Adjustment of Status Process
The Adjustment of Status (AOS) process allows certain foreign nationals who are already present in the United States to apply for lawful permanent residency (green card) without needing to leave the country. This process is available to individuals who are eligible for a green card through a family relationship, employment, refugee or asylum status, or other specific categories. Here’s a general overview of the Adjustment of Status process:
- Eligibility Determination: Before you begin the AOS process, ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria for the specific green card category you are applying for. The eligibility requirements can vary based on the type of green card you’re seeking.
- File Form I-485: Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status: The primary form for AOS is Form I-485. This form is used to apply for a green card while you’re in the U.S. You will need to provide detailed personal information, immigration history, and any supporting documentation required for your specific green card category.
- Gather Supporting Documents: Depending on your specific situation, you will need to provide various supporting documents such as identification documents, birth certificates, marriage certificates (if applicable), police clearances, medical examinations, financial documents, and any other documents required by your green card category.
- Biometrics Appointment: After submitting Form I-485, you’ll receive a notice for a biometrics appointment. During this appointment, your fingerprints, photograph, and signature will be taken for background checks.
- Wait for Interview Notice: USCIS will review your application and supporting documents. If required, you will receive a notice for an adjustment of status interview. This interview is typically conducted at a local USCIS office and is meant to verify the information in your application and assess your eligibility for a green card.
- Attend Interview (if required): Attend the scheduled adjustment of status interview with all required documentation. This is an opportunity to answer questions about your application, clarify any inconsistencies, and provide additional evidence if needed.
- Receive Decision: After the interview, USCIS will make a decision on your application. You may receive the decision on the spot, or you might receive a decision notice by mail at a later date.
- Receive Green Card (if approved): If your AOS application is approved, you will receive your green card in the mail. The green card grants you lawful permanent residency in the U.S.
- Conditional Green Card (if applicable): Depending on the category and circumstances, you might receive a conditional green card that is valid for a limited period (e.g., two years) if applicable. You’ll need to apply to remove the conditions before the card expires.
- Continuing Obligations: Once you have your green card, you’ll need to abide by the rights and responsibilities of permanent residents, including renewing your green card and complying with U.S. laws.
Keep in mind that specific processes and requirements can vary based on your individual circumstances, the category of green card you’re applying for, and potential changes in immigration policies. It’s highly recommended to consult the official USCIS website and, if possible, seek guidance from an immigration attorney to ensure a smooth AOS process.
Adjustment of Status fees
The fees associated with the Adjustment of Status (AOS) process can vary based on the specific green card category you are applying for and the age of the applicant. It’s important to note that immigration fees can change, so it’s recommended to check the official U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website for the most up-to-date information. Here are some of the common fees associated with the AOS process:
- Form I-485 Filing Fee: The main fee for filing Form I-485 is typically required for each applicant. The fee for most applicants is $1,140. However, there are different fee structures based on age and eligibility categories. For children under the age of 14 filing with at least one parent, the fee is reduced to $750.
- Biometrics Services Fee: Biometrics (fingerprinting and background check) are a part of the AOS process. The biometrics fee is typically $85 per applicant, including children.
- Form I-765 (Optional for Employment Authorization) Fee: If you are eligible and wish to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to work while your AOS application is pending, you’ll need to file Form I-765. The fee for Form I-765 is $410.
- Form I-131 (Optional for Advance Parole) Fee: If you wish to travel internationally while your AOS application is pending, you can apply for an Advance Parole Document using Form I-131. The fee for Form I-131 is also $575.
- Health-Related Fees: If you require a medical examination, you will need to pay the relevant fees to the medical examiner. The cost can vary based on the medical professional and your location.
It’s important to double-check the USCIS website for the most accurate and current fee information. Additionally, USCIS occasionally updates its fee schedule, so it’s wise to review the USCIS Fee Calculator or consult with an immigration attorney to ensure that you have the correct fee amounts before submitting your AOS application. Remember that fee waivers might be available in certain circumstances for individuals who demonstrate financial hardship.
Adjustment of Status checklist of required documents
The specific required documents for the Adjustment of Status (AOS) process can vary based on your individual circumstances and the green card category you are applying for. However, here’s a general checklist of commonly required documents for the AOS process:
- Form I-485: Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status:
- A completed and signed Form I-485 for each applicant, including dependents.
Form I-130 Approval Notice (if applicable):
- A copy of the Form I-130 approval notice if your green card category is based on a family relationship.
- Passport Photos:
- Recent passport-sized photos of each applicant, following the U.S. visa photo requirements.
Government-Issued Photo Identification:
- A copy of a government-issued photo identification document for each applicant (e.g., passport, driver’s license, national ID).
- Original or certified copy of the birth certificate for each applicant, along with a certified translation if it’s not in English.
Marriage Certificate (if applicable):
- Original or certified copy of the marriage certificate for married applicants, along with a certified translation if it’s not in English.
Divorce or Death Certificates (if applicable):
- Divorce decrees or death certificates for any previous marriages, if applicable.
Affidavit of Support (Form I-864):
- A completed and signed Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, from the sponsoring U.S. citizen or green card holder, along with supporting financial documents.
Employment Authorization Document (Form I-765) (if applicable):
- A completed and signed Form I-765 if you are applying for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to work while your AOS application is pending.
Advance Parole Document (Form I-131) (if applicable):
- A completed and signed Form I-131 if you are applying for an Advance Parole Document to travel internationally while your AOS application is pending.
Proof of Legal Entry:
- Copies of relevant documents proving your legal entry to the United States (e.g., visa stamps, Form I-94).
Medical Examination Results:
- The results of the required medical examination conducted by an approved civil surgeon.
- Police Clearances:
- Police clearance certificates from any country where you have lived for more than six months since the age of 16.
Tax and Financial Documents:
- Copies of tax returns, W-2 forms, pay stubs, or other financial documents to demonstrate the sponsoring U.S. citizen or green card holder’s income and ability to support you.
Other Supporting Documents:
- Any additional documents specific to your green card category or circumstances, such as academic transcripts, diplomas, employment verification letters, or documents related to criminal history.
Remember that this is a general checklist and that specific requirements can vary based on your situation. Check the official U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website for your green card category and consult with an immigration attorney to ensure that you have all the necessary documents and are prepared for the AOS process.