Adjustment of Status: Navigating the USCIS Process

Adjustment of Status (AOS) is a vital process for non-U.S. citizens residing in the United States, enabling them to apply for lawful permanent resident status or a Green Card. This procedure is integral for those seeking to live and work indefinitely in the U.S. and requires a deep understanding of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations for a successful application. Root Law Group emphasizes the importance of thorough preparation, understanding of eligibility criteria, and awareness of potential challenges in navigating this complex process, highlighting the value of professional legal guidance to enhance the chances of a successful outcome.

Understanding Adjustment of Status

Eligibility Criteria

Before diving into the application process, it’s vital to understand who is eligible for Adjustment of Status. Generally, the following conditions apply:
  • Current Presence in the U.S.: The applicant must be physically present in the United States.
  • Lawful Entry: The applicant should have entered the U.S. legally, with few exceptions.
  • Immigrant Visa Availability: An immigrant visa must be immediately available to the applicant at the time of filing.

Categories for Adjustment

The categories you’ve listed for Adjustment of Status (AOS) in the United States cover the primary pathways through which individuals can apply to become lawful permanent residents. Here’s an evaluation of each category:
  • Family-Based: This is one of the most common routes for AOS. It applies to immediate relatives of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents (LPRs). Immediate relatives include spouses, unmarried children under 21, and parents of U.S. citizens (if the citizen is over 21). This category often has a higher priority in the immigration process and typically doesn’t face annual numerical limits.
  • Employment-Based: This category is for individuals who are offered permanent employment in the U.S. It’s an important route for skilled workers, professionals, and certain other employment categories. There are numerical limits on visas in this category, and a labor certification process is often required to ensure that hiring a foreign national will not adversely affect U.S. workers.
  • Refugee/Asylee Status: Refugees or asylees can apply for AOS one year after being granted their status. This category recognizes the need to provide a path to permanent residency for those who have fled persecution or cannot return to their home country due to fear of persecution. It’s a vital humanitarian aspect of U.S. immigration policy.

The Application Process

The USCIS Adjustment of Status process involves several key steps:

  • Determine Your Basis to Immigrate: This is a crucial first step as it defines the pathway you’ll take. The U.S. immigration system has various categories like family-based, employment-based, refugee or asylee status, and others. Choosing the correct category is essential for a successful application.
  • File the Immigrant Petition: This involves having a sponsor (family member or employer) file a petition on your behalf. The form varies depending on the immigration category (I-130 for family-based, I-140 for employment-based). This step is foundational because it establishes your eligibility for immigration.
  • Check Visa Availability: For most categories, there’s a limit on the number of visas issued each year. The Visa Bulletin from the U.S. Department of State provides information on visa availability. This step can be a waiting game, as some categories have significant backlogs.
  • File Form I-485: This is important for adjusting your status to a permanent resident. It’s only possible when a visa becomes available in your category. This form is comprehensive and requires detailed information about your background.
  • Attend Biometrics Appointment: The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) uses this appointment to collect your fingerprints, photo, and signature. This is part of the background check process to ensure applicants meet security and legal criteria.
  • Interview: Not all categories require an interview, but when they do, it’s a pivotal part of the process. The interview is conducted by a USCIS officer who assesses the veracity of your application and eligibility for immigration.
  • Wait for Decision: The final decision is made by USCIS. This step requires patience, as processing times can vary greatly depending on the category and the current workload of USCIS.
Overall, this process is thorough and detailed, reflecting the complexities of U.S. immigration law. Each step requires careful attention to detail and adherence to legal requirements. Applicants often benefit from legal advice or assistance to navigate this process successfully.

Required Documentation

Applicants must submit several documents, including but not limited to:

  • Form I-485.
  • Birth certificate.
  • Passport-style photos.
  • Evidence of lawful entry into the U.S.
  • Medical examination results.

Common Challenges and Solutions

Processing Delays

USCIS processing times can vary widely. To mitigate delays:
  • Submit Complete Applications: Ensure all required documents are included.
  • Stay Informed: Regularly check your case status online.

Legal Complexities

The legal intricacies of AOS can be daunting. Consider consulting with an immigration attorney for guidance.

A Complex yet Vital Process

Adjustment of Status is essential for many seeking permanent residency in the United States. Navigating this process can be challenging, but with thorough preparation and understanding of USCIS requirements, a successful outcome is achievable. Each case is unique; therefore, consulting with legal experts or USCIS is highly recommended for personalized advice. Root Law Group has experienced immigration attorneys who can help avoid pitfalls, ensure compliance with current laws, and streamline the application process, increasing the chances of a favorable outcome.



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Alexey PankinAlexey Pankin
04:44 04 Dec 23
I recently had the pleasure of working with the incredible lawyers at Root Law Group, notably Daria. From my initial consultation until the successful resolution of my case, their expertise, professionalism, and dedication made a profound impact.
Zara IsmailovaZara Ismailova
14:11 30 Nov 23
Mihran StepanyanMihran Stepanyan
19:09 14 Nov 23
Working with this highly professional team made difficult and long process of applying for EB-1 GreenCard easy, clear and fast. I felt calm and confidently on every step. I really appreciate all the hard work and patience that Khaled Kaoud shared while working with me. He was always available and answered every possible question that I ever had. Also thanks to Igor, William and Daria for help and support during the working on my case. Working with Root Law Group was the best decision I did. And I undoubtedly recommend this professional, reliable and perfect team!
Georgi GrigoryanGeorgi Grigoryan
22:31 07 Nov 23
I am a business owner and operator abroad and I came to Root Law Group looking for immigration help. They told me that I was able to apply for EB2-NIW and they worked on my case nonstop. Even when USCIS requested more evidence, Daniel guided me throughout the entire process and helped ease my worries and concerns was an extremely helpful paralegal. After months of waiting, I was granted the I-140 Approval! I am extremely thankful for all the work Root Law did for me and super excited for adjustment of status when I become current. I look forward to working with Daniel, William and the entire team when that time comes and highly recommend their immigration services! This team cares and will try everything possible for your needs.
grigory ioffegrigory ioffe
18:05 01 Nov 23
I recently received approval for my visa application and would like to express my gratitude to Root Law, especially Igor for his excellent management, and Khaled for his legal assistance and guiding through the whole process.I want to acknowledge that despite several other lawyers suggesting that I had no chance of obtaining the visa, these professionals made it possible.
Artyom DavtyanArtyom Davtyan
23:21 20 Oct 23
Root Law's team is great, they did our case in just two months.Especially Igor and Khaled, thanks guys for the professionalism, care and dedication to your work. You studies every detail of the case and due to it it was done quickly.Will advise Root Law to my friends and relatives for sure
Melanie HusryMelanie Husry
01:32 28 Sep 23
After seeing such amazing reviews on Root Law Group I just knew I had to work with them. All the attorneys here are amazing and so helpful. I’m so happy with myexperience and for anyone looking for fast and helpful attorneys this is your place! Thank you so much for your patience with me Root Law Group it was a pleasure being your client!

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