Adjustment of Status for foreign nationals already living within the United States is done by filing a form I-485 with the USCIS. For foreign nationals living abroad, adjustment status can be applied for through the American consular office in their home nation.
Adjustment of Status applications require a number of steps and dutiful attention to detail. Any missteps along the way (missed appointments, etc.) can be construed as “abandonment” and the application process may be cancelled by the USCIS.
Specific requirements depend on the applicant’s particular status. Generally, they process is as follows:
1. Medical examination
An examination by a USCIS-approved civil surgeon must be conducted prior to submitting the I-485. The results are recorded by the surgeon on a form I-693, sealed in an envelope and are valid for one year following the date of the exam.
2. USCIS Filing
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
The USCIS issues another Notice of Action notifying the applicant for 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 the 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 NOA – Approval/Denial
USCIS informs 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. Issuance of Green Card/I-551
Form I-551 (green card) arrives in mail a few weeks later.