Adjustment of Status
Adjustment of status is the process that you can use to apply for lawful permanent resident status (also known as applying for a Green Card) when you are present in the United States. This means that you may get a Green Card without having to return to your home country to complete visa processing. However, if you are OUTSIDE of the United States, you must obtain your visa abroad through consular processing.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if I am eligible to apply for Adjustment of Status?
In order to apply for a green card, you must be eligible under one of the categories listed below:
- Green Card through family: You may be eligible to apply as
- An immediate relative of a U.S. citizen
- Other relative of a U.S. citizen or relative of a lawful permanent resident under the family-based preference categories.
- Fiance of a U.S. citizen or the fiance’s child
- Widow(er) of a U.S. citizen
- VAWA self-petitioner – victim of a battery or extreme cruelty
- Green Card through Employment: You may be eligible to apply as
- An Immigrant worker
- Physician National Interest Waiver
- Immigrant Investor
- Green Card as a Special Immigrant: You may be eligible as
- A Religious Worker
- A Special Immigrant Juvenile
- An Afghanistan or Iraq National who were employment by the U.S. government under certain circumstances
- An International Broadcaster
- An Employee of an international organization or family member or NATO-6 employee or family member.
- Green Card through Refugee or Asylee Status: You may be eligible to apply as
- an Asylee if you were granted asylum status at least 1 year ago
- a Refugee if you were admitted as a refugee at least 1 year ago
- Green Card through Human Trafficking and Crime Victims: You may be eligible to apply as a
- Human Trafficking victim if you currently have a T nonimmigrant visa
- Crime Victim if you currently have a U nonimmigrant visa
- Green Card for Victims of Abuse: You may be eligible to apply as a
- VAWA self-petitioner – victim of battery or extreme cruelty
- Special Immigrant Juvenile who has been abused, abandoned, or neglected by a parent and has SIJ status
- An abused (victim of battery or extreme cruelty) spouse or child under the Cuban Adjustment Act
- An abused (victim of batter of extreme cruelty) spouse or child under Haitian Refugee Immigrant Fairness Act.
- Green Card through Other Categories: You May be eligible to apply under this category
- Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness
- Diversity Immigrant Visa Program
- Cuban Adjustment Act
- Dependent status under the HRIFA
- Lautenberg Parolee
- Indochinese Parole Adjustment Act of 2000
- American Indian born in Canada
- Person born in the United States to a foreign diplomat
- Section 13 (diplomat)
- Green Card through Registry: You may be eligible to register for a Green Card if you have resided continuously in the U.S. since before January 1, 1972.
Do I apply for Adjustment of Status on my own or does someone have to file on my behalf?
Most people who apply for a Green Card will need to complete at least 2 forms — an immigrant petition and a Green Card Application. Someone else usually must file the petition for you (often referred to as sponsoring or petitioning for you), although you may be eligible to file for yourself in some cases.
**Note: Most categories require you to have an approved immigrant petition BEFORE you can file the Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. However, some categories may allow you to file the immigrant petition and Form I-485 concurrently (i.e., spouses of U.S. citizen)
Can I immediately file the adjustment of status application after my immigrant petition is approved?
In general, you may not file your Form I-485 until a visa is available in your category. For exceptions to the visa availability requirement, please check your specific immigrant category for more information.
What happens once I file my adjustment of status application?
- Biometrics Appointment: After you file your Form I-485, USCIS will mail you a notice for you biometrics (fingerprints) services appointment at a local Application Support Center (ASC) to provide your fingerprints, photograph, and/or signature. The notice will include the date, time, and location of the appointment. USCIS uses biometrics to verify your identity and conduct required background and security checks.If you miss your ASC appointment without properly notifying us and requesting that we reschedule your appointment, USCIS may deny your Form I-485.
- Respond to Request for Additional Evidence (if applicable): USCIS may send you a request for additional evidence if you did not submit all the required evidence; the evidence you submitted is no longer valid; or the officer needs more information to determine your eligibility. The Request will indicate what evidence is needed and let you know where to send the evidence, and the deadline to respond. If you do not respond to the request timely, the officer may deny your Form I-485.
- Interview: USCIS will review your case to determine whether an interview is necessary. If you are scheduled for an interview, you will be required to appear at a USCIS office to answer questions under oath or affirmation regarding your Form I-485. USCIS will send a notice with the date, time, and location of the interview.
- Decision: When USCIS makes a decision on your application, they will send a written decision notice. At times, the decision is made at the end of the interview and the USCIS officer will let you know what that decision is, but you will still receive the official notice in the mail. If USCIS approves your application, you generally will receive the approval notice first, and then receive your actual Permanent Resident Card a little later. If USCIS denies the application, the decision notice will note the reasons why the application was denied and whether you may appeal the decision. Generally, you cannot appeal the decision to deny an adjustment application, but you may be eligible to file a motion to reopen or reconsider.
Is there a way I can get updates about my pending case?
You may check your case status online on the USCIS website. You will need your application receipt number which is printed at the top left corner of the Receipt notice.
How long will it take to process my case?
Processing times vary on a case by case basis and is also based on how quickly or slowly USCIS is adjudicating all cases. It is difficult to pin point an exact time frame.