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Adjustment of Status

Dealing with an adjustment of status can be complicated, but the Do Law Office may be able to help you. Contact us today for a consultation!

What Is Adjustment of Status? 

Adjustment of Status refers to a process through which individuals physically present in the United States can apply for a green card. An adjusted status allows you to acquire a green card without returning to your home country to complete the visa process.

To adjust your status, you should be in the US and submit Form I-485 (AOS Application). A foreign national who intends to apply for a green card outside the US has to obtain a valid visa in their home country via consular processing.

Completing Form I-485 can become a complex process that a trusted naturalization lawyer can make easier.

Who Qualifies for Adjustment of Status?

Only eligible immigrants can apply to register for permanent residence. To qualify, the applicants should fit into one of the eight green card eligibility categories listed by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The following options are available to immigrants seeking to adjust their status or obtain permanent residence:


Family Based Option

Certain family members such as a spouse, unmarried child below the age of 21, and parent of a US citizen who is aged at least 21 years are categorized as immediate relatives and may apply through a US citizen.

Other relatives of a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident can also apply through family-based preference categories. An unmarried child aged 21 or above, a married child or siblings of a United States citizen who is 21 years or older can apply for a green card through an American citizen. Family members of a lawful permanent resident, such as spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 or older, are also eligible to apply.

The fiancé of a US citizen may also apply for a family-based green card.

Employment-Based Option

The USCIS recognizes immigrant workers of first, second, or third preference who are required to meet the criteria spelled out on the USCIS website.

First preference workers include aliens with extraordinary ability in science, arts, education, business, or athletics; outstanding professors or researchers; and selected multinational executives and managers.

The second preference includes holders of advanced degrees, individuals with exceptional ability, and those seeking a national interest waiver.

Third preference workers are skilled workers, professionals, and unskilled workers.

Physicians working full-time in clinical practice in designated underserved areas and immigrant investors are also eligible.



Special Immigrants

Special immigrant juveniles who have been abandoned and abused by a parent and require the protection of a juvenile court are eligible to complete the green card application.

Other qualified immigrants are religious workers, Afghanistan or Iraq nationals employed by the US government, international broadcasters, and retired employees of an eligible international organization subject to the fulfillment of certain criteria.


Refugee/Asylee Status

Asylum seekers and refugees granted asylum status or admitted into the US one year ago can also apply for a green card.

Other eligible categories include green cards through:

  • Human trafficking and crime victims
  • Victims of abuse
  • Through other categories, such as certain Liberian and Cuban nationals.

Eligibility, Application, and Common Scenarios

Understanding the eligibility criteria for adjustment of status is the first step in a complex journey. Applicants must fall into one of the specified categories, such as family-based or employment-based applicants, refugees, or asylees. The application process itself is multifaceted, beginning with the pivotal Form I-485, and often necessitates navigating through a labyrinth of documentation and legal requirements.

A common scenario involves individuals on a nonimmigrant visa, such as students or workers, transitioning to permanent residency. This process is fraught with challenges, including maintaining lawful status throughout the application period and ensuring all paperwork, including proof of eligibility and admissibility, is impeccably filed. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the processing time for an adjustment of status application can vary significantly, influenced by factors such as the applicant’s category and the current workload of the USCIS.

Moreover, applicants must be prepared for the biometrics appointment and the subsequent interview, which are crucial steps that can significantly impact the outcome. It’s not uncommon for applicants to face requests for additional evidence or to navigate complex issues related to inadmissibility grounds, such as prior immigration violations or health-related concerns.

In this intricate process, the assistance of a seasoned immigration attorney can be invaluable, offering guidance through the eligibility assessment, the meticulous preparation of the application packet, and the anticipation of potential hurdles. With professional support, applicants can enhance their chances of a favorable decision, turning the dream of permanent residency into reality.

Who Cannot File for Adjustment of Status?

Inadmissibility grounds may disqualify a person from becoming a legal permanent resident.

They include health-related grounds, criminal grounds, security grounds, immigration law violations, and other miscellaneous grounds.

Aliens may also be barred from adjustment if they have engaged in unauthorized employment or do not have a lawful status when filing an adjustment of status application.

If you have concerns about how your situation might affect your adjustment of status process, you can get an immigration and personal injury lawyer to help you understand your options.

Adjustment of Status Process

An immigrant who intends to become a recipient of a green card in the US has to follow the process described below:

  • File an immigration petition and Form I-485. Usually, someone else files the immigration petition for the person seeking to adjust their status. In most cases, the immigration petition is required to be approved before Form I-485 can be filed.
  • Check the visa availability of your category. Generally, Form I-485 is only filed once the visa is available. There are exceptions to this requirement.
  • File Form I-485 (adjustment application) either with USCIS or a visa application with the US Department of State after the approval of your immigration petition and confirmation of the visa availability for your category.
  • The next step is the biometrics appointment, where you must provide fingerprints, photos, and a signature.
  • Go for the interview. Applicants have to be present at the adjustment of status interview when contacted by the immigration service and are required to carry all the original supporting documents for the interview. The interview will take place at the local USCIS office, where the immigration officer will decide on the application.
  • Provide additional evidence, if required by the USCIS officer.
  • Finally, you will receive a decision on your green card application.

If the USCIS approves your application, your green card will be mailed to you within thirty days of receiving the approval letter.

Aliens who are unsure of their immigration status or require assistance with immigration laws such as Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) should contact a deportation defense Lawyer.

Adjustment of Status Checklist

An individual generally requires the following documents to complete a green card application.

  • Form I-485
  • Two passport-style photographs
  • A copy of a government-issued identity document along with a photo
  • A copy of your birth certificate
  • Inspection and admission or parole documentation
  • I-94 Number (DHS Arrival/Departure Record)
  • A Waiver of Inadmissibility (if applicable)
  • A copy of the Employment Authorization Document (if applicable)
  • A job offer letter (in case you are applying for an employment-based green card)
  • Documentation of your immigrant category
  • Form I-797, approval receipt of nonimmigrant visa
  • Form I-693, medical examination results (if necessary)
  • A marriage certificate (if applying for a marriage green card)

How Long Does It Take for Adjustment of Status?

The time taken to process an adjustment of status includes the time from receipt to completion.

The length depends on various factors, including the category of green card, the time taken to submit biometrics, the response time of the applicant, and the scheduling of interviews.

The processing time for Form I-485 applications is generally 8-14 months though longer wait times have also been reported. However, several factors can impact the processing time, including the number of applications, categories of adjustment, or requests received.

Processing times also depend on the USCIS service center processing the application. Complicated cases may require additional adjudicative time.

Getting Your Status Adjusted With the Help of the Do Law Office

An error in filing your own application could derail the entire process, costing you time and money.

Having our firm handle your application means you can be confident that it will be submitted correctly the first time. We understand all the forms you need to fill out and the entire process. In the course of your adjustment of status, you can count on us to be by your side every step of the way.

If you need assistance with your adjustment of status, the Do Law Office can help you in the following ways:

  • Determining the appropriate immigrant category for your nonimmigrant status adjustment.
  • Preparing the necessary immigration forms and checking the availability of your visa.
  • We will assist you in filling out and filing the forms correctly.
  • Answering USCIS queries and preparing you for upcoming USCIS interviews and appointments.
  • Assisting you with appeals in case your application has been denied.

If you have questions about adjusting your status, acquiring a temporary visa, visa availability, or visa waiver, an Atlanta family immigration lawyer can help. Call us today!

Contact Us


4500 Satellite Blvd.
Suite 1160
Duluth, GA 30096


Tel: 678-224-8940
Fax: 678-224-8967

4500 Satellite Blvd Ste 1160

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