Filing an adjustment of status application is an important step for individuals seeking to change their status in the United States. Whether you are a temporary visitor, a student, a worker, or the immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, understanding the process is crucial. This article will provide a comprehensive guide on how to file your status adjustment application. It will also discuss the four common types based on immigration policies and explain how to apply for each type.
How To File Your Adjustment Of Status Application
Regardless of the specific category, an individual may be eligible for, one common aspect of the process is filing Form I-485. This form is called the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. It serves as the main application for individuals seeking to obtain a Green Card through it. Here are some key points to consider.
Form I-485 is a comprehensive application that collects essential information about the applicant. These include personal details, immigration history, employment history, and family information. It requires accurate and detailed information to ensure a smooth and successful application process.
Along with Form I-485, applicants must gather and submit supporting documents to establish eligibility. These documents may vary depending on the specific adjustment of status category. They often include identification documents, birth certificates, passports, marriage certificates, employment records, and proof of legal entry into the United States.
After submitting Form I-485, applicants are typically scheduled for a biometrics appointment. Their fingerprints, photographs, and signature samples are collected during this appointment for identity verification and background checks. This information is crucial for USCIS to conduct the necessary security and background checks as part of the application process.
In most cases, applicants must undergo a medical examination by a designated civil surgeon. This test will ensure they do not have any communicable diseases that would pose a public health concern. The results of the medical examination, documented on Form I-693, must be submitted along with the application.
Depending on the category and individual circumstances, USCIS may require an interview as part of the process. The interview allows USCIS officers to review the application, ask questions, and verify the information provided. It allows applicants to clarify any concerns and provide additional evidence if necessary.
Decision & Approval
Once the required procedures have been fulfilled, USCIS will assess the application and make a determination regarding the adjustment. If the application is accepted, the applicant will be issued a green card, which grants them legal permanent residency in the United States.
The supporting documents to be submitted with Form I-485 may differ based on the category and individual situation. It is recommended to seek guidance from an immigration attorney to obtain precise and current information regarding the process.
Eligibility For Family-Based Adjustment
Eligibility for filing a family-based adjustment of status application depends on the specific relationship to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. The following are the common categories of eligibility.
Spouses Of U.S. Citizens
Spouses of U.S. citizens are generally eligible to apply for it. This includes both opposite-sex and same-sex marriages, as long as the marriage is legally recognized.
Unmarried Children Under 21 Years Old Of U.S. Citizens
Unmarried children under 21 years old and unmarried can be eligible for it as immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. This category includes biological children, stepchildren, and adopted children.
Parents Of U.S. Citizens Who Are At Least 21 Years Old
U.S. citizens who are at least 21 years old can petition for their parents to obtain lawful permanent residency. This category applies to biological parents, step-parents, and adoptive parents.
Spouses & Unmarried Children Of Lawful Permanent Residents
Lawful permanent residents can petition their spouses and unmarried children under 21 to obtain a green card. However, there may be limitations on the availability of visa numbers, which can result in longer waiting times.
Eligibility for family-based adjustment may also depend on several factors. These include the applicant’s legal status, whether they entered the United States legally or illegally, and any previous immigration violations.
Each case is unique, and it’s recommended to consult with an immigration lawyer. Applicants can consult with a seasoned immigration lawyer for help with eligibility concerns.
Additionally, it’s essential to ensure that the relationship is genuine and not entered into solely for immigration purposes. USCIS scrutinizes applications to prevent fraudulent marriages or relationships intended solely to obtain immigration benefits. Providing sufficient evidence of a bona fide relationship is crucial in adjusting the status application process.
Employment-Based Adjustment Eligibility
Eligibility for filing an employment-based adjustment application depends on various factors. These include the specific employment-based immigrant category and the individual’s qualifications. Here are some key points regarding eligibility.
Employment-Based Immigrant Categories
The employment-based immigrant categories are divided into several preference categories, including the following.
- E1 (Priority Workers): This group encompasses individuals possessing extraordinary abilities, exceptional professors or researchers, and executives or managers of multinational companies.
- E2 (Professionals with Advanced Degrees): This category comprises professionals who hold advanced degrees or exhibit remarkable abilities in fields such as sciences, arts, or business.
- E3 (Skilled Workers and Professionals): Within this category are skilled workers and professionals with bachelor’s degrees, with these positions necessitating at least two years of training or experience.
- E4 (Special Immigrants): This classification covers specific types of immigrants, including workers affiliated with the church, journalists, and employees of U.S. foreign service posts.
Job Offer From A U.S. Employer
Applicants must also obtain a job offer from a U.S. employer willing to sponsor their immigration process. The employer must usually demonstrate that they have tried to recruit U.S. workers. Additionally, they must demonstrate that hiring a foreign national will not adversely affect U.S. workers.
Labor Certification (If Applicable)
For categories E2 and E3, the employer may need to obtain a labor certification from the Department of Labor. This involves demonstrating that no qualified U.S. workers are available for the position.
Qualifications & Evidence
Each employment-based immigrant category has specific requirements and qualifications. Applicants must provide evidence to establish their eligibility, such as educational qualifications, work experience, and achievements in their field.
The availability of immigrant visas in each employment-based category can impact eligibility. Visa numbers are limited, and some categories may have significant backlogs, resulting in longer waiting periods for certain individuals.
Refugee Or Asylee-Based Status Adjustment
Status modifications based on refugee or asylum are based on an individual’s status in the United States. Here are the key points regarding their eligibility.
- Refugee Status. Individuals who have been granted refugee status in the United States are eligible to apply for status change. Refugee status is typically granted to those who have fled their home countries due to persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution based on racism or differences in political or religious beliefs.
- Asylum Status. Individuals who have been granted asylum in the United States are also eligible to apply for adjustment of status. Asylum is granted to those already in the United States. However, they must demonstrate a credible fear of persecution if they return to their home countries.
Individuals applying for refugee status modification should adhere to the eligibility criteria and follow the instructions provided by USCIS. Consulting with an immigration attorney or referring to official government resources can provide detailed guidance and ensure a smooth application process.
Green Card Lottery Status Adjustment
The Diversity Visa Lottery program allows individuals from qualified countries to apply for a Green Card. Winners of the lottery can apply for it to become lawful permanent residents. Here are the key points regarding eligibility.
DV Lottery Selection
Individuals selected as winners of the Green Card Lottery program are eligible to apply for it. This program features a random selection process that allows individuals from countries with low rates of immigration to obtain diversity visas.
Winners receive a notification letter from the U.S. Department of State confirming their selection. This letter serves as proof of eligibility to apply for it.
It’s important to note that Green Card Lottery winners must apply within the designated validity period specified in the notification letter. Failure to file within the allotted timeframe may result in the loss of eligibility.
Possible Challenges & Obstacles
The adjustment of the status application process can present challenges for applicants. Some common challenges include the complexity of procedures, changing immigration policies, and the possibility of receiving requests for additional evidence.
Lengthy processing times and language barriers can also pose difficulties, while financial constraints may hinder some applicants. To surmount these obstacles, it is recommended to seek the competence of immigration lawyers or trusted organizations.
They can offer guidance, ensure adherence to regulations, and facilitate the process more efficiently. It is essential to stay well-informed, monitor the progress of your application, and maintain transparent communication with USCIS in order to enhance the overall experience. By recognizing these challenges and taking proactive measures to address them, applicants can improve their chances of a successful application.
Correctly filing your adjustment of status application is essential for individuals seeking to change their immigration status in the United States. Understanding the process and following the steps outlined for each type of adjustment is crucial for a successful application.
Remember to provide accurate information, gather supporting documents, and pay the required filing fee. By following these guidelines, you can navigate the adjustment of the status process with confidence and increase your chances of obtaining lawful permanent residency.