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Adjustment of Status How It Works for Those Seeking Permanent Residency in the US


What is AOS (Adjustment of Status)?

Adjustment of Status (AOS) is a process through which individuals in the United States can apply to become lawful permanent residents (green card holders). This process allows those who are already present in the US to seek lawful permanent residence without having to leave the country and apply from abroad. It is used by applicants who are in the US with valid nonimmigrant visas.

To be eligible for AOS, you must have an immigrant visa petition or labor certification approved for you and must not have committed any crimes or violated any immigration laws. The AOS process requires the submission of a variety of documents, including proof of identity, financial information, and medical examination results. The application is reviewed by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

A successful AOS application will result in the granting of lawful permanent resident status, allowing immigrants to live and work in the US. It also provides holders with certain rights and benefits, including access to public benefits programs, protection from deportation, and the ability to travel in and out of the country.

What is the Purpose of the Adjustment of Status?

Adjustment of status is the preferred route for many immigrants because it allows them to remain in the country throughout the process rather than having to leave and return through consular processing. In order to be eligible for adjustment of status, the person must have a valid visa (or other form of entry) and must meet all requirements for obtaining a green card. Additionally, an individual can apply for work authorization and travel documents while the application is pending.

If you are considering applying for adjustment of status, it is important to take the time to research the process and prepare all the necessary paperwork in advance. Doing so can help ensure that your application is granted without delay and that you are able to obtain your green card and remain in the United States.

Who Qualifies for Adjustment of Status?

In order to be eligible for Adjustment of Status (AOS), applicants must meet certain requirements.

First, applicants must have a valid visa or have entered the US with proper inspection and authorization. Additionally, individuals must have maintained lawful status since entering the United States and must currently be physically present in the country.

Applicants must not have engaged in certain criminal activities, including fraud or misrepresentation in any official matter before a US government agency. Furthermore, individuals must not have committed certain immigration violations, such as entering the United States without inspection.

Applicants must be admissible to the United States, meaning they must not be subject to certain public charge provisions. Finally, individuals must be eligible for the immigrant status or visa classification desired and must be able to demonstrate their eligibility  for permanent residence.

Consider the 90-day Rule

The Adjustment of Status process requires applicants to meet various criteria to qualify. One such criteria is known as the 90-day rule. This rule applies to all individuals who are applying for adjustment of status and is meant to ensure that the individual remains in the US for at least 90 days after entry on nonimmigrant visa before they can file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. This includes individuals who are married to a US citizen.

It is important to note that the 90-day rule does not apply to individuals who are applying for a green card through a consular processing application. Nor does the rule apply to individuals who are in the US on a dual intent visa. Violating the 90-day rule may result in an individual being found inadmissible and denied a green card.

For individuals looking to become permanent residents of the US, it is important to understand the 90-day rule and ensure that they remain in the US for the required amount of time. Doing so will help increase the chances of a successful adjustment of status application.

File an Immigrant Petition

To begin the Adjustment of Status process, applicants must have an immigration petition filed on their behalf, for example Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, for family-based green card applicants or alternatively, Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for an Alien Worker, must be filed for employment-based green card applicants. The petition must include proof of the relationship between the applicant and the petitioning relative or employer. Additionally, an application fee must be paid. Further, any additional documents required for the application must be submitted. After the petition has been filed, applicants will receive a confirmation notice with a receipt number to track the progress of the petition.

Check Visa Availability

To determine if an immigrant is eligible to proceed with the adjustment of status process, it is necessary to establish the immigrant’s visa availability. This can be done by visiting the Visa Bulletin on the Department of State website. Here, one can check the current visa availability for the category of immigrant for which they are applying. This is done by comparing the date listed in the Visa Bulletin with the priority date on the immigrant petition. If the priority date is earlier than the date listed in the Visa Bulletin, the immigrant is eligible to proceed with the adjustment of status process. However, if the priority date is later than the date listed in the Visa Bulletin, the immigrant must wait until the date listed in the Visa Bulletin is reached or passes before they may proceed with the adjustment of status process.

File Form I-485

The final step of this process is filing Form I-485, the application for lawful permanent residence. To complete this form, you will need to provide information about yourself, your family, and your eligibility for adjustment of status. Supporting documents such as a valid passport, birth certificate, marriage certificate, or other documents are also required. In addition, you will need to pay the filing fee for Form I-485, currently $1,140 and plus a biometric fee of $85. If your application is approved, you will become a permanent resident of the United States.

Attend a Biometrics Appointment

One of the steps in the adjustment of status process is the biometrics appointment.

At the biometrics appointment, you will need to visit a designated Application Support Center (ASC). Make sure to bring a valid form of identification such as a driver’s license or passport. At the ASC, you will have your photo taken and fingerprints scanned. If you are a minor, at least one of your parents must be present. The biometrics appointment typically takes about 30 minutes.

Attend an Interview (if Applicable)

After reviewing the submitted information, the USCIS may then schedule an interview with the applicant. It is important to prepare for this interview in order to ensure a successful outcome. All necessary documents and records should be gathered in advance. This includes any forms that need to be filled out and submitted to the USCIS. It is also important to be prepared to answer questions about the application, the applicant’s background, and their relationship to the petitioner.

In addition to preparation, it is important to dress professionally for the interview. The applicant should also be sure to bring any documents requested by the USCIS. If necessary, an interpreter should be brought along, as well. When answering questions, the applicant should be sure to speak truthfully and provide complete and accurate answers. Finally, they should be courteous to the USCIS officer.

By taking all of these steps into account, the applicant will be in a better position to have a successful adjustment of status interview.

Present Additional Evidence (if Applicable)

The Adjustment of Status process can include presenting additional evidence (if applicable). This step is only necessary if U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requests additional evidence to complete the application. Examples of additional evidence that could be requested by USCIS include proof of a valid marriage, proof of accompanying children’s identity, proof of financial support, and/or additional documents to support eligibility. If any additional documents are requested, they must be submitted as soon as possible. Failure to submit the documents may lead to a delay or denial of the application.


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