Q. I have Temporary Protected Status (TPS) right now since I am from El Salvador, but I just got married to a U.S. citizen. I would like to know what is the next step in order to obtain my green card? -Maria Tobar

April 20, 2012 | Adjustment of Status, Family Petition, Temporary Protected Status

A. If you entered legally, you qualify to adjust status, that is, interview here. Your husband can petition for you and in the same envelope, you can submit your application for permanent residence.

If you entered the United States without speaking to an immigration officer, you have two possibilities. You can travel home with what immigration calls “advanced parole,” and then apply to adjust status. Again, that means interviewing here. However, if you were here for more than 180 days unlawfully before filing for TPS, and you travel abroad, even with advanced parole, you may need an “unlawful presence” waiver as a condition of getting LPR status. A recent case may affect this.  I think that a recent Board of Immigration Appeals decision may end the need for the waiver in cases where TPS holders travel with advance parole.  I will address this in the future.  The other possibility if you entered without inspection is to apply for your waiver here (the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will soon allow that) and then travel home for your green card.

No matter how you proceed, you must prove that you and your spouse are in a real or bona fide marriage, and not simply a marriage of convenience to obtain LPR status. If USCIS is satisfied with your evidence of a bona fide family relationship, you can get permanent residence.

I think that applying for adjustment of status is the best course. That’s true even if that means first traveling abroad with advanced parole.

Once you can show a lawful entry, either prior to your getting TPS or after traveling with advanced parole, you then file USCIS Forms I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, signed by your husband; I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status; I-325A, Biographic Information, one each for you and your husband; I-864, Affidavit of Support; I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record; and if you want employment authorization, Form I-765, Application for Work Authorization. If you need the waiver, you will file form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility at your interview.

Consult an immigration attorney if you need further guidance in completing the forms and gathering documentary evidence to support your application. Good luck!