Adjustment Of Status – Knowing Its Process & Eligibility

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The Adjustment of Status (AOS) is crucial for many immigrants. Understanding its process smoothens your journey toward lawful permanent residency. With an immigration lawyer, you can pursue your goal, whether to reunite with family, personal opportunities, or escape persecution. They can guide you through every step with competence and unwavering commitment.

This article will give you an overview of AOS, its eligibility requirements, and the application process. You will also learn about its common pathways and the invaluable legal support you need to achieve success.

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

What Is An Adjustment Of Status?

AOS is a legal process allowing immigrant visa recipients to apply for lawful permanent residency or LPR. You will have the right to live and work permanently in the United States upon its approval. It is available to various categories, such as U.S. citizens’ immediate relatives and family-based sponsorship. It also includes employment-based, diversity visa lottery winners, refugees, and asylees.

The process involves submitting application paperwork to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It includes required forms, supporting documentation, and applicable fees. Once approved, you receive a Green Card, signifying your lawful permanent resident status. It opens many opportunities for you and your family in the United States.

What Are The Eligibility Requirements?

To apply for AOS, you must meet specific requirements. An immigration lawyer can advise if you are eligible. However, if you need some paperwork, they can guide you on what to do or the options to ensure your eligibility. Here’s a breakdown of the main criteria you must fulfill.

  • Physical Presence: You must be physically present within the United States throughout the application process.
  • Eligibility Criteria: Maintain eligibility criteria from the start to the approval of your application.
  • Legal Entry: Entry must have been through legal means, with valid documentation and interaction with a U.S. immigration officer.
  • Clean History: Ensure a clean record without involvement in unlawful activities.
  • No Removal Proceedings: Applicants must not face pending removal (deportation) charges.
  • K-1 Fiancé Visa: If you entered on a K-1 Fiancé Visa, marriage to the sponsoring U.S. citizen is necessary.

A skilled immigration attorney at Lozano Law Firm ensures you fulfill the eligibility requirements. In addition, they can maximize your chances of success and allow you to achieve your immigration goals. Most importantly, you can be reunited with your loved ones, pursue a U.S. career, or live free from persecution.

How To Apply For AOS?

Adjustment of status requires careful attention to detail and adherence to guidelines set forth by the USCIS. You must follow the timeline and paperwork requirements to make the process quicker and more efficient. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to apply.

Check Eligibility

Before the application starts, you must meet the eligibility requirements for AOS. Its criteria vary depending on the immigrant category, such as family and employment-based, diversity visa lottery, refugee, asylee, or other special immigrant categories.

Compile Documentation

Gather all necessary documentation to support your AOS application. It may include the following or any supporting documents, including birth certificates, marriage certificates, or proof of employment. All the paperwork must be accurate and true.

  • Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status).
  • Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative).
  • Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support).
  • Evidence of Eligibility.
  • Biometric Information.
  • Passport-style Photos.

Your immigration lawyer can guide you in gathering these documents. They can also teach you how to prepare and fill them correctly. They focus on this field so they know what pitfalls to avoid, thus streamlining the process.

Complete Forms

Carefully fill out all required forms accurately and completely. Each form has specific instructions, so it’s essential to follow them meticulously to avoid delays or potential denial of your application. An immigration lawyer can help ensure you have the correct paperwork.

Submit Application

Once all forms and supporting documents are compiled, submit your AOS application package to the appropriate USCIS office. Include the required filing fees or request a fee waiver if eligible. The USCIS will review your application to evaluate your eligibility.

Go To Biometrics Appointment

After USCIS receives your application, you must go to your Application Support Center for a biometrics appointment. You must provide fingerprints, photographs, and signatures for background and security checks. Then, you verify your identity by certifying all the information is complete, accurate, and correct.

Attend Interview (If Required)

Depending on your circumstances, USCIS may require you to attend an interview to assess your eligibility further. You must prepare thoroughly by reviewing your application and supporting documents. Also, you must be ready to answer questions about your background, relationship (if applicable), and intentions in the United States.

Receive Decision

After completing all necessary steps, USCIS will adjudicate your AOS application and notify you of their decision. You will receive your Green Card upon its approval, granting you LPR status in the United States. The USCIS will mail it to your official address.

An experienced immigration lawyer can help ensure your AOS application is prepared accurately and efficiently. They know how to avoid any mistakes or omissions in your application that can result in delays or denial. They can also advise you of the correct pathway to take.

What Are The Common Pathways?

AOS offers various pathways for individuals already in the United States to obtain LPR status. Working with an experienced immigration lawyer helps identify the most appropriate option for your circumstances. This way, you can confidently navigate the AOS process’s complexities.

Family-Based Sponsorship

Many individuals apply for AOS through family-based sponsorship. A U.S. citizen or an LPR relative petitions for their family member to obtain a Green Card. Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, including spouses, parents, and unmarried children under 21, have priority in this category.

Employment-Based Sponsorship

Another common pathway for AOS is through employment-based sponsorship. This route is available to individuals with a legal job offer from a U.S. employer. They must qualify under specific employment categories, such as those with extraordinary abilities, multinational executives or managers, and certain skilled workers.

Diversity Visa Lottery Program

The Diversity Visa (DV) lottery program provides a limited number of Green Cards annually. It is for individuals from countries with historically low immigration rates to the United States. DV lottery winners can apply for AOS, provided they meet all eligibility requirements and undergo the necessary background checks.

Refugee Or Asylee Status

Those granted refugee or asylee status in the United States may also be eligible to apply for AOS after meeting specific criteria. This pathway offers protection for those fleeing persecution in their home countries. It also provides a means to obtain lawful permanent resident status.

Special Immigrant Categories

Various special immigrant categories may qualify for AOS. These include religious workers, specific individuals who served in the U.S. armed forces, and other humanitarian programs. Under these categories, careful consideration of eligibility criteria, documentation requirements, and procedural steps is required. 

Is It Possible To Work Or Travel Abroad?

For individuals undergoing the AOS process, the ability to work and travel abroad depends on several factors. It is subject to specific rules and restrictions. Considering these rules helps avoid non-compliance, which can affect your ongoing application.

Work Authorization

Upon filing Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) for AOS, eligible applicants may concurrently apply for employment authorization. They can submit Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization).

The Employment Authorization Document (EAD) allows you to legally work in the United States while your application is pending. However, it’s noteworthy that employment authorization is not automatic and must be explicitly requested.

Travel Abroad

How You Can Successfully Begin The U.S. Adjustment Of Status Process With An Immigration Lawyer

Traveling outside the United States during the process can be more complicated. Leaving the country with a pending AOS without obtaining advance parole (Form I-131) may result in the abandonment of the  application. Advance parole allows you to travel abroad and return to the United States without jeopardizing your immigration status.

However, obtaining advance parole is not guaranteed. You must apply and receive approval before traveling or deciding about employment. That said, working with immigration lawyers ensures compliance with all relevant requirements.

Why Hire An Immigration Lawyer?

Working with an immigration lawyer effectively maximizes the chances of success. For several reasons, partnering with someone competent and experienced is invaluable. You must find one for consultation before filing your application.

Plan Personalized Strategy

Every immigration case is unique, and a one-size-fits-all method rarely yields optimal results. A lawyer will assess your circumstances and identify the most viable pathway for AOS. They can also develop a personalized strategy tailored to your needs and goals.

Make Thorough Preparation

From compiling required documentation to completing and submitting forms accurately, a lawyer prepares your AOS application meticulously. They can minimize the risk of delays or denials, thus making the process efficient and effective.

Provide Advocacy And Representation

An immigration lawyer is your advocate throughout the AOS process. They can represent your interests and communicate with government agencies. In the event of an interview or other proceedings, having legal representation can provide peace of mind. It increases the likelihood of a favorable outcome.

Navigate Complexities

The AOS process involves navigating various legal and procedural complexities. A lawyer guides you in getting work authorization, complying with travel restrictions, and fulfilling eligibility. They assist you in navigating the process with their competence and steadfast support.


The process for adjustment of status offers a crucial pathway for individuals already in the United States to obtain lawful permanent resident status. Immigration lawyers at Lozano Law Firm, based in Texas, are trusted allies who guide you through every step to achieve a successful outcome.

The team determines eligibility and compiles documentation to navigate common pathways to LPR. They advocate on your behalf, and their competence ensures a streamlined and successful AOS journey. They provide personalized strategies to achieve your immigration goals. Finally, with their unwavering support, you can build a brighter future in the United States.

About Alfredo Lozano

alfredo lozano of lozano law firm inAlfredo Lozano is the founder and principal attorney at Lozano Law Firm, an immigration law firm serving the communities of San Antonio, Eagle Pass, Laredo and San Angelo in business and family-based immigration law. Mr. Lozano is a member of the State Bar of Texas, the San Antonio Bar Association, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

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