What is Adjustment of Status?
Adjustment of Status (AOS) is the process by which certain foreign nationals who are already present in the United States can apply to become lawful permanent residents, also known as green card holders, without having to leave the country to complete the visa process at a U.S. consulate abroad. In other words, it’s the process of transitioning from a temporary nonimmigrant status (such as a work or student visa) to permanent immigrant status.
Here are the key points about the Adjustment of Status process:
- Eligibility: To be eligible for Adjustment of Status, you generally need to meet certain criteria, including having an approved immigrant petition (such as a Form I-140 for employment-based immigrants), being physically present in the United States, and having a visa number available if applicable (priority date must be current based on the Visa Bulletin).
- Filing Form I-485: The primary form used for Adjustment of Status is Form I-485, which is the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. This form collects personal information and is used to assess your eligibility for permanent residency.
- Supporting Documentation: Along with Form I-485, you’ll need to provide various supporting documents, such as passport-style photos, copies of your visa, Form I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record), medical examination results, financial documents, and other required forms.
- Biometrics Appointment: After submitting your Form I-485, you’ll likely be scheduled for a biometrics appointment. During this appointment, your fingerprints, photograph, and signature will be taken for background checks.
- Interview: In some cases, USCIS may require an in-person interview as part of the Adjustment of Status process. This is especially common for family-based applications. Employment-based applicants might also have interviews, but they are generally less common.
- Waiting for Decision: USCIS will review your application, conduct necessary checks, and assess your eligibility. If everything is in order, you’ll receive a decision on your application. If approved, you will receive your green card in the mail.
It’s important to note that the Adjustment of Status process can vary based on the specific immigrant category you are applying under and your personal circumstances. Additionally, not all foreign nationals are eligible to adjust their status within the United States; some might need to go through consular processing at a U.S. consulate abroad.
For the most accurate and up-to-date information on the Adjustment of Status process, including eligibility criteria and required documentation, it’s recommended to visit the official U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website or consult with an immigration attorney.
What are Adjustment of Status requirements?
The requirements for Adjustment of Status (AOS) in the United States can vary depending on the immigrant category you are applying under and your specific circumstances. However, here are some general requirements that are often applicable when seeking AOS:
- Eligibility for an Immigrant Category: You must be eligible for a specific immigrant category that allows you to apply for Adjustment of Status. This could be an employment-based category (such as EB-1, EB-2, EB-3), a family-based category (such as immediate relatives or preference relatives), or other special categories.
- Approved Immigrant Petition: In most cases, you need to have an approved immigrant petition (such as Form I-140 for employment-based immigrants or Form I-130 for family-based immigrants) that establishes your eligibility for permanent residency.
- Priority Date: Your priority date (the date USCIS received your immigrant petition) must be current based on the Visa Bulletin for your specific immigrant category and country of origin. If the demand for visas is higher than the available supply, waiting for your priority date to become current might be necessary.
- Inspection and Admission: You must have been inspected, admitted, or paroled into the United States. This generally means you entered the U.S. lawfully with a valid visa or other appropriate documentation.
- Maintaining Legal Status: You should have maintained lawful status while in the U.S. For example, if you entered on a work visa, you should have maintained valid work authorization.
- Continuous Residence: You should have continuously resided in the U.S. since your last entry, and you must not have departed the U.S. without proper authorization.
- Criminal History: You must not have committed certain crimes that could make you ineligible for AOS. Certain criminal offenses can result in ineligibility or require a waiver.
- Medical Examination: You need to undergo a medical examination by a designated civil surgeon and provide evidence of vaccinations in accordance with U.S. vaccination requirements.
- Affidavit of Support: If you are applying based on family sponsorship, the petitioner (sponsor) needs to submit an Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) to demonstrate they have the financial means to support you and prevent you from becoming a public charge.
- Form I-485 and Supporting Documents: You need to file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, along with the necessary supporting documents, photos, and fees.
- Biometrics: You will need to attend a biometrics appointment to provide fingerprints, photograph, and other biographic information for background checks.
- Interview: In some cases, you may be required to attend an interview with USCIS as part of the AOS process.
It’s important to note that these are general requirements, and the specific requirements can vary based on the immigrant category, individual circumstances, and potential changes in immigration laws or policies. It’s recommended to check the official U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website or consult with an immigration attorney to ensure that you have the most accurate and up-to-date information for your particular situation.
What are Adjustment of Status filing fees?
The Adjustment of Status (AOS) filing fees can vary based on the specific forms you need to submit and your age. Keep in mind that USCIS fees are subject to change, so it’s crucial to check the official U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website for the most up-to-date fee information. However, here are the common filing fees associated with the AOS process:
- Form I-485 Filing Fee:
- For applicants aged 14 through 78: $1,140
- For applicants under 14 and over 78: The fee might differ.
- Biometrics Fee:
- The biometrics fee is typically included in the total fee for Form I-485.
- The biometrics fee is $85.
- Form I-765 Filing Fee (Optional, for Employment Authorization):
- As part of the AOS process, you can apply for employment authorization using Form I-765. This allows you to work while your AOS application is pending.
- The filing fee for Form I-765 can change, so it’s important to verify the current fee on the USCIS website.
- Form I-131 Filing Fee (Optional, for Advance Parole):
- If you wish to travel outside the United States while your AOS application is pending, you can apply for Advance Parole using Form I-131.
- The filing fee for Form I-131 can also change, so make sure to check the USCIS website for the current fee.
- Other Fees:
- Depending on your situation, there might be additional fees for services such as medical examinations, translations, and other documentation.
It’s important to accurately calculate the total fees required for your AOS application, including any optional forms you choose to file. Also, remember that USCIS typically does not provide refunds for filing fees, even if your application is denied.
For the most current and accurate fee information, I strongly recommend visiting the official USCIS website or consulting with an immigration attorney who can guide you through the AOS process and help you understand the applicable fees for your specific circumstances.