Adjustment of Status
Adjustment of status is the process by which an individual can adjust one’s non-immigrant status to that of a legal permanent resident while in the U.S. Unlike consular processing where the individual has to return to their home country to process their immigrant visa, adjustment of status allows an individual who is currently living in the U.S. to process their application for permanent residency without having to obtain a visa abroad.
Most applicants are eligible to undergo adjustment of status based on an underlying approved immigrant petition (e.g. Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, or Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker) andwhere an immigrant visa is currently available in their category (For visa availability, see Visa Bulletin athttp://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/law-and-policy/bulletin.html). In some instances, an individualmay file for adjustment of status concurrently with their immigrant petition where an immigrant visa isimmediately available (e.g. immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and employment-based classifications where thepriority date is current).
An individual files for adjustment of status by submitting Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, to the USCIS. For permission to work in the U.S. and travel abroad while the adjustment of status application is pending, an individual should file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and Form I-131,Application for Travel Document, respectively. Following filing of an adjustment of status application, the individual will be required to appear at an Application Support Center to under biometrics collection and may also be required to appear for an interview, if applicable (e.g. applicable in family-based cases and typically not required in employment-based cases). Upon approval of the adjustment of status application (Form I-485), an individual’s status is automatically adjusted to that of an U.S. legal permanent resident.