ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS IN GENERAL
Oftentimes people enter the USA legally as non-immigrants and while here run into a change in their personal situation, which requires them to seek permanent residency from within the USA. Many circumstances may lead to such a situation. A foreign student who graduated from an American institution of higher education and found a job; a spouse of a US citizen, or an asylum recipient are some of the most common examples. The US immigration law commonly refers to the process of petitioning for a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) status while inside the United States as "adjustment of status". The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the primary U.S. law which governs immigration in the USA, allows for an adjustment of one's status, if an individual was initially inspected and admitted or paroled into the United States and is capable of satisfying the requirements for permanent residence as prescribed for each particular type of admission.
DOES ONE NEED TO LEAVE
When the applicant meets the preconditions attached to his or her nonimmigrant status while in the USA, he or she is not required to travel to their country of citizenship to finalize their application for permanent residency in the United States. In contrast, applicants residing outside of the United States must obtain their immigrant visas at the US Consulate covering the geographic area where the applicant lives, or in technical terms, go through a Consular processing. Consular processing refers to the applications for an immigrant visa submitted by the individuals who are either outside of the United States or within the United States but are not eligible for the adjustment of status. An eligible applicant thus obtains an immigrant visa at one of the US consulates in his country of citizenship or permanent residency and then is admitted into the USA as an immigrant. When persons are admitted to the USA as immigrants, they do not need to go through adjustment of status process. In n
ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS PROCEDURES
Determination of Eligibility To begin the process of adjustment of status, the applicant must first determine their eligibility, i.e., whether they fall within a category of people who may, in the eyes of the law, seek adjustment of status. Under normal circumstances, the majority of immigrants become permanent residents through petitions submitted on their behalf by an immediate relative (spouse, or child over the age of 21, when the applicant is an adult; and parents when the applicant is a minor child), family member or employer. Other immigrants gain permanent residency as a result of obtaining an asylee or refugee status in the United States. Several other groups are eligible to seek adjustment of status to that of a permanent resident of the United States.
FILING FORM I-485, APPLICATION TO REGISTER PERMANENT RESIDENCY OR ADJUST STATUS
Individuals seeking the adjustment of status in the United States are required to file Form I485 with the USCIS. Several categories of immigrants, however, are required to submit a different form than Form I485. For detailed filing instructions, please refer to the USCIS website. The applicant must follow the filing instructions as outlined and submit all the required evidence with their application. The applicant's failure to follow the filing instructions and/or produce all the required evidence may cause a delay in the adjudication or denial of their application for adjustment of status.
APPLICATION SUPPORT CENTER APPOINTMENT (FINGERPRINTS)
Those applying for adjustment of status will be required to attend a biometrics collection appointment at an Application Support Center. The applicant will be notified by mail of the time and date of their appointment, as well as the address of an Application Support Center. The USCIS collects the biometrics information (i.e., fingerprints, photograph, and signature) for the purposes or running the mandatory background checks and the subsequent issuance of a Permanent Resident Card, Employment Authorization Document, or Advance Parole Document/Travel Document.
The USCIS may require the applicant and their dependents included in the Form I485 to attend an interview regarding their application for adjustment of status. During the interview, the applicant will be asked to present the original documents which were previously submitted as copies in support of the application for adjustment of status. The applicant must present the officer with all the passports and travel documents, as well as Form I94, regardless of t