What is Adjustment of Status?
This is the last stage in the process of applying for permanent residence. If permanent residence is applied for in the United States, it is known as applying for adjustment of status. If applied for outside the United States, it is known as applying for an immigrant visa. The result of either will be the same; that is, permanent residence.
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides an individual two primary paths to permanent resident status.
- Adjustment of status is the process by which an eligible individual already in the United States can get permanent resident status (a green card) without having to return to their home country to complete visa processing.
- Consular processing is an alternate process for an individual outside the United States (or who is in the United States but is ineligible to adjust status) to obtain a visa abroad and enter the United States as a permanent resident) This pathway is referred to as ‘Consular Processing’.
Can I adjust status at same time as filing an I-140 petition?
Depending on the category you wish to adjust under, you may be eligible to have the petition filed at the same time that you file your Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. This is called “concurrent filing.” Immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen may be able to file concurrently. Also, other certain classes of individuals who have a visa immediately available may be able to file concurrently. Most categories, however, require that you first establish your eligibility for the immigrant category by having an approved petition before you are allowed to file Form I-485, for these categories you will not be able to file concurrently.
When can I file for adjustment of status?
You may not file your Form I-485 until a visa is available in your category. If an immigrant visa is currently available to you, you may be able to apply for permanent residence status on Form I-485. Note: There are a few categories which may require a different form than Form I-485. You can find if a visa is available for your category based on your priority date and each month the State Department will release a chart of current priority dates, which can be found at the following link: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/visa-law0/visa-bulletin.html
Other requirements to adjust status
After your application is filed, you will be notified to appear at an Application Support Center for biometrics collection, which usually involves having your picture and signature taken and being fingerprinted. This information will be used to conduct your required security checks and for eventual creation of a green card, employment authorization (work permit) or advance parole document.
You may be notified of the date, time, and location for an interview at a USCIS office to answer questions under oath or affirmation regarding your application. You must attend all interviews when you receive a notice. When you go to your interview, you (and the family member that filed the Form I-130 petition on your behalf, if applicable) must bring originals of all documentation submitted with this application including passports, official travel documents, and Form I-94 regardless if they are expired. Not all applications require an interview. USCIS officials will review your case to determine if it meets one of the exceptions.