Adjustment of Status Guide
Many people enter the U.S. on temporary visitor visas. However, these only last a few months.
Holders must move on to another country or go home before they expire.
Adjustment of status is a legal process that eliminates the need to leave the U.S. while allowing eligible lawful visa holders to become permanent residents.
Adjustment of status can be helpful if you want to stay longer or have family in the U.S.
It is also useful for reducing travel costs or remaining at your current address.
Who is Eligible for Adjustment of Status?
Not everyone is eligible for adjustment of status, you must be eligible for a green card.
Even if you have a valid non-immigrant visa, you may still be denied.
Here are green card eligibility categories in the U.S.:
Green Card Through Family
You may be able to obtain a green card if you are an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident such as a spouse, a spouse’s child, or a widow(er).
Officials will also consider applications from victims of battery or extreme cruelty by relatives who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.
Green Card Through Employment
Immigrant workers may also apply for green card status. “First preference” workers are those with extraordinary talents in the arts, sciences, education, business, or athletics as well as professors, researchers, or senior business figures.
Second-preference workers are those with advanced degrees and evidence of exceptional abilities, while third-preference workers are those with substantial skills and experience.
Green Card As A Special Immigrant
You can also obtain a green card as a special immigrant.
USCIS provides these to religious workers, certain Iraq Afghanistan nations, international broadcasters, or employees of various international organizations, including NATO.
Green Card through Other Categories
Finally, there are some other minor categories of individuals who are eligible for green cards.
- Green Card through Registry
- Green Card for Abuse Victims
- Green Card for Human Trafficking and Crime Victims
- Green Card through Refugee or Asylee Status
- Some American Indians born in Canada.
Who is not Eligible for Adjustment Of Status?
Some groups are not eligible for adjustment of status. These include those on:
- Temporary protected status (TPS)
- Deferred enforced departure (DED)
Officials reserve these statuses for individuals fleeing natural disasters in their home countries.
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How To Apply For Adjustment Of Status
Overwhelmed by paperwork and convoluted steps? Don’t worry – we got you covered! We’ll be exploring all the details that go into applying for adjustment of status so that you can make informed decisions about taking on this important step in your immigration journey.
Step 1: Complete the required forms
Depending on your status and circumstances, you need to complete various forms to apply for adjustment of status and to obtain a green card.
Forms you may need to complete include:
- Form I-485 – Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
- Form I-130 – Petition for Alien Relative (for those applying for a new status based on a family relationship)
- Form I-765 – Application for Employment Authorization (for those requiring a work permit)
- Form I-134 – Affidavit Of Support (for those who do not have a qualifying relative who can offer financial support)
Your attorney will tell you which forms you need, based on your status. You may need to pay various filing fees, depending on the forms you need to file. USCIS lists prices on its website, or you can ask us directly what you need to do.
Step 2: File your Adjustment of Status forms
The next step is filing. Where you file your application depends on your location. You can find filing addresses on the USCIS website or from us.
Step 3: Interview
After filing your application, USCIS will schedule an interview with you. Officials will ask you about your application and require you to provide supporting evidence.
Extra adjustment of status requirements could include:
- Completing a medical examination
- Providing officials with fingerprints or other biometrics
- Giving evidence of financial support, either independently or through a qualifying relative
Any additional documentation the USCIS requests depends on your status and circumstances. Immigration attorneys can advise you on what to provide before you begin your application.
Step 4: USCIS Makes a Decision on Your Application
If the USCIS grants your application, you will gain permanent residency and a green card. This document gives you the right to remain in the country for as long as you wish. You can work, travel, and move freely. If they deny it, you may need to leave the country before your visa runs out or apply for a different type of visa.
How To Expedite Adjustment Of Status
Acquiring permanent residency and a green card can take a long time. However, you can speed up the process by:
- Filing forms as soon as possible
- Submitting your application early when you have plenty of time to spare on your temporary visa
- Paying any expediting fees well in advance
Working with a lawyer will ensure all evidence and forms you submit are completed accurately and correctly. If there are any mistakes in your application, you risk a delay in your processing or even a denial.
Adjustment Of Status Checklist
- Contact an immigration attorney to assist with your application
- Determine adjustment of status eligibility
- Submit forms I-485, I-130, I-765, and I-134 and complete your adjustment of status application. As part of this process, you must:
- Demonstrate lawful status in the U.S. (by showing an existing, in-date temporary visa)
- Prove your relationship with your sponsor (if you need one)
- Submit to a medical examination (if required)
- Provide biometrics to USCIS officials (if required)
- Pay the document processing fees
- Wait for USCIS officials to accept or deny your application
What happens if the USCIS denies my green card application?
Green card denial seems like the end of the road. However, it is not always the case. Working with an immigration lawyer can help you find out the reason for the rejection, including errors made by the USCIS. In some cases you may be able to file a motion or an appeal after a denial. An experienced immigration can tell you if you’re eligible.
How many green card applications are approved?
The USCIS approves approximately 88 percent of green card applications. However, it denies a significant fraction, meaning it is critical to work with an experienced immigration attorney.
What should I do if I am considering adjusting my status?
If you are considering adjusting your status, you should speak with an immigration attorney. They will tell you if you are eligible and how you should apply to maximize your chances of success.
If you are considering going through adjustment of status, contact Warren Law Firm today
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