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Adjustment of Status Guide

Discover seamless Adjustment of Status solutions with Din Law Group.

The United States is a land of opportunities and dreams for immigrants from all over the world. However, navigating the complex immigration system to achieve permanent residency status can be challenging. 

That’s where the Adjustment of Status (AOS) process comes into play.

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What is Adjustment of Status?

Adjustment of Status (AOS) is a legal process that allows an eligible individual to become a permanent resident of the United States without leaving the country. 

This adjustment means you can transition from a non-immigrant visa status to a green card holder while staying within the U.S. For many immigrants, this process serves as a more convenient alternative to consular processing, which requires applying for a visa outside the U.S.

The significance of AOS cannot be overstated. Achieving permanent residency through this process opens the door to numerous benefits, such as the ability to work freely in the U.S. and the security of knowing you have a stable immigration status.

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Understanding the Eligibility Criteria

Before you can apply for Adjustment of Status, you need to meet specific eligibility criteria. These requirements vary depending on family relationships, employment status, and special categories.

Family Relationships

One of the most common paths to a green card is through a family relationship. Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, including spouses, children under 21, and parents, are typically eligible. Other family members may also qualify but often face longer waiting times due to visa category limitations.

Employment-Based Eligibility

If you have a job offer from a U.S. employer, you may qualify to adjust your status under an employment-based category. Your employer will usually need to file a petition on your behalf, and you must demonstrate that no qualified U.S. workers are available for the position.

Special Categories

Certain special categories of immigrants, such as refugees, asylees, and victims of human trafficking or abuse, may be eligible for Adjustment of Status. These categories often have additional requirements and benefits tailored to their unique situations.

Inspected and Admitted

To be eligible for Adjustment of Status, you must have been inspected and admitted or paroled into the United States. This means you entered the country lawfully through a recognized port of entry and were authorized to stay. 

Unauthorized entrants who entered the U.S. without inspection or proper authorization generally do not qualify for Adjustment of Status unless they fall under specific exceptions or have certain waivers. They will need to leave the U.S. and apply through consular processing.

Maintaining Lawful Status

Another critical requirement is maintaining lawful status. You must not have violated the terms of your non-immigrant visa by overstaying or engaging in unauthorized work. 

Failure to comply with your visa terms can severely impact your eligibility for Adjustment of Status, though there are some exceptions for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and other special categories.

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Exploring the Adjustment of Status Process

Understanding the Adjustment of Status process is crucial to ensure a smooth application. Here is a step-by-step breakdown:

Steps To Obtain Adjustment of Status - Din Law Group

Step 1: Filing the Form I-485

The first step in the AOS process is filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. Ensure you complete the form accurately and include all required information to avoid delays.

Step 2: Gathering Supporting Evidence

Supporting evidence is vital to your Adjustment of Status application. This typically includes proof of your current immigration status, proof of your lawful entry into the U.S. (e.g., Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record), evidence of your eligibility category, and other personal documentation such as birth certificates and marriage licenses.

Step 3: Attending the Biometrics Appointment

After submitting your application, you will receive a notice for a biometrics appointment. During this appointment, your fingerprints, photograph, and signature will be collected for background checks.

Step 4: Interview Preparation

An interview is a standard part of the Adjustment of Status process. Prepare thoroughly by reviewing your application and gathering any additional documents that may be requested. Being well-prepared can make a significant difference in the outcome of your application.

Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

Applying for Adjustment of Status can be complex, and mistakes can lead to delays or even denials.

Here are some common pitfalls to watch out for:

Incomplete Forms

One of the most frequent mistakes is submitting incomplete or incorrectly filled-out forms. Double-check every section of your application to ensure it is accurate and complete.

Missing Deadlines

Failing to meet deadlines can jeopardize your AOS application. Keep track of all important dates and submit any requested information promptly.

Inadequate Documentation

Providing insufficient or incorrect supporting documentation can lead to application rejection. Ensure you gather all necessary documents and ensure they are valid and up-to-date.

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The Role of an Immigration Attorney

Navigating the Adjustment of Status process without professional help can be daunting. An experienced immigration attorney can provide invaluable assistance in several ways:

Comprehensive Guidance

An immigration attorney can offer comprehensive guidance throughout the AOS process, ensuring you understand each step and what is required.

Legal Expertise

With a deep understanding of immigration laws and regulations, an attorney can help you avoid common pitfalls and address any legal issues.

Personalized Support

At Din Law Group, PLLC, we pride ourselves on offering personalized support. We limit our caseload to ensure each client receives the attention and care they deserve.

Adjustment of Status - The Role of an Immigration Attorney

Adjustment of Status FAQs

The length of the Adjustment of Status process can vary depending on several factors, including your eligibility category and the current workload of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Generally, the process can take anywhere from several months to several years. You can see the current processing times on the USCIS website or speak to one of our attorneys.

Traveling outside the U.S. while your AOS application is pending can be risky and may impact your application. Generally, you must apply for and obtain an Advance Parole document before leaving the country. This document allows you to re-enter the U.S. without jeopardizing your pending application. Departing without Advance Parole could result in the abandonment of your application.

Yes, a medical examination conducted by a USCIS-approved civil surgeon is a mandatory part of the Adjustment of Status process. The medical exam ensures that you do not have any health conditions that might make you inadmissible to the United States. You must submit Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, as part of your application.

Yes, you can apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) while your Adjustment of Status application is being processed. An EAD allows you to work legally in the U.S. while you await the decision on your AOS application. To apply, you must submit Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.

If your Adjustment of Status application is denied, USCIS will send you a notice explaining the reasons for the denial. Depending on the circumstances, you may have the option to appeal the decision or file a motion to reopen or reconsider your case. Consulting with an immigration attorney is highly recommended to explore your options and determine the best course of action.

Schedule a Free Adjustment of Status Consultation

Adjusting your status to become a permanent resident in the U.S. is a significant step towards securing your future. By understanding the Adjustment of Status process, meeting eligibility criteria, and avoiding common pitfalls, you can increase your chances of success.

If you’re considering applying for Adjustment of Status, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. At Din Law Group, PLLC, we are committed to helping immigrants achieve their dreams. Schedule a free consultation today to discuss your case and explore your legal options. Feel free to reach out and take the next step toward a brighter future.

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