A Checklist For the Adjustment of Status Process

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Those in the United States with temporary nonimmigrant visa status may be able to apply for permanent residence through the adjustment of status process. This allows individuals to complete the green card application process without leaving the country.

The adjustment of status process is a lengthy one, requiring diligent attention to detail. Boundless’s team can help with a checklist for the adjustment of status process ensure every step is completed correctly.

1. Complete Your Petition

A successful adjustment of status allows a nonimmigrant visa holder to become a permanent resident with a Green Card without first returning to their home country for visa processing. To use this procedure, you or someone else must file a petition on your behalf and pay an application fee to USCIS.

Your petition must meet the requirements of your specific immigration category. For example, a spouse or child of a U.S. citizen or sponsoring employer can file a Form I-130 on your behalf. However, if you are seeking a visa through the diversity lottery or on humanitarian grounds, your petition must be approved before you can proceed.

You may also file a petition for yourself if you were a victim of human trafficking and have T nonimmigrant status, or you assisted in the investigation or prosecution of human traffickers and would suffer extreme hardship if removed from the United States. If your petition meets the requirements of your specific immigration category, you can file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, with USCIS.

2. Submit Your Petition

A beneficiary of an immigrant visa may become a permanent resident (green card holder) by filing an adjustment of status application if they meet all other requirements. This path to legal residency is different than changing nonimmigrant visa statuses like from TN to H-1B. The applicant must have a petition filed on their behalf by a family member, employer or US citizen sponsor. In some cases, immigration petitions are not required for those applying for adjustment of status based on humanitarian programs such as asylee and refugee status.

The forms and supplementary documents needed to submit an adjustment of status application can be complex. It is important to have up-to-date and accurate docs when filing. It is also a good idea to review the list of items that could disqualify you from adjusting status, including criminal convictions and certain technical inadmissibility situations. However, these barriers can be overcome with waivers and exceptions.

3. Schedule Your Interview

Unless waived on a case-by-case basis, all adjustment of status applicants are required to attend an interview with USCIS. This is a necessary step to verify certain aspects of your application and to help determine eligibility for a green card.

The interview can be an intimidating part of the process for many, but it’s important to prepare for your interview to avoid unnecessary delays in the process. It is important to make sure that you have a copy of your petition and the I-130 form, any advance parole or travel documents you may have used to travel while waiting for the interview, and a complete list of all other supporting documents.

It is also a good idea to bring any recent life change documents like a marriage certificate or a new job offer, as these could affect the decision of your case. Finally, it is important to make sure that you have your biometrics appointment scheduled before your interview date.

4. Attend Your Interview

If USCIS accepts your Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, it will schedule an interview for you at a local office. This is called an adjustment of status (AOS) interview and it’s a critical step in obtaining your marriage green card.

At the AOS interview, a USCIS officer will review your petition and ask you questions. The questions will be based on the information you provided and it’s important that you are prepared to answer all of them honestly.

At your interview, the officer will also review any supporting documents that you’ve submitted. These include original official documents such as birth, death and marriage certificates; proof of U.S. citizenship or legal residency; photos taken before and during your marriage; a medical report on Form I-693 that you’ve either submitted with your AOS application or in response to an RFE; and other documents, as requested by USCIS. The interview typically lasts 20 minutes. However, depending on the COVID-19 health and safety protocols, you may have to wait longer before the interviewer calls your name.