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Adjustment of Status is the process of applying for lawful permanent residency in the United States. The process is commonly known as applying for a green card. Becoming a lawful permanent resident can happen through a number of ways, including family members, a job or job offer, seeking asylum, or other special provisions. Obtaining Permanent Residency Status through Adjustment of Status is for those who are already in the United States legally with a visa.
A green card allows you to work and live in the United States as a permanent resident. Adjustment of Status gives applicants the opportunity to obtain a green card by using the eligible visa they already have and without the need to go back to your home country.
If you are outside the United States and wish to have permanent residency in the U.S., you will go through another process called consular processing. The nearest U.S. embassy will process your green card. If you are currently outside of the United States, we are available to answer questions.
Adjustment of Status requirements — paperwork, fees, and evidence — depend on the green card you are applying for. Even though green cards provide permanent residency, the type of green card you apply for depends on your current visa status.
Green card eligibility falls into three categories, with a variety of visas associated with each category. You can qualify through:
If you do not have your visa, you must use the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) that allows for 90 days for tourism or business in participating countries. An exception to having your visa or VWP is if you are marrying a U.S. citizen, though you must have originally entered the US with a visa or visa waiver.
Even though you may be legally eligible to pursue a green card, the U.S. Department of State instilled a 90-day rule for evaluating misrepresentation in cases. Many temporary visas cannot be used to immigrate permanently, or else it may look like you applied for the temporary visa with the intent of getting permanent residency.
Identify if your current visa status can be used to apply for adjustment of status. Your current visa also directs you to which form to use for your immigrant petition.
An immigrant petition needs to be filed before filing an I-485, the adjustment of status form. In some cases, your immigrant petition can be filed concurrently with the I-485. Most immigrant petitions also require a sponsor to petition on your behalf.
Common immigration petition forms and filing fees are:
There are many other required forms that vary depending on your current status. Once submitted, the USCIS must approve your petition. The timeline for immigrant petitions can be different for each individual applicant — lasting from a few months to over a year.
A Form I-485 cannot be filed until a visa available for you. Your visa category depends on the type of green card application (family, employment, etc.), your home country, and the amount of people in your country also applying for that same green card.
The USCIS will send you a notice for a biometrics appointment where you’ll get your fingerprints and eye screening done.
You may be asked to have an adjustment of status interview. Bring all of your original documents to the interview. An officer will put you under oath to ask questions about your green card application.
You may also need to send in evidence if required evidence is missing or out-of-date.
You can track your adjustment of status application status during your green card process.
The USCIS will send you a written decision notice accepting or denying your application.
The adjustment of status application requires a Form I-485. You will need to thoroughly read through the document and fill out all the necessary questions. Don’t forget to sign the form before sending it off.
You will need to present required material and evidence to support your green card application. In general, the following will be required along with your Form I-485:
Additional information and supporting evidence will be required when completing and filing Form I-485 depending on your adjustment of status category. For example, to apply for family preference, you must have proof that you maintained lawful residency in the United States since your arrival.
Form I-485 fees vary depending on age and status. Remember that you must pay your immigrant petition form in addition to the adjustment of status fees.
The Form I-485 processing time for green cards does depend on your current status, your country, and the amount of people applying for a particular green card. The US Department of State’s Visa Bulletin will help determine a timeline and when you can apply for a green card. Your immigration attorney will be able to clarify your individual time frame.
The I-485 timeline may take a long time. Once you are approved, adjustment of status processing time may take up to 90 days after you’ve paid your processing date fee.
The process for applying for an adjustment of status can be a long process and requires avid attention to detail. Having an attorney to help gather evidence, conduct thorough reviews of documents, assess individualized timelines, and support you can make all the difference in applying for your adjustment of status. The adjustment of status timeline varies and may take years. The experienced immigration lawyers of Chicago are seasoned in green card applications and can direct you each step throughout the entire process.
The attorneys at Scott D. Pollock & Associates PC are here to help you every step of the way in the process of adjusting your status to obtain permanent residency. Our attorneys have over seven decades of combined experience in immigration law. Contact us today to start your adjustment of status application.