Immigration Law: Adjustment of Status

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Immigration Law: Adjustment of Status

An adjustment of status refers to the process in which a qualifying applicant can retain a permanent residency without having to return to the country of origin in order to obtain an immigrant visa. This is not an option for a foreign individual that is not within the United States because he or she cannot apply for the adjustment of status and must instead apply for consular processing.  Due to the Immigration and Nationality Act, an applicant’s immigration status can be changed from nonimmigrant to immigrant status while still living in the United States.

Adjustment of status is a cost-effective method for citizenship, but just because a person is eligible for adjustment of status, this does not mean that they will be approved for a green card if they do not meet all requirements.

Qualifying Determinants of an Adjustment Status

Again, it is important to recognize that not all who apply for citizenship are eligible for an adjustment of his or her immigration status.  This is because under certain provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act an applicant is required meet certain requisites in order to qualify for an adjustment of immigration status.


  • A candidate must already hold eligibility for a United States green card, which is under the current immigration laws.This can be through the basis of an employer, a family member, for being a refugee, and/or on the basis of seeking asylum.
  • If an applicant already qualifies for a green card through his or her family members or employer, it is required that the applicant have an approved visa petition on his or her file.
  • In the event that an applicant entered United States territory on a K-1 Visa, the applicant must be married to the individual who petitioned for him or her to obtain the visa.
  • If the individual entered the United States based on seeking asylum or refuge, it is necessary that a minimum of one year passed since that standing was approved.
  • An applicant must be physically present in the United States at the time of the application submittal.
  • In order to apply, an applicant could not have entered the United States in transit without a needed visa.
  • An applicant cannot have entered the country under what is known as the Visa Waiver Program.
  • In order to apply, the candidate’s visa status must be current and valid at the time of an adjustment status application.

While all requirements are the same for every applicant, each adjustment situation is different. For this reason, along with the eligibility standards previously listed, there may be certain exceptions. This depends on the particular circumstances of each case. Because of the complexity of each case, hiring an expert attorney can be beneficial to your situation. An experienced attorney will be aware of what requirements pertain to your specific situation.

The Application Process for Adjustment of Status

When an individual is seeking to adjust his or her immigration status, the primary form that is often required is known as Form I-485. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services issued this official form,  and it is available for download on their webpage. The I-485 Form requires that the candidate in question provide certain personal information such as his or her social security number, the date of the applicant’s last arrival into the country, and the reasoning for behind the eligibility for a United States green card.

The Form I-485 is the official required form of this process. It is important to understand, however, that it is not the only form that is required for the eligibility of an adjustment to a status.

Other commonly required documents are:

  • A biographical data sheet,
  • Supporting documents that prove the eligibility for a United States green card,
  • A health examination sheet,
  • An affidavit of funding support,
  • Any financial or tax papers,
  • Criminal records, and
  • Current headshots.

An Interview with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Interviews with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is not always required. When an interview is necessitated, the interview will take approximately 20 minutes. Most interviews held are in regard to the applicant’s United States green card application and the verification of other important documents. A candidate who is scheduled for an interview should take along a complete duplicate of his or her visa petition as well as the adjustment status application and/or any other forms that can be pertinent to the adjustment of status application.

Adjustment of Status Is Not a Right

The approval for an adjustment of status is entirely up to the discretion of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. There can be a denial of an application in spite of if the candidate meeting all of the requirements. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will award adjustment of status in applications where all requirements were met and there were no other negative issues. In the event that negative issues were present, they will be evaluated in accordance with the application as a whole before a decision is made. To further emphasize, solid family connections in the United States may be an element favoring adjustment. On the contrary, any indication that the candidate had the intention to continue in the county at the time of arrival as a non-immigrant could be considered a negative aspect.

An adjustment of status can be a very time consuming and difficult matter. If you are a candidate for this process, an expert attorney can guide you through the procedure. Many documents are required to be submitted under certain time restrictions, and an experienced attorney will make sure that your documents are submitted in a timely manner, ensuring that you have the best opportunity for an approval.


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