What Is An Adjustment Of Status: The Process & Eligibility

It’s an aspiration for many to gain permanent residency in the United States. However, obtaining a Green Card is not an automatic process. If you’re looking to acquire it, one of the things you can do is apply for an Adjustment of Status.

What exactly is it, and how do you go about it? To understand it better, it’s crucial to consult with a seasoned immigration lawyer for your needs.

Reunite With Friends And Loved Ones Initiating Adjustment Of Status In The United States

What Is An Adjustment Of Status?

An Adjustment of Status is a part of the Green Card application process when you are in the United States. With it, you can apply for permanent residency without returning to your home country. The timeline for application and approval typically ranges from one to three years. However, if an applicant is outside the United States, they would need to go through consular processing to obtain their Green Card.

Your Eligibility Requirements

Like many things in the application process, there are certain requirements that you need to meet. The following will guide you on the Adjustment of Status requirements that you should prepare.

  • Physical Presence: Be physically present within the United States during the application process.
  • Eligibility Criteria: Maintain eligibility throughout the application and approval process. 
  • Legal Entry: Entry into the country should have been through legal means. You should have valid documentation and interaction with a U.S. immigration officer.
  • A Clean History: Ensure you have not been involved in unlawful activity.
  • No Existing Removal Proceedings: The applicant should not be facing pending removal (deportation) charges.
  • A K-1 Fiancé Visa: If the applicant entered on a K-1 Fiancé Visa, they must be married to the U.S. citizen who sponsored their petition.

Adjustment of Status allows eligible individuals to transition to permanent resident status without leaving the United States. It is a streamlined pathway to obtaining a Green Card. However, there are various procedures a petitioner must take. Thus, it is important to seek help from a skilled immigration attorney to ensure you don’t miss any necessary steps.

The Application Process

Adjustment of Status involves several application steps. Take note that this is merely an overview. In reality, it may be more complex based on your circumstances.

  • Legal Assistance: Looking for an immigration lawyer is crucial. One will guide you through the complex application process. This ensures accuracy in the information and evidence that you provide.
  • Eligibility Assessment: It’s vital to determine if you meet the eligibility criteria for a Green Card application. An assessment will consider factors like legal entry and criminal history, among others.
  • Immigrant Petition: A sponsoring family member or employer must petition for your stay by filing Form I-130. This petition establishes the basis for your Green Card application.
  • Visa Availability Check: There may be annual limits to the Visa categories that you’re applying for. It’s best to check for the availability of slots and plan accordingly.
  • Form I-485 Submission: Filing Form I-485 officially signals your intent to adjust your status to that of a permanent resident.
  • Biometrics Appointment: You must attend a biometrics appointment at the Application Support Center. Here, they will take your fingerprints and photographs.
  • USCIS Interview: As part of the application process, it may be necessary to attend an interview with USCIS. You may have to discuss the details of your petition with them.
  • Additional Evidence: If the USCIS requests further evidence or clarification, you will need to compile and submit the necessary documents.
  • Case Monitoring: Regularly checking the status of your application is important. The USCIS usually provides online tools to help petitioners track their progress.
  • Decision Notification: After the USCIS review, you’ll receive an official decision regarding your status change. Once you get approval, you’ll become a lawful permanent resident.

Take note that each step will make or break your application to become a lawful permanent resident. Seeking legal assistance, adhering to procedural requirements, and submitting accurate documentation are essential for a smooth journey toward obtaining a Green Card. With one, you can permanently stay in the United States.

Biometric Appointment And Timeline

After submitting your application, you can anticipate receiving a notification from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regarding an appointment for a biometric screening. This appointment involves a swift process to capture your photograph, fingerprints, and signature. It helps facilitate a mandatory criminal background check, which is essential to evaluating your application.

After several months, you should expect to hear from USCIS, this time for an interview. In some instances, they might also request the presence of the family member who initiated Form I-130. USCIS will inform you of the interview’s details, such as the date, time, and location. For specific cases, USCIS has the authority to waive interviews.

During the process, USCIS verifies the accuracy of the information provided in both the petition and the adjustment application. It allows them to assess whether any alterations in circumstances could render you ineligible.

Authorization To Work And Travel

While applying for an Adjustment of Status, can you work in the United States and travel outside? The answer is yes, but with a few limitations. Thanks to certain provisions, candidates still have access to these rights.

For one, immigrants seeking to adjust their status can acquire a work permit. They may also travel in and out of the country with an advance parole. An advance parole is a document that permits them to travel back to the United States without an additional Visa.

For Employment Authorization, individuals adjusting their status using Form I-485 can apply for a work permit using Form I-765. Filing Form I-765 concurrently with Form I-485 is possible to expedite the process.

This benefit is typically granted within about three to six months, and the authorization card is usually valid for one year and renewable if needed. Notably, the USCIS does not require fees for employment authorization if filed together with Form I-485.

Meanwhile, those adjusting their status can apply for advance parole travel authorization or Form I-131 if they intend to travel outside the United States. However, you should secure this travel document before leaving the country.

Leaving the United States without the proper advance parole documentation could result in potential application abandonment. It may also result in difficulty reentering the country. While having advance parole facilitates travel, admission into the United States remains subject to standard inspection procedures at the port of entry.

Seek Help From An Immigration Lawyer

An immigration attorney for the Adjustment of Status process can greatly enhance the chances of success. Look at why you should consider legal counsel for your application process.

Knowledge And Guidance On The Matter

Immigration attorneys have experience in the intricacies of U.S. immigration law. They will handle your case accurately and efficiently.

Attorneys provide clear guidance on your eligibility. They also handle documentation and procedural requirements, reducing the risk of errors.

Also, you need to be accurate in your application. Minor mistakes can lead to application denials. You can minimize errors with the help of attorneys to give your application a better chance.

Strategies For Cases That May Be Too Complex

If your case involves complexities such as criminal history or prior Visa issues, your lawyer will guide you through these hurdles. Attorneys customize strategies based on your specific circumstances, optimizing your chances for approval.

Efficiency In Handling Your Case

Attorneys manage paperwork, submission timelines, and communication with USCIS, streamlining the process.

Interview Preparation

If an interview is necessary, attorneys prepare you thoroughly, ensuring you’re confident and ready. During this time, USCIS may also request additional information. An attorney can help you work through them.

Peace Of Mind

With your case in capable hands, you will worry less about your application. Your chances of getting favorable results will substantially increase with the help of an experienced lawyer.

An immigration attorney’s knowledge, strategies, and unwavering support significantly increase your likelihood of approval. With one at your side, you can pave the way to finally obtaining a Green Card.

Seek Help From An Immigration Lawyer At Lozano Law Firm

The team at Lozano Law Firm is dedicated to guiding immigrants to permanent residency. They firmly believe that immigrants should be able to obtain legal status in the United States. The firm’s immigration lawyers stay committed to using their legal experience to assist immigrants. With their help, you can secure legal rights to remain in the country for good.


One of the paths to gaining permanent residency in the United States involves an Adjustment of Status application. This allows applicants to get a Green Card without leaving the country. After filing the form, they must also go through biometrics checking and an interview with the USCIS. The application may seem daunting, but an immigration attorney can make it less so.

While applying, candidates can work and travel through work permits and advance parole. Filing Form I-765 with Form I-485 enables employment authorization in three to six months. Meanwhile, Form I-131 facilitates travel authorization. Legal guidance, eligibility confirmation, and accurate documentation are crucial for a successful application. With the help of an immigration attorney, candidates have a better chance of obtaining a Green Card.

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