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If you are present in the US and meet certain requirements, you may qualify for adjustment of status. This process will allow you to obtain lawful permanent residence without the need to leave the country.

Adjustment of status is often used by immigrants who entered the United States on a temporary visa. For example, an F-1 student visa or a work visa. Later, they wanted to stay and get the Green Card.

If you are one of these aliens, be careful before changing your original immigration intentions. Although the USCIS 90-day rule is no longer in effect, entering the country temporarily and then seeking to stay could raise suspicions. Therefore, before making any immigration decision, do not hesitate to contact us. 

What Is Adjustment Of Status In The United States?

Adjustment of status is the process in which you can apply for lawful permanent resident status from the United States. Basically, this means that they make an “adjustment” to your immigration status, going from a foreigner to a U. S. lawful permanent resident. 

Please note that if you are outside the country, you will have to go through consular processing

Once you get a Green Card, you can live and work in any state in the United States. Additionally, you will be allowed to travel outside the country whenever you like, but you must maintain your residence here.

Who Qualifies To Adjust Status?

If you are in the U. S. on a nonimmigrant visa, you may be eligible to adjust your status. However, usually those who meet the following requirements qualify for adjustment of status:

  • Being admissible to the US,
  • Having an immigrant visa immediately available, and 
  • Remaining physically present in the country.

It should be noted that there are some exceptions to the visa availability requirement to apply for the Green Card. However, these depend on your particular case. For more personalized advice, we recommend consulting with our immigration lawyers in New Jersey.

waiver of inadmissibility

Additionally, you must have entered the U. S. legally, otherwise you will not be able to adjust your status. However, if you are considered illegal for immigration purposes, or do not qualify because you are inadmissible, do not despair. In such cases, it may be possible to apply for an immigration waiver of inadmissibility to the United States.  

Who Is Not Eligible For Adjustment Of Status?

You may not be eligible to adjust your status if one or more immigration adjustment prohibitions apply to you. Typically, these prohibitions apply when applicants committed a violation of immigration laws or a particular act. That said, you cannot adjust your status if you:

  • Have unauthorized employment,
  • Don’t have a legal status,
  • Did not maintain your immigration status,
  • Will be a public charge,
  • Are a crew member with a D visa,
  • Are in transit without a visa,
  • Entered the United States under a visa waiver program. For example, the ESTA,
  • Are an exchange visitor with a J visa, or
  • Are in deportation proceedings and still marry a citizen or lawful permanent resident. 

You may also not qualify for adjustment of status with a K-1 visa. This is because:

  1. You will only be able to adjust your status conditionally,
  2. It must be done within 90 days of entering the U. S, and
  3. The adjustment must be the result of the K-1 marriage to the sponsoring American citizen.

So, if you marry someone other than the individual who filed the K-1 petition, you will be prohibited from adjusting your status.

How To Make A Step-By-Step Adjustment Of Status In 2024?

The steps to make the adjustment of status currently are:

how to change status in the united states

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

The first step in applying for adjustment of status is to verify if you are eligible for the Green Card under any category. These categories vary depending on the type of immigrant requesting it.  

#2 Submit An Immigrant Application

You or someone else can file an adjustment of status application on your behalf. Typically, most immigrants must submit 2 forms:

  1. The immigrant petition, and
  2. An application for the Green Card.

If someone else applies on your behalf, it will be known as a sponsorship. Additionally, this can be done both inside and outside the U. S. That being said, the most common forms are:

In other circumstances, other requests include the following documents:

  • Form I-360, petition for Amerasian, widow(er), or special immigrant.
  • Form I-526, immigrant application by foreign entrepreneur.
  • Form I-918, petition for U nonimmigrant status.
  • Form I-929, application for a qualified relative of a U-1 Nonimmigrant.

The vast majority of categories require a pre-approved immigration petition when filing Form I-485.

Certain categories allow you to submit both applications at the same time even while processing this petition, this procedure is called “Concurrent filing”. 

#3 Check If There Is A Visa Number Available

You cannot apply for a Green Card if a visa is not available. To do this, you must first check the visa bulletin. It should be noted that not all categories require visa availability. 

#4 File Form I-485

If you are present in the U. S, you will need to complete and submit to USCIS Form I-485, Application to Register Lawful Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. Additionally, you will also need to complete Supplement A to this form.

#5 Go To The Application Assistance Center (ASC) Appointment

After you file Form I-485, you will be sent a notification for an appointment at the ASC. There, you must provide:

  • Fingerprints, 
  • Photography, and
  • Signature.

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

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

#6 Attend Your Interview (If There Is One) 

USCIS officers will be in charge of evaluating your case to determine if an interview is necessary. 

If you are scheduled for an interview, you will be required to answer questions assigned by USCIS under oath. Additionally, if you go to the interview, you will have to present all the original documents that you submitted with Form I-485. These include:

  • Passport.
  • Official travel documents.
  • Form I-94 , arrival/departure record.

#7 Respond To The Request For Additional Evidence (If Necessary)

USCIS may require additional information in the following cases:

  • You have not submitted all the required information.
  • The information you submitted is invalid or expired.
  • The officer will need more information to verify if you are eligible. 

The request will indicate the type of evidence to be shown. It also tells you where to send the evidence and the deadline to submit said requests. If you do not submit them, the USCIS officer in charge will deny the Form I-485.

#8 Check The Status Of Your Case

You can check the status of the immigration case online or by calling the USCIS contact center. Regardless of the method selected, you should have the following on hand:

  • Receipt number,
  • A number,
  • Date of birth, and
  • Full name. 

#9 Wait Until You Receive A Decision

When USCIS makes a decision about your current situation, it will send you a written notice. 

  • If the application is approved: You will receive the approval notification and subsequently the Green Card.
  • If the application is denied: You will be notified of the decision and whether you can appeal the immigration case decision

It should be noted that it is often not possible to appeal a decision denying an adjustment of status application. However, you may be eligible to file a motion to reopen or reconsider. 

If you are in this scenario, our attorneys Carolina Curbelo and Sharon Lieberman will be able to help you. Call us as soon as possible, as time is a determining factor. 

Documents To Request Adjustment Of Status In The United States

Among the requirements to meet to request adjustment of status, is to submit all the documents for this application. Among them are: 

  • Information about any travel plans,
  • Medical exam,
  • Photographs,
  • Medical, physiotherapist or other license (if you are a worker in the health area),
  • PERM labor certification and I-140 form,
  • Employment Authorization (EAD),
  • J-1 status documents (if applicable),
  • Nonimmigrant status documents,
  • I-94 registration,
  • Passport biographical information page and U. S. entry stamps,
  • Marriage certificate and/or previous divorce decree (if applicable), and
  • Birth certificates (with translation).
form i-485 for residency or adjustment of status in the usa

Other Requirements To Adjust Status In The United States

To use adjustment of status you must be eligible for one of these categories: 

  • Family (such as spouse, child, parent, or other close relative), 
  • Employment (through employer sponsorship or own achievements and skills), or
  • Other reasons. For example, humanitarian causes, diversity lottery (such as the 2025 diversity visa lottery ), or other specific reasons.

Where To Submit My Application?

Where you file your Form I-485 will depend on your eligibility category. To check where to file, visit the Form I-485 Filing Addresses page.

If you are filing at a USCIS lockbox location, you may not receive an A-Number on your Form I-797. In this case, this number will be sent to you in a second notification a few days after USCIS accepts your application.

How Long Does The Adjustment Of Status Process Take In The United States?

Typically, adjustment of status processing time ranges from 8 to 14 months. However, this time period depends on whether the adjustment comes from a U. S. family-based immigration peitition, marriage, or business.

For example, processing times for an adjustment of status after marriage range from 13 to 20 months.

If My Application Has Already Been Approved, When Will They Give Me The Green Card?

After your application is approved, the period to receive the Green Card will depend on the availability of visas. If you are an immediate relative, you can request it immediately. 

For family preference categories, the time varies depending on the annual visa limit. Additionally, availability is determined by the visa bulletin. 

What Happens If USCIS Denies My Application To Adjust Status In The United States?

If USCIS rejects your Green Card application, you will lose your immigration status and work permit. As a result, you must leave the United States to avoid unlawful presence. 

Often, denial can be due to errors in forms, incorrect fees, or lack of eligibility. In some cases, you can submit a new application, but legal advice is recommended for this. If this is your case, our lawyers will be able to advise you.

Types Of Immigration Paths To Request Adjustment Of Status In The United States

Here we will tell you some ways or categories through which you can make an adjustment of status in the United States:

Adjustment Of Status With Tourist Visa

U. S. immigration law allows you to apply for adjustment of status even as a tourist. However, applicants must meet certain conditions to do so.

Of course, going from a B-2 temporary tourist visa to a lawful permanent resident is a complex issue. Therefore, before doing so, the first thing you should do is contact Curbelo Law.

Adjustment Of Status by Marriage

adjustment of status by marriage, asylum or u visa

Adjustment of status by marriage may be available to you if you marry a citizen or lawful permanent resident. To be eligible, you as a foreigner must:

  • Be legally present in the U. S, 
  • Marry a U. S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, 
  • Demonstrate compliance with immigration laws, and 
  • Submit several pieces of evidence that validate your marriage. 

After submission, the response for adjustment will take several months. If approved, you will obtain a Green Card to permanently reside and work in the U. S. 

Given the complexity of the process, it is advisable to work with one of our immigration attorneys to ensure an accurate presentation and avoid errors.

Requirements For Adjustment Of Status by marriage

To apply for adjustment of status by marriage, you will likely need to submit the following documents to support your application:

  • Marriage certificate.
  • Birth certificate.
  • Proof of legal entry into the U. S.
  • Proof of citizenship or permanent lawful residence of the spouse.
  • Evidence of the legitimacy of the marriage, which may include photos, shared property, joint benefits, or evidence of shared communication, such as receiving mail at a joint residence.
  • Proof of divorce or death in case of previous marriages (if applicable).
  • All forms requested for adjustment.
i lost my us citizenship certificate

If your spouse has lost his or her U. S. citizenship certificate, don’t be alarmed, it is possible to recover it. Talk to us to streamline the procedures.

What Should I Expect At The Marriage-based Adjustment Of Status Interview?

The adjustment of status interview is a crucial part of the marriage-based application process. It is conducted by USCIS to confirm the information provided in the application and to provide the opportunity to submit new evidence. 

That said, the purpose of the interview is:

  • Ensure that a visa is available, 
  • Verify that there are no inadmissibility and, 
  • Confirm that the marriage to the immigrant spouse is genuine and was not performed for the sole purpose of obtaining the Green Card.

In other words, you should be prepared to answer a few marriage-based Green Card interview questions. If you fail them, you and your spouse may need to attend a stokes interview

Adjustment Of Status by Asylum

Immigration laws allow foreigners granted asylum in the United States to adjust their status. However, they will only be able to adjust their status after one year of receiving asylum and remaining in the country.

If you are looking for information about how to apply for asylum in the United States, in our blog we explain everything you need. Although, for a greater understanding of the subject, it is best to contact our lawyers. They will evaluate your case and check how your asylum clock is going.

By means of A Family-based petition

You can obtain a Green Card if you have a family member that is a U. S. citizen and applies through a family-based petition. For example, if you have American citizen children and they petition to bring you, you will be able to adjust status. 

how to bring my son to U. S.

For more information regarding this topic, you can visit our blog: “How to bring my son to the U. S.”

Through The U Visa

You must maintain your U Nonimmigrant status for 3 years from the date of approval. This will be to meet the minimum requirements for adjustment of status through the U visa. After completing them, you can become a lawful permanent resident in the United States.

How Much Does The Adjustment Of Status Process Cost In 2024?

To obtain your Green Card through adjustment of status, there are several associated costs that you should consider:

  • First, you will need to pay all fees associated with your initial application. Generally, you will need to pay a fee of $535 to file the I-130 petition. If it is a different request, consult the submission instructions.
  • After Form I-130 is approved, you must pay an additional fee when filing the I-485 petition. Typically, this fee is $1,140, ​​plus another $85 for biometric services. 
  • Children under 14 years of age who submit the application along with their parents’ I-485 will have a fee of $750. If minors apply independently, the fee will be $1,140.

If you file Form I-485 as a refugee, the filing and biometrics fees will be free of charge.

Cost Of The Adjustment Of Status by Marriage Process

To adjust status through marriage, you typically must pay $535. After your petition is approved, you will need to make an additional payment when submitting Form I-485. 

If you decide to hire a lawyer, you will also need to prepare to cover their fees. Although this may increase the total cost of your adjustment of status, the attorney is key and will help make the process as efficient as possible. 

Find out an estimate on how much an immigration lawyer costs in our article. However, to know an exact amount, we recommend that you contact us.

How To Check My Immigration Status

You can check your immigration status using the USCIS online tool to verify updates to your immigration application. To do this, it requires the 13-character receipt number.

What Happens After Adjustment Of Status Is Approved In The United States?

If your application is approved, you will receive an approval notification from USCIS by mail. Subsequently, you will obtain your lawful permanent resident card (Green Card).

The date your Form I-485 is approved becomes your adjustment date, which determines when you can become a lawful permanent resident. After a few years you may be eligible to get U. S. citizenship.

Can I Travel While The I-485 Form Is Pending?

Yes, you can travel while your I-485 form is pending. as long as USCIS grants you permission. Advance parole allows you to travel abroad while USCIS processes your Green Card application. Additionally, it allows you to return to the United States without affecting your application. 

It is essential to obtain this permission before leaving the country, otherwise USCIS will cancel your application and you will need to submit a new one. To apply for advance parole, you must complete a Form I-131 along with Form I-485.

Can I Work While My Application Is Pending?

Yes, you can work in the U. S. during the adjustment of status process if you have valid employment authorization. It is necessary to obtain the EAD, since working without this is not allowed. 

Those applying for adjustment of status may also apply for a work permit by submitting Form I-765 along with Form I-485.

Find out in our blog the risks of getting a job in the United States while being illegal.

Pros And Cons Of Adjusting Status In The United States

Although it is difficult to determine exactly how long it takes to complete an adjustment of status, it is usually longer than consular processing. In fact, this is usually its main disadvantage. However, it offers the advantage of allowing you to remain in the U. S. with your family throughout the process. 

This benefit allows you to avoid travel expenses and prolonged separation from your family. Additionally, it provides the flexibility to live, work and travel outside the U. S. under certain conditions. 

Experienced Lawyers To Obtain Adjustment Of Immigration Status

Our professionals have been helping immigrants for more than 10 years and will explain the requirements and procedures, making sure all documents are in order. Legal assistance in these cases is key to avoid complications and guarantee compliance with the requirements.

You can contact us today via phone or email and scheduling an appointment online or in our office based in Ridgewood, New Jersey.