Per the USCIS, Adjustment of Status (AOS) is a process where an individual already present in the U.S. can apply for lawful permanent resident status (also know as applying for a Green Card). Therefore, the per can get a Green Card without having to return to their home country to complete the visa processing.
Green Card Lawyer – How to get an Adjustment of Status?
- The person must determine what immigrant category he/she fits under so that he/she can determine if they are eligible to apply for an AOS. There are eight Green Card eligibility categories and the eligibility criteria for each category can be different. The eight categories are:
- Special Immigrant
- Refugee or Asylee
- Human trafficking and crime victims
- Victims of Abuse
- The person seeking AOS or someone else must file an immigrant petition for the person if needed. Most people who apply for a Green Card will need to file at least two forms: an immigrant petition (petition number depends on the person’s category above) and a Green Card Application (Form I-485). Someone else, typically a sponsor, will file the petition for the person requesting an AOS. However, in some situations, the person seeking AOS may be eligible to file for themselves. Note that most categories require the person to have an approved immigrant petition before the Green Card Application can be filed. However, some of the categories may allow concurrent filing of the two forms if the person meets eligibility criteria specified by USCIS. Lastly, some categories do not need an underlying immigrant petition such as the Cuban Adjustment Act. The Green Card Eligibility Categories listed out by the USCIS will determine if an immigrant petition is needed for each category.
- Check for visa availability. Typically, a person may not file the Green Card Application until a visa is available in the category the person applies under. For visa availability, check the Visa Bulletin posted on the Department of State website.
- File Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Resident or Adjust Status.
- Once Form I-485 has been filed, USCIS will mail the person a notice notating a date, time, and location for a Biometrics services appointment at his/her local Application Support Center (ASC) to provide fingerprints, photograph, and his/her signature. These biometrics are used to verify the person’s identity and background and security checks. This appointment is extremely important and failure to show up to the appointment or failure to sign the certification acknowledgment may cause the person’s I-485 to be denied.
- If needed, the person may be asked to attend a USCIS interview where he/she will be asked to answer questions under oath regarding the information provided on the I-485.
- USCIS may request additional information if the person seeking AOS did not submit all required evidence, the submitted evidence is no longer valid, or the officer needs more information to determine the person’s eligibility. The request will state what type of evidence is needed and the location and deadline to send the evidence to. If the person does not respond within the deadline, his/her form I-485 may be denied.
- The individual seeking AOS may check his/her I-485 case status online or call the USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283. The person must have their receipt number, A-Number, name, and date of birth ready to provide to the USCIS representative.
- Once USCIS makes a final determination on the application, a written notice will be sent. If the application has been approved, the person will typically receive the approval notice first and subsequently receive the actual Green Card. If the application is denied, the decision notice will state the reason for denial and whether the person may appeal the decision. Typically, the person will not be able to appeal a denial, but he/she may be able to file a motion to open or reconsider
How long does the process take?
There is no set time frame for the entire process. Generally, it can take between 8-14 months to receive a decision. It is essential to seek out a qualified immigration attorney to guide you through the process and application process.
Ready to apply?
If you are ready to apply for a Green Card, Abbasi Immigration Law Firm can guide you through the process. Our Houston Immigration Lawyers will help you determine which category you may qualify under, along with completing the sponsor petition, Green Card application, and interview preparation. If additional information is required, we can assist in compiling the necessary documentation for submittal.