence requirements.

Much like the I-130, the evidence for the I-485 is rather simple except for the public charge requirements.

Basically, you’ll need to submit Form I-864 and the new Form I-944 as evidence for your I-485 to prove you won’t become a public charge (as outlined in the next two sections)

For the I-485 you’ll also need certain identification documents as specified on the Department of State website.

Some documents that are valid in your home country will not count as valid identification in the U.S., so you’ll want to double check that your specific document is of an acceptable type.

You’ll need a government-issued photo ID, a passport-style photo, and a medical exam from a USCIS-approved doctor, among other pieces of evidence that may specific to your case.

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I-864 Requirements: The General Supplemental Form Explained

The I-864 is a supplemental form that family-based immigrants are required to use to show they have adequate means of financial support, and are thus not likely to rely on the U.S. government for support (i.e. to show they are unlikely to become a public charge).

It is a strictly financial form that requires certain supporting documentation such as your tax and financial records.

Generally speaking, the most important requirement this form proves is that the petitioning spouse makes at least 125% of the federal poverty guideline (roughly $25,000) per year.

Note that due to recent changes in the public charge guidelines, our Public Charge Simplified service requires an income of at least $40,000 in the most recent tax year, as well as your tax records for the past three years.

Additionally, it’s important that you get tax transcripts, not just copies of the tax forms you filed with the IRS.

While these forms were acceptable in previous years, the new guidelines recommend that you get tax transcripts directly from the IRS.

If the applicant is the spouse of the petitioner, and they filed their taxes jointly, you must make sure that the applicant spouse’s income was legal in nature (i.e. that they worked using a valid work permit).

If the applicant spouse had work authorization then you should include their income on your Form I-864. However, if your spouse did not have work authorization then you should not include their income on this form.

Finally, if the spouses filed jointly and the spouse has no work authorization, then the petitioning spouse needs $40,000 or a joint sponsor to be eligible for our Public Charge Simplified service.

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I-944 and Public Charge Simplified: A Modern Solution to a New and Evolving Problem

The I-944 is a new, additional supplemental form filed separately by the immigrant applicant to help prove that they are unlikely to become a public charge at any point in the future.

Put simply, the I-944 is a massive hurdle for immigrant applicants due to the immense restrictions it places on immigrant applicants.

Public Charge Simplified’s whole point is to streamline these restrictions in a way that allows certain applicants to gather the necessary documentation for their applications.

Specifically, applicants must gather:

  • Tax transcripts for taxes filed in the U.S., if applicable.
  • Evidence of additional income and all of your significant assets (home, car, bank accounts, etc…).
  • Evidence of all liabilities and debts.
  • A copy of your credit report and score (if you already have a U.S. social security number).
  • Information about education and employable skills (including any diplomas and a copy of your up to date resumé).
  • Evidence of English language skills.
  • If you filed your taxes with a foreign government you should include your most recent year of tax returns.
  • You should also include any foreign assets such as foreign bank accounts and any property you own overseas.

Additionally, the applicant must have never received government benefits (whether federal, state, or local) such as SNAP benefits, TANF, Section 8 housing, or any of the other benefits listed on the USCIS website.

Note that certain benefits, such as disaster relief and government-subsidized student loans, are excluded from this list.

Finally, our firm requires that all applicants who file under our Public Charge Simplified have verifiable health insurance that we can send in as additional evidence with their application.

Applicants who meet these requirements and can get this documentation together, should experience a much smoother adjustment of status application process.

Tingen & Williams

1801 Bayberry Court
Suite 203
Richmond, VA 23226
P: (804) 477-1720
F: (804) 505-0997