What is Adjustment of Status?

Adjustment of status is the process of applying to become a lawful permanent United States resident, also known as applying for a green card from within the United States

Who is Eligible for Adjustment of Status?

Adjustment of status is a road to becoming a legal U.S. resident for people who are in the U.S. To be eligible to apply, you must:

  • Be physically present in the U.S.;
  • Have lawfully entered the U.S., meaning you entered with valid documentation and met face to face with a U.S. immigration officer who acknowledged your entry into the U.S. There is a limited exception to this requirement, called 245(i); and
  • Fit into a specific immigrant category as a qualified family member, employee, investor, or someone eligible for certain humanitarian benefits

How Does an Adjustment of Status Work?

To apply for an adjustment of status, you’ll use Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status or Register Permanent Residence. The steps involve:

  • Determining whether you are eligible for an immigrant visa and for adjustment of status. Even if you do not plan to hire an attorney to represent you on the application itself, it is a very good idea to consult with an attorney about your eligibility before you file any forms, application and/or petitions.
  • Filing an immigrant petition generally on Form I-130 or Form I-360 or Form I-140 and obtaining a visa “priority date”;
  • Checking visa availability for your category and filing Form I-485 if you are an “immediate relative” or your visa priority date is “current”Attending your application support center appointment and interview; and
  • Providing any additional requested information.

The petition process typically takes anywhere from eight to 14 months for family-based petitions, although the Coronavirus pandemic has temporarily slowed the process.

If you are beginning your green card process or have concerns about an adjustment of status petition, you should discuss your situation with an experienced immigration attorney. The path to U.S. residency and citizenship is complicated.I have helped hundreds of individuals and couples worldwide navigate the process. I would love to help you too. Call (617) 714-4375 or email me at ellen@ellensullivanlaw.com to get in touch.