10 Facts You Need To Know About Adjustment Of Status

Facing the complexities of the U.S. immigration system requires a comprehensive understanding of various processes. One crucial aspect is the Adjustment of Status (AOS). This allows individuals to transition from nonimmigrant statuses to lawful permanent residency without leaving the country.

Dive deep into the intricacies of AOS, from its eligibility criteria to its application process. See how an immigration attorney can be vital in your permanent residency journey.

Adjustment Of Status As A Pathway To Permanent Residence

10 Facts About The Adjustment Of Status

Adjustment of Status (AOS) is a process that allows you to apply for permanent residency while in the United States. The AOS procedure involves submitting the appropriate forms and supporting documentation to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Whether you are a U.S. citizen’s immediate relative or seeking permanent residency through employment, you may find these essential facts helpful.

Fact #1: Eligibility Criteria Depends On The Category

U.S. immigration laws offer diverse avenues for individuals seeking a Green Card. Eligibility criteria for Adjustment of Status differ based on the immigrant category being pursued. The initial phase of the process involves identifying the specific immigrant category that aligns with your circumstances.

The common categories for AOS are family-based immigration and employment. Whether you have a relative in the United States or an employer here, you must take note of the following criteria.

Green Card Through Family

This pathway allows eligible individuals to secure lawful permanent residence based on their familial ties with U.S. citizens or permanent residents. You qualify if you are:

  • An immediate relative of a U.S. Citizen. 
  • A relative of a U.S. citizen or an LPR under the family-based preference categories. This includes the married and unmarried son or daughter of a U.S. citizen who is 21 or older. 
  • Fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen or the fiancé(e)’s child. 
  • Widow(er) of a U.S. citizen.

When you do not have any family in the United States, you can take the residency pathway through employment. This, too, has its sets of qualifications.

Green Card Through Employment

Obtaining a Green Card through employment opens doors for individuals seeking to contribute their skills and expertise to the U.S. workforce.

If you fall into the first preference immigrant worker category, you may have extraordinary abilities in sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. You may have also been recognized as an outstanding professor, researcher, multinational manager, or executive meeting specific criteria.

As a second-preference immigrant worker, you must be a professional with an advanced degree. Finally, as a third preference immigrant worker, you can be a skilled worker or a professional with at least a U.S. bachelor’s degree or a foreign equivalent degree.

Fact #2: Someone Must Petition For You

A petitioner is essential to initiate the application on your behalf. This crucial step involves someone, typically a family member or employer, submitting a petition to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You will encounter essential forms like I-130 or Petition For Alien Relative in this process.

Fact #3: Use Form I-130 For A Family Member

Form I-130, the Petition for Alien Relative, is pivotal in family-based immigration to the United States. As the initial step, this document is submitted by a sponsoring family member to establish the qualifying relationship with the intending immigrant.

The approval of Form I-130 is essential for subsequent immigration processes, including the Adjustment of Status or consular processing. Accuracy in completing this form is paramount, as it lays the foundation for family reunification.

Fact #4: File Form I-140 For Alien Worker

This Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker form is a critical document in the employment-based immigration process for foreign workers in the United States. Filed by U.S. employers, this form establishes the eligibility and sponsorship of an immigrant worker for lawful permanent residency.

Fact #5: The Importance Of Form I-485

Form I-485 serves as the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. This crucial document is instrumental for individuals transitioning from nonimmigrant statuses to permanent residency. It encapsulates comprehensive information about the applicant, eligibility, and intent to adjust status. Ensuring accuracy and completeness in filling out this form is vital, as it directly impacts the successful navigation of the intricate path toward obtaining a Green Card.

Fact #6: You Need An Affidavit Of Support

Typically submitted by a sponsoring individual, this document demonstrates the financial capability to support the intending immigrant. By affirming the commitment to provide financial support, the Affidavit of Support assures U.S. immigration authorities that the applicant will not become a public charge.

Fact #7: It Differs From Consular Processing

Adjustment of Status and consular processing are distinct paths in the U.S. immigration journey. AOS allows eligible individuals to apply for a Green Card while residing in the United States. In contrast, consular processing involves applying for an immigrant Visa abroad before entering the country.

Fact #8: You Must Prepare For The Interview

In this in-person meeting, USCIS assesses the authenticity and validity of the application, delving into the details provided by the applicant. The interview serves as a comprehensive evaluation to verify the accuracy of the information. This will also confirm the applicant’s eligibility and ensure compliance with immigration regulations.

This interactive session provides an opportunity for USCIS officials to clarify any uncertainties. It fosters a thorough examination that ultimately contributes to the decision-making process regarding the individual’s Adjustment of Status application.

Fact #9: It Has Significance On Conditional Permanent Residency

The AOS process assumes added significance in cases involving the removal of Conditional Permanent Residency. This phase signifies transitioning from a conditional to an unconditional permanent resident.

Conditional Permanent Residency is a temporary immigration status given particularly in marriage-based cases. Initially, individuals obtain a Green Card with conditions attached, often valid for two years. To transition to unconditional permanent residency, applicants must file Form I-751 during the 90 days before their conditional status expires.

Fact #10: The Processing Time May Vary

The timeframe for AOS is subject to fluctuations, and certain factors influence it. It includes the applicant’s specific immigration category, USCIS workload, and application volume. A Visa attorney can help you stay informed about these processing times. They can help you anticipate the timeline for your AOS application and manage expectations accordingly.

Journeying through Adjustment of Status is not always a piece of cake for everyone. You need someone knowledgeable and skilled to help you navigate its complexities.

Eligibility Criteria For The Adjustment Of Status Process Explained By An Immigration Attorney

Seek Help From An Immigration Lawyer

Immigration laws are intricate and subject to frequent changes, making professional guidance invaluable. An experienced lawyer can interpret the nuances of eligibility criteria, advise on required documentation, and help applicants understand potential challenges. They are pivotal in strategizing the best approach to address individual circumstances.

When you work with an immigration attorney, you can minimize the errors that could lead to delays or denials. Moreover, legal representation enhances the likelihood of success, particularly when dealing with issues like inadmissibility or criminal records.

Immigration lawyers possess the skills to handle bureaucratic procedures efficiently, advocating for clients and safeguarding their rights throughout the Adjustment of Status journey. In essence, the decision to enlist a skilled immigration attorney can significantly improve the possibility of a favorable outcome. It can also alleviate the stress that comes with the intricate immigration process.

The Lincoln-Goldfinch Law has a skilled team of dependable Visa lawyers to help you through the process. They are experienced in handling immigration concerns, even the ones that appear daunting. One of the advantages of having them as your ally is that you can be confident with the steps you take because they have a personal interest in you. They are diligent in giving you tailored advice rooted in their empathy, combined with their legal knowledge.


Navigating the Adjustment of Status process in the U.S. immigration system is intricate, involving eligibility criteria and various forms such as I-130 and I-485. Whether through family ties or employment, a petitioner must initiate the application. An immigration lawyer is crucial in this process. They interpret criteria, advise on documentation, and strategize for success.

The AOS journey involves interviews, an Affidavit of Support, and distinct paths from consular processing. You must also note that processing times vary because of factors such as immigration category and USCIS workload. With all these in mind, hiring an immigration attorney is essential as they minimize errors, enhance success, and ease the stress of this complex process.

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