What is Adjustment of Status?
Adjustment of Status (AOS) is the process by which certain nonimmigrants who are already present in the United States can apply to become lawful permanent residents (green card holders) without having to leave the country. This process is used by individuals who are eligible to obtain permanent residency based on family relationships, employment, refugee or asylum status, and other specific categories.
The Adjustment of Status process allows eligible individuals to transition from their current nonimmigrant status (such as a fiancé(e) on a K-1 visa or a student on an F-1 visa) to permanent resident status without leaving the U.S. and going through consular processing abroad. Here’s an overview of how the Adjustment of Status process generally works:
- To be eligible for Adjustment of Status, you must typically have an approved immigrant petition (such as Form I-130 for family-sponsored applicants or Form I-140 for employment-based applicants). Your priority date (the date the petition was filed) must be current, which means a visa is available in your category and country of chargeability.
- File Form I-485:
- Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, is the primary form used for Adjustment of Status. This form is filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- Biometrics Appointment:
- After filing Form I-485, you will receive a notice for a biometrics appointment. This appointment involves providing fingerprints, photographs, and a signature.
- Work and Travel Authorization:
- While your Adjustment of Status application is pending, you can also apply for work authorization (Form I-765) and, in some cases, advance parole (Form I-131) to travel outside the U.S. while your application is processed.
- Interview (if Required):
- In many cases, USCIS will schedule an interview as part of the Adjustment of Status process. The interview is designed to verify the information in your application and assess your eligibility for permanent residency.
- After the interview (if required) and all necessary background checks are completed, USCIS will make a decision on your Adjustment of Status application. If approved, you will receive your green card.
It’s important to note that the Adjustment of Status process can be complex and the requirements can vary based on your specific circumstances. Additionally, not everyone is eligible to adjust their status from within the U.S., and some individuals might need to go through consular processing abroad.
For the most accurate and up-to-date information on Adjustment of Status and its requirements, consult the official USCIS website or seek guidance from an immigration attorney.
What is the Form I-485 filing fee?
The filing fee for Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, can vary based on several factors, including the category under which you are applying for adjustment of status and your age. However, please note that USCIS fees are subject to change, and it’s important to refer to the most current USCIS fee schedule for the latest information.
As of my last update, here’s a general breakdown of the filing fees for Form I-485 based on common categories:
- Applicants Under 14 Years of Age:
- The fee for applicants under 14 years of age (filing with at least one parent) was typically a reduced fee.
- Applicants Ages 14 to 78:
- For applicants ages 14 to 78, the filing fee for Form I-485 typically included the application fee and the biometric services fee.
- Applicants Ages 79 and Older:
- The fee for applicants aged 79 and older was typically a reduced fee.
It’s important to note that these are general categories, and fees can vary based on the specific circumstances and eligibility category. Additionally, USCIS may offer fee exemptions or reduced fees in certain cases based on eligibility criteria.
For the most accurate and up-to-date information on the filing fee for Form I-485, I recommend visiting the USCIS website’s “Check Filing Fees” page and specifically looking for the fee associated with Form I-485. Always refer to the official USCIS fee schedule to ensure that you have the correct fee information before submitting your application.
What is Form I-485 processing time?
The processing time for Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, can vary significantly based on various factors, including the USCIS service center handling your case, the category of adjustment of status, the volume of applications being processed, and other external factors.
On average, the processing time for Form I-485 can range from several months to over a year. Here are some factors that can influence the processing time:
- USCIS Service Center:
- The processing time can vary depending on which USCIS service center is handling your case. Different service centers might have different caseloads and processing times.
- Category of Adjustment of Status:
- The processing time can vary based on the category under which you are applying for adjustment of status, such as family-sponsored, employment-based, diversity visa lottery, refugee/asylee, and more.
- Priority Date:
- For family-sponsored and employment-based cases, the priority date (the date the petition was filed) is crucial. Your priority date must be current according to the Visa Bulletin to move forward with your adjustment of status application.
- Background Checks and Adjudication:
- USCIS conducts background checks and reviews all the information provided in your application. Delays can occur if there are any issues that require further investigation.
- Interview (if Required):
- In some cases, USCIS may require an interview as part of the adjustment of status process. The scheduling and completion of the interview can add to the overall processing time.
- Requests for Additional Evidence (RFE):
- If USCIS determines that additional evidence is needed to process your application, they will issue a Request for Evidence (RFE). Responding to an RFE can extend the processing time.
- USCIS Workload and Policies:
- USCIS workload, policy changes, and other external factors can also impact processing times.
To get the most accurate and up-to-date information on current Form I-485 processing times, I recommend visiting the USCIS website’s “Check Processing Times” page and entering the specific form and service center. This will provide you with the latest estimate of how long it might take for your I-485 application to be processed.
Keep in mind that processing times can vary, and it’s advisable to regularly check the USCIS website for the most current information and to stay informed about any updates or changes that could affect the processing time of your Form I-485.