US Immigration Question

I have a friend who was brought by his parents to the US when he was 17. Apparently, he had legal status when he came to the US, but he does not have legal status now.

His parents both have green cards. He has a younger sibling who is a US citizen and is over 21. And his older siblings have status because they married US citizens.

I’ve said I would look into his immigration issues and try to help him. I’m not an immigration lawyer, but I’m going to try to help him prepare everything, so that when we do go hire an immigration lawyer, we can minimize the money he has to spend. So, I’m not looking for legal advice here.

But, he has told me that he went to see an immigration lawyer seven years ago, and the lawyer told him that he could not file for a green card based on either his mom or dad’s status or his younger brother’s status.

Which, in poking around on the INS website, doesn’t make sense to me. The only thing I can think of is that possibly there’s some rule that’s impacting him because he’s in-country?

If you just want to link to something, I’ll go read it. You don’t have to answer the question. But I’m trying to determine if there’s some rule about being in-country which affects your ability to file for something like F2B.


How old is he now? aka how long ago was he brought to the US at age 17?

I think he’s in his 30s.

How old was he when his parents got their green cards?

And what country was he brought from? F2B applications depend, in part, on certain limits for the country of origin. For citizens of Mexico, India, or The Phillipines, for example, the line can stretch years.

I believe he was over 21. Apparently, his mom got her green card seven years ago. I’m not sure about the Dad, though. But in my cursory glance at the INS website, it looks to me like if he had filed as soon as his mom got the green card, he’d be coming up for a green card pretty soon. Which is why I’m not understanding this.

He’s not from one of the listed categories of countries.

Well, that is good news. The backlog is decades for those from China, Mexico, The Philippines, or India. If I’m reading the visa bulletin right, for people not from those for countries the wait for an F2B visa is only about 7 years now. Yeah, they are currently processing applications that were submitted in May 2009.
USCIS does list information on applying for a green card while in the United States so it must be possible for at least some people.

The basic steps…

  1. His relative with a green card needs to file an I-130 to start the process.
  2. Once the I-130 is filed then he awaits his priority date.
  3. Once the priority date arrives he files for adjustment of status with form I-485.
    But I do not know if that assumes his presence in the United States is through a visa status that is still current. THAT is what the immigration lawyer may have been talking about. Perhaps our resident visa expert Eva Luna will drop in a bit later.

Found a brief article that seems on point.

Generally it says you are required to be in current status with your visa to apply for a green card, but there are a few exceptions.

Cool! Thanks. That explained a lot. I’ll be able to go search on this issue now.

But, if anyone has other info, keep it coming. Thanks.