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AOS Mastery: Empowering Your Journey to Permanent Residency

Adjustment of Status
Table of Contents

Adjustment of Status (AOS) is a process in the United States through which certain non-immigrants can apply to change their immigration status to that of a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) without having to leave the country. This process is typically applicable to individuals who are already in the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa, such as a student or work visa, and wish to transition to permanent resident status.

Key points about Adjustment of Status (AOS) include:

  • Eligibility: Not all non-immigrant visa holders are eligible for AOS. Eligibility criteria depend on factors such as the type of visa, the relationship to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, and other immigration requirements.
  • Family-based and Employment-based Categories: AOS can be pursued through family-sponsored or employment-based categories. For example, if someone marries a U.S. citizen or is sponsored by an employer for a green card, they may be eligible for AOS.
  • I-485 Form: The primary form used in the Adjustment of Status process is Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. This form is submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  • Biometrics and Interviews: Applicants for AOS are typically required to undergo biometric fingerprinting and attend an interview at a USCIS office. The interview is a crucial step to assess the validity of the application and verify the applicant’s eligibility.
  • Work Authorization and Travel Documents: In some cases, AOS applicants may be eligible to apply for a work permit (Employment Authorization Document – EAD) and a travel document (Advance Parole) while their green card application is pending.
  • Processing Time: The processing time for AOS applications can vary, and it is subject to change based on factors such as the USCIS workload and policy changes.

It’s important for individuals considering Adjustment of Status to carefully review the eligibility criteria, gather the necessary documentation, and follow the application process outlined by USCIS. Consulting with an immigration attorney is often recommended to ensure that the process is navigated correctly and efficiently.

Who is eligible for AOS?

Eligibility for Adjustment of Status (AOS) in the United States depends on various factors, and the specific criteria may vary based on the immigrant category. Here are some common scenarios where individuals may be eligible for AOS:

  • Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens:
    • Spouses of U.S. citizens
    • Unmarried children (under 21) of U.S. citizens
    • Parents of U.S.
  • Family-sponsored Preferences:
    • Family-sponsored preference categories include unmarried sons and daughters of U.S.
  • Employment-based Categories:
    • Individuals who are sponsored for a green card by a U.S. employer through employment-based immigration categories.
  • Diversity Visa Lottery Winners:
    • Individuals who have won the Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery, which is a program that provides a limited number of visas through a lottery system to individuals from countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S.
  • Refugees and Asylees:
    • Refugees and asylees may be eligible to apply for AOS one year after being granted refugee or asylum status.
  • Certain Special Programs:
    • Certain individuals in special programs or categories, such as certain juvenile dependents of a court, or individuals granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) under specific circumstances.

It’s important to note that eligibility criteria can change, and there are additional requirements and considerations for each category. Additionally, individuals with certain immigration violations or criminal issues may face challenges in their eligibility for AOS.

Before pursuing Adjustment of Status, individuals are strongly encouraged to thoroughly review the specific eligibility criteria for their category, consult the latest information from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and, if necessary, seek guidance from an experienced immigration attorney to ensure accurate and up-to-date information.

Form I-485 Instructions

Here are general Form I-485 instructions for completing the form:

  • Download the Form:
    • Obtain the latest version of Form I-485 from the official USCIS website (
  • Read the Instructions:
    • Before filling out the form, carefully read the accompanying instructions provided by USCIS. The instructions provide detailed guidance on completing each section of the form.
  • Type or Print Legibly:
    • Use black ink and write or type legibly. Illegible forms may cause delays or denials.
  • Complete All Sections:
    • Fill out all sections of the form that apply to your situation. If a section does not apply, write “N/A” (not applicable).
  • Biographic Information:
    • Provide accurate biographic information, including your name, address, date of birth, and other personal details.
  • Eligibility Information:
    • Clearly indicate the basis of your eligibility for Adjustment of Status, whether it’s through family, employment, refugee/asylee status, or another category.
  • Supporting Documents:
    • Include all required supporting documents as specified in the instructions. This may include birth certificates, marriage certificates, passports, photographs, and other relevant documentation.
  • Fees:
    • Include the appropriate filing fee with the form. Check the USCIS website for the latest fee information.
  • Sign the Form:
    • The applicant must sign and date the form. If the applicant is under 14 years old, a parent or legal guardian may sign on their behalf.
  • Submit the Form:
    • Mail the completed and signed form, along with supporting documents and the required fee, to the address specified in the instructions.
  • Receipt Notice:
    • Once USCIS receives your application, they will issue a receipt notice. Keep this notice for your records, as it will include a receipt number that can be used to check the status of your case.

Always refer to the latest version of the form and instructions on the USCIS website, as procedures and requirements may change. If you have specific questions or concerns about your application, consider consulting with an immigration attorney for personalized guidance.

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