Adjustment of Status (AOS)

Depending on the category you wish to adjust under, you may be eligible to have the petition filed at the same time that you file your Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. This is called “concurrent filing.” Immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen may be able to file concurrently.  Also, other certain classes of individuals who have a visa immediately available may be able to file concurrently.  Most categories, however, require that you first establish your eligibility for the immigrant category by having an approved petition before you are allowed to file Form I-485, for these categories you will not be able to file concurrently.

Determine Your Basis to Immigrate
The first step in the adjustment of status process is to determine if you fit into a specific immigrant category . Most immigrants become eligible for a green card (permanent residence) through a petition filed on your behalf by a family member or employer.  Others become permanent residents through first obtaining refugee or asylum status, or through a number of other special provisions.  To see the many different ways to get a green card, see the links to the left.

File the Immigrant Petition
When you know what category you believe best fits your situation, in most cases, you will need to have an immigrant petition filed on your behalf.

  • Family Based
    Family based categories require that a U.S. citizen or permanent resident relative file a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, for you.
  • Employment Based
    Employment based categories most often require the intending U.S. employer to file a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker, for you.  Entrepreneurs who intend to invest significant amounts of capital into a business venture in the United States may file Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur” on their own behalf.
  • Special Classes of Immigrants
    In some cases, certain immigrants may file a Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), and Special Immigrant, or have one filed on their behalf. To learn more about who may file a special immigrant petition, see the “Form I-360” link to the right.
  • Humanitarian Programs
    Most humanitarian programs do not require an underlying petition, although individuals may need to meet additional requirements before they can adjust status. For more information, see the “Humanitarian” link to the right.

Depending on the category you wish to adjust under, you may be eligible to have the petition filed at the same time that you file your Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. This is called “concurrent filing.” Immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen may be able to file concurrently.  Also, other certain classes of individuals who have a visa immediately available may be able to file concurrently.  Most categories, however, require that you first establish your eligibility for the immigrant category by having an approved petition before you are allowed to file Form I-485, for these categories you will not be able to file concurrently.

An Adjustment of Status (AOS) is an application filed by an alien who is physically in the United States who wants to adjust his or her non-immigrant status to immigrant status, i.e. permanent resident status, without having to return to their home country. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) permits this change of an individual’s immigration status, if the individual was inspected, admitted, or paroled into the United States and meet all of the required qualifications for a green card (permanent residence). In past cases of adjustment of status for employment-based immigration, the USCIS allowed an alien to file an I-485 adjustment of status application only after his or her immigration petition was approved. For details on immigration petitions, please click here.

However, effective July 31, 2002, the INS (now called the USCIS) published a new  rule allowing the concurrent filing of an I-485, adjustment of status application with an I-140, immigration petition (typically, EB-1, and EB-2 petitions) if visa numbers are available to the beneficiaries at the time of filing. For details on the concurrent filing of I-140 and I-485, please click here.

An alien who is outside of the United States may not apply for an adjustment of status. Instead, these individuals must go through Consular Processing at a U.S. Consulate abroad.In another word, if the alien does not reside in the United States; he/she cannot apply for adjustment of status in the U.S. and must go through immigrant visa processing at a U.S. consulate abroad instead. For details on Consular Processing, please visit Consular Processing pages.

Applying for adjustment of status signifies that the alien has reached the final step in getting a Green Card. Once the application is approved, the alien gains permanent resident status in the United States. In addition, there are three major benefits to applying for an I-485: while an I-485 application is pending, an alien may simultaneously apply for 1) Advance Parole, and 2) an EAD Work Permit and the alien has a legal stay in the US and does not need to maintain their non-immigrant status.

 
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