Adjustment of status
Adjustment of status in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) of the United States refers to the legal process of conferring permanent residency upon an alien who is a nonpermanent resident, i.e., a refugee, asylum seeker, visa holder, and so forth. The status of a refugee is automatically adjusted (enhanced) to that of a lawful permanent resident (LPR) after one year, and that can only occur while such refugee is physically present in the United States. In all other cases, the alien must actually file an application for adjustment of status and wait for the approval, which could take between one year and several years.
In order to apply for permanent residency, the applicant must not be "removable" from the United States. If he or she is the beneficiary of an approved immigrant petition (family or employment-based), the priority date must be current (if applicable). The application (Form I-485) must be accompanied by a sealed envelope from a designated civil surgeon who performed a medical examination on the alien applicant. This envelope must be accompanied by Form I-693.
Once the application package (I-485, I-693, and the filing fees) are received, the applicant will receive the receipt number. This receipt number can be used to track the case online. In most employment-based applications, the petition will be approved within four months and a green card will be automatically mailed. In some cases, a face to face interview is required. This is often done in marriage-based applications to ensure that the marriage is bona fide, meaning genuine and not a sham.
After filing the adjustment of status forms, the application will be considered abandoned if the applicant leaves the United States (a few exceptions apply). This can be mitigated by filing for an advance parole (form I-131) and an Employment Authorization Document (Form I-765). Once the advance parole and Form I-765 are approved, the applicant will receive the Employment Authorization Document which will also serve as advance parole (if endorsed as such).
In exceptional cases when the adjustment of status is approved, but an immigrant visa number is not immediately available, the approval will be postponed indefinitely until such a number is available. This can be the case when the applicable priority date retrogresses during the time of adjudication. In such cases, it is common that the Form I-765 and advance parole are renewed every year.
- 8 U.S.C. § 1159 (titled "Adjustment of status of refugees").
- Cancellation of removal and adjustment of status for certain nonpermanent residents"). (titled "
- nonimmigrant to that of person admitted for permanent residence"). ("Adjustment of status of
- Matter of J-H-J-, 26 I&N Dec. 563 (BIA 2015).
- No. 16-4199, p.11 (3d Cir. Sept. 6, 2018) ("Section 1227 defines '[d]eportable aliens,' a synonym for removable aliens.... So § 1227(a)(1) piggybacks on § 1182(a) by treating grounds of inadmissibility as grounds for removal as well."). ("The term 'removable' means—(A) in the case of an alien not admitted to the United States, that the alien is inadmissible under section 1182 of this title, or (B) in the case of an alien admitted to the United States, that the alien is deportable under section 1227 of this title."); see also Tima v. Attorney General of the United States, ___ F.3d ___, ___,
- "I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Retrieved September 15, 2018.