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If you want to know what is an adjustment of status in the United States and learn everything related to the process, in this article we will show you all the details. We will also answer many of the questions related to the topic.

At Cuberlo Law we have over 10 years of experience in immigration matters. Our immigration lawyers in New Jersey will be able to advise you in any matter where you need immigration experts. Call us today and get a private consultation, we will gladly assist you.

what is an adjustment of status in terms of immigration?

The adjustment of your immigration status is the process in which an immigrant within the United States can apply for the Green Card and obtain lawful permanent residence.

If the immigrant is in the United States, they can obtain a Green Card without the need to return to their country of origin. On the other hand, if the immigrant is outside the United States, they can obtain a visa through the consular processing.

Generally, you must have a valid visa to make an adjustment of status or a change of immigration status. You cannot submit an application if you do not have legal immigration status in the U. S.

We invite you to read about the different types of visas available in the United States to know the main visas available in the country.

Adjustment Of Immigration Status In The United States In 2023

Immigrants can apply for permanent residence status from their country of origin abroad or while present within the United States. You must bear in mind that:

  • If it takes place within the United States, it will be an adjustment of status.
  • If it is carried out outside the U. S. in the country of origin, it will be a consular process.

Consular processes involve the American embassy or consulate, while the “adjustment of status” will be to apply for a Green Card while you are present in the United States. 

Eligibility For Adjustment Of Status

If you wish to apply for this process, you must meet certain criteria for your eligibility, including:

  • Have a valid immigrant visa.
  • Be physically present in the United States.
  • Have a legal situation in the U. S.
  • You entered the United States legally.

How To Make An Adjustment Of Status?

To make an adjustment of status you must take into consideration the following steps to take:

form i-485 for residency or adjustment of status in the usa

# 1 Check If You Are Eligible To Apply For A Green Card

The first step is to verify if you are eligible to apply for a Green Card under some type of category. These categories vary depending on the type of immigrant requesting it.  

# 2 You Or Someone Else Can Apply On Your Behalf

In general, the vast majority of people have to submit 2 forms:

  • An immigrant petition.
  • An application for the Green Card.

When someone else files a petition on your behalf, it will be known as sponsorship and can be done both inside and outside the U. S. The most common forms are:

In other circumstances, other requests include the following documents:

For the most part, the categories require a pre-approved immigration petition by filing Form I-485.

Other categories allow both applications to be submitted at the same time even while processing this petition, said procedure is called “Concurrent filing“. 

# 3 Check If There Is A Visa Number Available

You cannot apply for the Green Card if there is no visa available. You should first check the visa bulletin published by the Department of State .

It should be noted that not all categories require visa availability. 

# 4 File Form I-485

If you are present in the US, you will need to file Form I-485; Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status .

If you are requesting a change from adjustment of status to that of a lawful permanent resident, you will need to complete Form I-485 and Supplement A to Form I-485, Adjustment of Status Under Section 245 (i) .

# 5 The Application Assistance Center Appointment 

After filing Form I-485, you will be notified for an appointment at the Application Assistance Center, where you will need to provide:

  • Your fingerprints. 
  • 1 photograph.
  • 1 signature.

You will be indicated a date, time and place where you will have the appointment and biometric data will be used to corroborate your identity, which will show your criminal record. 

At this appointment, you will be asked to sign a statement certifying that you have reviewed and understood all the information. Failure to sign, advance notice, or request a reschedule could result in your Form I-485 denied.

# 6 If applicable, go to your interview

USCIS officers will be responsible for evaluating your case to determine if an interview is necessary. 

If an interview is scheduled for you, you will have to answer the questions assigned by USCIS under oath. When you go to the interview, you will need to submit all the original documents that you submitted with Form I-485, these include:

  • The passport.
  • Official travel documents.
  • Form I-94 .

# 7 If You Apply To The Following Requests, You Must Answer Them

USCIS may require additional information in the following cases:

  • You have not submitted all the required information.
  • The information you submitted is invalid or has expired.
  • The officer needs more information in order to verify if you are eligible. 

The petition will indicate the type of evidence to show, as well as where to send the evidence and the deadline for submitting such requests.

If you do not turn them in, the USCIS officer in charge will deny the Form I-485.

# 8 Check The Status Of Your Case

You can check the status of your I-485 Form online or by calling directly:

  • USCIS Contact Center: 800-375-5283.
  • For people with disabilities: 800-767-1833.

You should have the following requirements on hand:

  • Your receipt number.
  • Number A.
  • Name.
  • Date of birth. 

# 9 Receive A Decision

When USCIS makes a decision on your current situation, a written notice will be sent to you. 

  • If the application is approved : You will receive an approval notification and later you will receive your Green Card.
  • If the request is denied : You will be notified of the decision and also, they will let you know if you can appeal the decision. 
appeal immigration decision

Remember that you can appeal for an immigration case and on our website we tell you how to exactly.

Who Qualifies For Adjustment Of Status?

Another very frequent question in our offices is: Who can adjust their status and get the Green Card? At Curbelo Law we focus on being able to resolve all these types of immigration and adjustment of status matters in the United States. 

adjustment of status by marriage, asylum or u visa

Our Latina attorney Carolina Curbelo has over 10 years of experience serving immigrants. Do not hesitate to ask us your question today.

Foreigners can make their adjustment as long as they meet the following conditions:

Adjustment Of Status By Marriage

Those who are betrothed to US citizens or their children may apply for an adjustment of status by marriage with permanent residence. 

They will need to do an interview for adjustment of status by marriage, additionally they will require an adjustment of status K-1 fiancé and a K-2 visa.

  • It is necessary that the marriage is able to be celebrated in the period of 90 days in which they can be in the country.
  • The marriage must be between the person petitioning and the person petitioned.
  • You cannot change spouses.

You may be interested in reviewing our article dedicated to marriage based Green Card interview questions. You will find many real-life examples of the most frequently asked questions asked in these interviews. 

Adjustment Of Status Through U Visa

US immigration laws allow foreign crime victims who have obtained U nonimmigrant status to become lawful permanent residents and obtain their Green Card.

  • U Nonimmigrant status (U-1 visa) is only available to victims who have suffered from:
    • A mental abuse.
    • A physical abuse.
    • Other crimes against your health.
  • You must submit certain additional requirements in order to request the petition.

Individuals who are in the US and have U Nonimmigrant status can apply to become a lawful permanent resident on the U-1 visa by adjusting status in the United States.

Through A Family Request

Immediate relatives of American citizens are eligible to make this petition, an example would be the adjustment of status for a citizen’s child since it is an immediate relative. In our section on U. S. family-based immigration we have covered other petitions to bring family members in detailed blogs:

These relatives can adjust their status as long as they are legal in the United States, and they must also have some type of legal and current American visa .

It should be noted that siblings, unmarried children under 21 years of age, and the spouse can only adjust status as long as they are resident in the US You may also be interested in our article on the process to obtain US citizenship.

Through A Job

Immigrants can be requested by a US business, sponsor, or employer.

  • If the application is approved, an adjustment of status may be made.
  • The applicant must be legal in the US and must have a work visa, such as some type of H-1B visa.

You can read our related article on what are H-1B visas.

Through A Tourist Visa

Immigrants who have a tourist visa can submit an adjustment of status with a tourist visa.

Once the immigrant completes their application process for adjustment of status with a tourist visa, they will have to wait until USCIS notifies whether it was approved or not.

If you have already formalized the request, you must make sure that you have all your information updated, in addition to having an immigration status.

  • If you made a residential change, you must notify USCIS immediately.
  • The documents of your case will be sent to this address. 
US B-2 tourist visa

You can get more information about this visa in our article about the US B-2 tourist visa. You might also be interested in reading our article “How long can we stay in USA with tourist visa” to understand your legal options in this scenario.

Other Adjustment of status scenarios

Additionally, other immigrants may be able to adjust their status in the following scenarios:

  • By asylum or by refuge. Check our blog: Asylum process in USA.
  • Adjustment of status due to cancellation of removal.
  • Adjustment of status for an immediate relative of the spouse, these can be:
    • Child.
    • Father.
    • Mother.
  • For continuous residence in the United States if you have been in the country since January 1, 1972.
  • For some case of special immigrants.
  • If the immigrant collaborates with the Armed Forces of the United States.
  • For some humanitarian reason: An example could be:
    • Victims of domestic violence approved via a VAWA visa.
    • Immigrant holders with a U visa and a T visa.
  • For being of Cuban nationality. 
human trafficking and migrant smuggling

At Curbelo Law we are very aware of cases of abuse and persecution. We have written different articles such as “Human trafficking and migrant smuggling“, asylum or the aforementioned visas. We have been dealing with these matters for more than 10 years, so do not hesitate to contact us if you experience a situation like this and need legal support.

Requirements For An Adjustment Of Status In The United States

There are certain requirements that must be met if you want to adjust your status in the U. S. Depending on the type of immigration adjustment, you will be required to submit different documents, among these are:

Requirements For Adjustment Of Status By Marriage

If you are going to adjust your status for matrimonial reasons, you will simply need to do the following: 

  • Have a K-1 Visa if you are the fiancé or;
    • K-2 visa if you are the son or daughter of the fiancé.
  • Check the availability of the number of visas.
  • Go to the interview.

Requirements For Adjustment Of Status Through U Visa

If you have a Green Card based on the U visa, you must meet the following requirements for your eligibility:

  • File Form I-485.
  • Be legally admitted to the United States under U-1 Nonimmigrant status.
  • Be under U-1 Nonimmigrant status when you file Form I-485.
  • You have been present in the United States for the continuous three-year period since you were admitted as a U-1 nonimmigrant.
  • Your presence in the US must be justified on humanitarian grounds 
  • You should NOT be inadmissible, this according to section 212 (a) of the INA.
  • You have not refused to provide investigation or prosecution assistance from the first time you were admitted as a U-1 nonimmigrant until the USCIS makes a decision on your petition. 

You can learn more in our article on what is a U visa. There you will find all the information relevant to this American visa.

Other Documents To Submit

If you want to obtain the Green Card under the non-immigrant visa, you will have to submit the following documents:

  • 1 copy of Form I-797, Notice of Action of your Form I-918, Petition for U Status for Nonimmigrant.
  • 1 copy of each of the pages of your passports or travel documents.
    • If you have left the United States and you are under the U-1 Non-Immigrant status, you must submit the proofs that show each of the departures from the country. This includes:
      • The date.
      • Your place of return.
      • The reason for your departure.
  • You must submit an affidavit proving your continued physical presence in the country.
    • If you were absent in the country for a period of more than 90 days or for periods that exceed 180 days in total, you must submit a certification from the investigation or prosecutor’s agency.
      • This will be to show that the absences were necessary or justified.
  • Some evidence that you were legally admitted as a U-1 nonimmigrant, in addition to jointly filing Form I-485.
  • Show any evidence that you complied with any type of request for assistance in investigation or prosecution for criminal activity. 
  • Some evidence that your adjustment of status justifies a situation for humanitarian reasons or to ensure a family union.
  • 2 passport-type photographs.
  • 1 copy of Form I-94, Arrival and Departure Record.
  • 1 copy of your ID with any government-issued photograph.
  • 1 copy of birth certificate.
  • Submit Form I-693, Medical Report and Immunization Record.
  • Submit a certified police and judicial record (if applicable).

If you have been involved in crimes, you are illegal in the USA and you want to be legal, you need post-conviction relief for immigration purposes or any other legal support, you should know that we are experts in Crimmigration. This term refers to the intersection of criminal defense and immigration laws that affect millions of immigrants in the U. S. It is important to have experts by your side in this specific area of ​​law such as the ones in Curbelo Law. Contact us today by phone or email and let us know your case.

Common Questions About the Adjustment Of Status In The United States

how to change status in the united states

How To Verify My Immigration Status?

If you want to check immigration status or the status of your immigration case, you will be happy to know that it is a very simple process. You can check the status of your case electronically or digitally from your computer or mobile phone.

To perform this verification process, you will need to:

  • Access the USCIS portal for case status verification .
  • You should have your case receipt number and the receipt number for a 13-character identifier available from USCIS.
  • Also provide the application or petition to initiate the case.

Can A Permanent Resident Adjust Status?

Adjustment of status is a process for an immigrant to become a permanent resident. A permanent resident can no longer adjust status because they are already a legal resident of the United States.

How To Change Your Status In The United States?

To change your status in the United States, you will simply have to submit the change of status application by mail using the electronic filing system with USCIS before the expiration date shown on the Form I-94.

How Long Does Adjustment Of Status Take?

The waiting time for adjustment of status depends on the category of adjustment you applied for at the USCIS office, this time usually takes between 9 to 11 months approximately. 

How Much Does An Adjustment Of Status Cost?

The fees to adjust your status may vary depending on your age, these fees are:

  • For children under 14 years of age who submit the application together with Form I-485: It has a price to pay of $ 750.
  • For minors under 14 years of age who do not submit the application together with Form I-485: They must pay $ 1,140.
  • People between 14 and 78 years old: They will have to pay $ 1,140 plus an additional $ 85 for fingerprint services (Biometrics), leaving about $ 1,225 in total.
  • For those over 79 years old: They must process a single payment of $ 1,140.
  • In case of being admitted as a refugee: You will not have to pay anything, no formalities will be charged. 

Can I Stay In The United States While I Wait For My Adjustment Of Status?

You can stay in the United States while you wait for your adjustment of status, and you can stay even if your visa expires.

Can My Adjustment Of Status Be Denied?

USCIS may deny your application, that is, they may reject your application for the Green Card. Normally the rejection of the Green Card is made when the applicant is considered inadmissible.

If so, remember that you can always appeal an immigration decision .

What Happens If I Am Denied Adjustment Of Status?

If you are denied your adjustment of status, this will have consequences within the United States as a start for your deportation process.

Remember that for these cases, it is possible to study how to request a waiver of inadmissibility .

What Happens After A Status Change?

After making an adjustment of status, you will be issued a Green Card by mail, after which you will be able to do the following in the United States legally:

  • Work.
  • Live.
  • Travel abroad and return.

In case of making a change of status due to marriage and you have not been married for 2 years, you will receive a conditional residential card, which will be valid for 2 years.

You will have to update this to a Green Card as long as you comply with everything required. 

Experienced Lawyers To Obtain Adjustment Of Immigration Status

If you are looking for experienced lawyers to achieve adjustment of immigration status, the Curbelo Law firm can help you in this type of case. The lawyer Carolina Curbelo will be available to provide you with legal advice.

With more than 10 years of experience, she will do everything possible to help you in any pending immigration case. Call us today to speak with our immigration law firm and with latino lawyers that understand your situation.