Adjustment of status is the process that you can use to apply for lawful permanent resident status (also known as applying for a Green Card) when you are present in the United States. This means that you may get a Green Card without having to return to your home country to complete visa processing. If you are outside of the United States, you must obtain your visa abroad through consular processing.
Steps for Adjustment of Status
Determine if you are eligible to apply for a Green Card
U.S. immigration laws provide a variety of ways for people to apply for a Green Card. The eligibility requirements for adjustment of status may vary depending on the immigrant category you are applying under. The first step in the adjustment of status process is to determine if you fit into a specific immigrant category.
Go to our Green Card Eligibility Categories page to see all the possible categories you can apply under. Once you find your immigrant category, you can then go to the specific page that lists what the eligibility requirements are.
You or someone else must file an immigrant petition for you (if applicable)
Most people who apply for a Green Card will need to complete at least two forms—an immigrant petition and a Green Card application. Someone else usually must file the petition for you (often referred to as sponsoring or petitioning for you), although you may be eligible to file for yourself in some cases. Here are the most common forms:
- Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
- Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker
- Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition
- Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal
- Other petitions include:
- Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant
- Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur
- Form I-918, Petition of U Nonimmigrant Status
- Form I-929, Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U-1 Nonimmigrant
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Most categories require you to have an approved immigrant petition before you can file a Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. However, some categories may allow you to file your Form I-485 at the same time that the immigrant petition is filed or while the immigrant petition is pending. This is called “concurrent filing.” For more information on concurrent filing, see our Concurrent Filing page or the specific page for your eligibility category.
Some categories do not require an underlying immigrant petition (for example, Cuban Adjustment Act). Go to our Green Card Eligibility Categories page to determine if an immigrant petition is or is not required for each category
Check visa availability (if applicable)
In general, you may not file your Form I-485 until a visa is available in your category. For information on visa availability, see the Visa Availability and Priority Dates page, the Adjustment of Status Filing Charts, and the Department of State website to view the Visa Bulletin.
For exceptions to the visa availability requirement, please check your specific immigrant category for more information.
File Form I-485
If you are in the United States and are eligible for adjustment of status, you may file a Form I-485. Go to the Form I-485 instructions and the web page for your immigrant category for instructions on how to complete your application and properly file it with USCIS.
If you are applying to adjust your status to lawful permanent resident under section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), you must complete both Form I‑485 and Form I-485 Supplement A, Adjustment of Status Under Section 245(i).
Go to your Application Support Center appointment
After you file your Form I-485, we will mail you a notice for your biometrics services appointment at a local Application Support Center (ASC) to provide your fingerprints, photograph, and/or signature. The notice will include the date, time, and location of the appointment. We use your biometrics to verify your identity and conduct required background and security checks.
At your ASC appointment, we will ask you to sign an acknowledgment certifying, for example, that you reviewed all the information in your application and that all the information in your application was complete, true, and correct at the time you filed it. If you do not sign the acknowledgment or miss your ASC appointment without properly notifying us and requesting that we reschedule your appointment, we may deny your Form I-485.
Go to your interview (if applicable)
USCIS officials will review your case to determine whether an interview is necessary. If we schedule you for an interview you will be required to appear at a USCIS office to answer questions under oath or affirmation regarding your Form I‑485. We will send you a notice with the date, time, and location of the interview.
When you come to your interview, you (and the family member who filed the immigrant petition for you, if applicable) must bring originals of all documentation submitted with the Form I-485 application. This includes passports, official travel documents, and Form I-94, regardless if they are expired
Respond to request for additional evidence (if applicable)
You may get a request for additional evidence if:
- You did not submit all the required evidence;
- The evidence you submitted is no longer valid; or
- The officer needs more information to determine your eligibility.
The request will indicate what evidence is needed. The request will also tell you where to send the evidence and the date by
when you must respond to the request. If you do not respond to the request timely, the officer may deny your Form I-485. Not all applicants receive a request for additional evidence.
Check your case status
You may check your case status online or call our USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283 to check the status of your Form I-485. For people who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability: TTY 800-767-1833. Be prepared to provide the USCIS representative with specific information about your application, such as your receipt number, A-Number, name, and date of birth.
Receive a decision
When USCIS makes a decision on your application, we will send you a written decision notice.
If your application is approved, you generally will receive an approval notice first and then receive your actual Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) a little later.
If an application is denied, the decision notice will tell you the reason(s) why your application is denied and whether you may appeal the decision. Generally, you cannot appeal the decision to deny an adjustment of status application. Even if you cannot appeal the denial, you may still be eligible to file a motion to reopen or reconsider. Both appeals and motions are filed on Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion.
Regardless of your individual circumstances, working with an experienced US Immigration Change of Status attorney is an important choice you can make to help improve your visa status. Call 855 461 0009 to speak with a US Immigration Change of Status attorney today for a Free Immigration Change of Status law consultation.