What is Adjustment of Status?
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
Adjustment of Status Timeline
The adjustment of status process usually takes a year or more to complete. It depends on whether or not your sponsor is a U.S. citizen or a green card holder, and where in the U.S. you're applying from, since some field offices take a lot longer to process applications. Learn more about the adjustment of status timeline and steps.
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:
|USCIS I-485 Filing Fee||$1,140|
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.
|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 numerous steps, starting with the medical exam and ending with your green card getting approved. Here are the key steps involved.
Adjustment of Status Requirements
Before applying for to adjust your status, you first need to check if you are eligible and that you fulfill certain requirements.
Adjustment of Status Disqualifiers
Some situations can disqualify a foreign national from filing for an adjustment of status. Please note that barriers to application do not apply to every adjustment status situation and that certain waivers, technical inadmissibility scenarios or other forms of exception can override these disqualifiers.
In general, the following situations will disqualify an alien from Adjustment of Status:
- A foreign national who has been caught workingin the United States illegally (without authorization).
- A foreign national who applies for adjustment who is not in lawful immigration status (overstayed, etc.)
- A foreign national who has left the United States without a travel permit (Advance Parole) or who was not inspected through immigration.
- A foreign national who entered the United States without a visa.
- A foreign national who is involved in terrorist activity.
- A foreign national who entered the United States under a nonimmigrant fiancé visa but who failed to marry the US citizen who filed the petition.
- A foreign national who entered the United States as a child of a fiancé but whose parent did not marry the US citizen who filed the petition.
- A foreign national who has failed to maintain lawful immigrant status.
- A foreign national who last entered the US as a nonimmigrant crewman.
- A foreign national who is not a Canadian citizen and was admitted to the Mariana Islands or Guam under the Visa Waiver Program.
- A foreign national who was admitted as a nonimmigrant visitor without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program.
- A foreign national who has failed to meet the terms of his nonimmigrant status.
- A foreign national who is already a conditional permanent resident.
Again, please note that waivers or other forms of appeal/relief may override the disqualifiers noted above. If a waiver for any of these situations is required an I-485 Supplement A under Section 245(i) must be filed.
Adjustment of Status Forms
The number of forms required to file vary according to the applicant’s classification and status. Generally, the following documents are needed.
|I-485||Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status|
|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.
Adjustment of Status Checklist
- Attend medical exam conducted by USCIS-approved civil surgeon
- Receive I-693 medical examination findings in sealed envelope
- Form I-485
- Form I-693
- Form G-1145
- Birth certificate
- Form I-131 (optional)
- Form I-175 (optional)
- Copy of passport biography page
- Copy of passport visa history
- Color passport-style photographs (2)
- $1,225 check or money order for filing and biometric fees
- Form I-130 (if family-based)
- Form I-140 (if employment-based)
- Appropriate filing fees for I-130 or I-140 (if needed)
- Employment letter (if needed)
- Any necessary marriage, divorce or other certified legal documents
- Send via trackable mail or courier service
- Await Notice of Action for biometrics appointment
- Attend biometrics appointment
- Await Notice of Action for an interview, if necessary
- Await application approval or denial letter
- If approved, go to your local USCIS field office to get passport stamped with temporary green card
- Receive permanent green card, Form I-551 in the mail
Please note that if you use RapidVisa for your AOS, we will provide you with a customized, more detailed adjustment of status checklist of items specific to your situation.
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.