What is Adjustment of Status? A green card

Adjustment of Status is the process through which an immigrant applies for lawful permanent resident status from within the United States. Once the application is approved, the immigrant (beneficiary) is granted an I-551 permanent resident card (more commonly referred to as a green card). Following receipt of the green card, the beneficiary receives the right to reside and be employed within the United States. The majority of adjustment of status applications are granted through family relations or through an employer.

Adjustment of Status Processing Times

Adjustment of status processing times have increased significantly in recent years, due to COVID-19 delays and the former Trump administration’s restrictive legal immigration policies.

Some of the factors that can affect your timeline are:

  • The current USCIS workload
  • Errors on the application or missing documentation
  • Whether an interview is required by USCIS
  • Whether the applicant is applying from a high-fraud area
  • Most adjudication delays seem to stem from errors made on the government forms or evidential documents that are missing from the initial filing

Typical Adjustment of Status Timeline:

1. First Notice of Action (NOA): 1 to 5 weeks
After you file the I-485, you will receive notification that the USCIS has received it.

2. Second NOA (Biometrics Appointment Letter): 2-8 weeks
Applicant receives a NOA requiring them to attend a biometrics appointment and have their fingerprints taken.

3. Third NOA (Biometrics Appointment): 4-10 weeks
If an interview is required with USCIS, the applicant will be informed of this with another Notice of Action.

4. Approval Notice 5-10 months
If approved, the applicant can visit their local USCIS office to have their passport stamped with a temporary green card stamp.

5. Receipt of Green Card 1-4 weeks

Applicant receives their green card from USCIS 1 to 4 weeks after approval of the adjustment of status.

Please note that the above timelines are averages based on our experience with over 60,000 customers. Timelines are not guaranteed.

Adjustment of Status Costs and Fees

Government fees are fixed, but other adjustment of status costs will vary depending on each applicant’s specific needs. Standard filing fees as of May, 2021 are as follows:

Fee Description Amount
USCIS I-485 Filing Fee $1,140
Biometrics Fee $85
Total $1,225

Note that there will be an additional filing fee of $535 if the AOS applicant is concurrently filing an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative.

Assistance Amount
If you use RapidVisa $499-$599
If you hire a typical attorney $2,000-$6,000
If you don't get assistance $0

Adjustment of Status Costs and Fees Breakdown
USCIS Filing Fee - $1,130
This fee covers the cost of the initial filing of the application. This payment accompanies the Form I-485 when applying for an adjustment of status.
Biometrics Fee - $85
This fee covers the cost of the applicant’s fingerprinting appointment at a USCIS-approved facility. The fee for biometrics and the fee for the I-485 filing are paid simultaneously with a single check or money order.
1-130 Petition for Alien Relative - $560
This fee only applies to those filing their I-485 applications and I-130 petitions at the same time (concurrently).
Miscellaneous Costs – Varies

  • Costs of Acquiring Evidence: Tracking down court records, bank statements, tax forms and original birth certificates can all add to the overall cost.
  • Passport Photos: Two passport-style photos are required with the initial I-485 adjustment of status application.
  • Translation Services: If the applicant needs documents translated or requires the assistance of a translator at an interview, this could add to the cost
  • Waivers: If the applicant is disqualified for adjustment due to medical, legal or any other situational factors, an I-485 Supplement A under 245(i) must be filed. This alone adds $1,000 to the adjustment of status costs and usually requires the assistance of an attorney.

The Adjustment of Status Process

The adjustment of status (AOS) process consists of a number of steps that can take months to complete.
The basic process is as follows:

  1. Medical Examination - Conducted by a USCIS-approved surgeon prior to submitting Form I-485 (Adjustment of Status application). The results are recorded by the surgeon on Form I-693 (Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record), sealed in an envelope and are valid for one year following the date of the exam.
  2. USCIS Filing – I-485 Adjustment of Status application mailed to USCIS along with all supporting documentation.
  3. Acknowledgement of Filing – After mailing in the application, the applicant will receive a notice of action (NOA) Form I-797C acknowledging the filing of the I-485 and any other needed actions. If no requests for evidence or other documents are made, no additional actions are needed.
  4. Biometrics Appointment - USCIS issues another Notice of Action notifying the applicant of a biometrics (fingerprinting) appointment, indicating the date, time, and place. Failure to make the biometrics appointment can result in cancelation (abandonment) of the application by USCIS.
  5. Adjustment of Status Interview – Some applicants will receive a Notice of Action requiring them to attend an adjustment interview with a USCIS officer. Updated documentation must be brought to the interview. Many applicants will not have to be interviewed provided that all their documentation is in order.
  6. Final Notice of Action – USCIS informs the applicant when adjustment of status has been either approved or denied. At this point, the applicant may receive a temporary green card stamp in their passport.
  7. Green Card – If Adjustment of Status is approved, the I-551 green card is mailed to the applicant.

AOS Eligibility Requirements

Before starting the adjustment of status process, you’ll first need to determine if you are eligible. In order to be eligible to adjust your status, you must:

  • Fulfill all the requirements of your particular visa circumstance, whether it be family-based (spouse, child or parent of US citizen), employment-based (employer or entrepreneurial) or based upon entry to the United States on a K-1 fiancé visa and subsequent marriage to the original petitioner
  • Have maintained lawful admission and residency in the United States
  • Have not been involved in unlawful activities including criminal detainments or convictions or association with terrorist activity
  • The medical examination did not reveal a Class A medical condition
  • Not been found working illegally in the United States

Note that waivers are available for some of these exceptions. Please consult the Adjustment of Status Eligibility Requirements page for more information.
Forms Required

The number of forms required to file vary according to the applicant’s classification and status. Generally, the following documents are needed.

Form Purpose
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
G-325A Biographic Information
I-94 Nonimmigrant Arrival/Departure Record
I-693 Medical Examination of Aliens Seeking Adjustment of Status
I-131 Travel Permit/Advance Parole (if necessary)
1-765 Employment Authorization/Work Permit (if necessary)
1-130 Petition for Alien Relative (if AOS is family-based)
I-864 Affidavit of Support (if necessary)
G-1145 E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance (optional)

Adjustment of Status Interview

In some cases, an interview with the USCIS will be required. In other cases, the interview will be waived. The interview will be conducted at a local USCIS office and the applicant must bring all relevant documents and identification cards.

The interview is intended to update all the information that was submitted by the applicant and to review any discrepancies that were noted by the reviewing officers.

Approval/Denial of Application and Receipt of Green Card
If the I-485 adjustment of status is approved, the applicant will be notified and will receive his or her I-551 green card within 1 to 2 weeks. Lawful permanent residency begins from the date the application was approved.

Continuing Path to Citizenship

Securing lawful permanent residency in the United States is just one more step on the path to United States citizenship. Five years after receiving residency, the individual is allowed to apply for naturalization. If all criteria is met, the resident then gains the full benefits of being a US citizen.

Get help applying for your adjustment of status today!