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Adjustment of Status

Adjustment of Status is the process through which an individual present in the U.S. applies for lawful permanent residency in essence “adjusting” his or her impermanent status into a permanent one. Adjustment of Status is filed through the Form I-485 by the individual foreign national who is seeking to become a permanent resident. In this context, the person filing the application is considered the “applicant,” and the laws focus on the applicant’s individual eligibility for permanent residency. The strength or merit of the underlying petition upon which the person is seeking to immigrate makes little to no difference in the individual’s eligibility for permanent residency.

If eligible, adjustment of status allows several advantages over “consular process,” the corollary for applicants who are not present in the U.S. at the time of filing. AOS can allow one-stop filing with the petition and application filed and adjudicated concurrently; some AOS USCIS interviews can be waived whereas the interviews that are held are conducted at a local USCIS office within your U.S. state or jurisdiction; you are eligible for work and travel authorization while the application is pending; and it places you in a period of authorized stay while it is pending.

To be eligible to file for AOS, however, you must have a basis or petition upon which to immigrate; you must have a visa number available; and you must have entered the U.S. lawfully, maintained lawful non-immigrant status while present in the U.S., and have no periods of unauthorized employment or unlawful presence except for the “immediate relatives” of U.S. citizens who only have to establish a lawful entry into the U.S. Employment-based applicants for adjustment of status have an exception if they only have less than 180 days in the aggregate of such violations since the date of their last lawful admission.

But just because you may meet the requirements for adjustment of status, you must evaluate whether you are “admissible” to permanent residency by having an attorney analyze whether any grounds of inadmissibility apply. 

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