Adjustment of Status Checklist: Essential Items for a Successful Application

When navigating the process of becoming a permanent resident in the United States, the adjustment of status is a critical step for individuals already in the country on a temporary visa. This legal procedure allows for the transition from non-immigrant to immigrant status without the need to return to one’s home country for visa processing. Our checklist is devised to help applicants ensure they have all the necessary documents and information to make this potentially complex journey smoother.

The adjustment of status necessitates meticulous attention to detail and a thorough understanding of the required documentation. We have compiled a comprehensive list that not only outlines the essential forms, such as the Form I-485 and supporting evidence, but also provides guidance on additional materials that may be requested by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This well-organized checklist is a valuable tool to keep track of each step involved in the process and to avoid common pitfalls that can cause delays. Learn more about adjustment of status checklist

By preparing adequately and having the right documents in order, applicants enhance their chances of a successful adjustment of status application. Our goal is to facilitate an efficient preparation, so that applicants can approach the process with confidence, knowing they have addressed every item that USCIS may require to reach a decision on their application. Our insights come from a deep understanding of immigration procedures, aiming to make the transition as straightforward as possible for applicants.

Eligibility Requirements

To successfully adjust status and obtain permanent residency in the United States, we must meet specific eligibility requirements outlined by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). These include our current immigration status, legitimate grounds for applying, and various admissibility criteria.

Immigration Status

Our current immigration status plays a critical role in determining eligibility for adjustment of status. Key considerations include:

  • We must be physically present in the United States.
  • We should be on a temporary visa that allows adjustment of status.
  • Our current immigration status must not have expired, or if it has, we should qualify under sections 245(i) or 245(k) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Application Grounds

We need valid grounds to apply for adjustment of status. These may encompass:

  • Family-based petitions: such as being an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident.
  • Employment-based petitions: for those offered a job in the U.S. or with extraordinary abilities.
  • Refugee or asylum status: we must have been in the U.S. for at least one year after being granted asylum or as a refugee.
  • Special programs and categories: including the diversity lottery or special immigrant categories.

Admissibility Criteria

Meeting admissibility criteria ensures we do not have any factors that might prevent us from becoming a lawful permanent resident. These criteria include:

  • Health-related grounds: We must pass a medical examination and have all required vaccinations.
  • Criminal and security-related grounds: We must not have any disqualifying criminal convictions or pose a security risk.
  • Public charge: We must not be likely to become dependent on government assistance.
  • Unauthorized employment: We must not have been employed in the U.S. without authorization, with exceptions under certain cases.
  • Immigration violations: We must not have previous immigration violations or orders of removal, unless we have received a waiver.

Application Process

The adjustment of status application process is a multi-step journey that requires careful attention to detail. We’ll guide you through each component, ensuring you know what to expect along the way.

Forms and Documentation

To begin, we must gather and complete the necessary forms. The primary form is the Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. Supplemental forms may include Form I-765 for Employment Authorization and Form I-131 for Travel Documents if needed. Our documentation should include proof of our eligibility, such as:

  • A valid visa category
  • Passport photos
  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • Financial support evidence

Filing and Fees

Upon assembling our documents, we file our forms with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Each form has a respective filing fee:

Form Filing Fee
I-485 Varies by age and status
I-765 No fee with I-485*
I-131 No fee with I-485*

*Fees are waived when filed concurrently with Form I-485.

Biometrics Appointment

After filing, we’ll receive a notice for our biometrics appointment. At this appointment, USCIS will collect our fingerprints, photograph, and signature. This is essential for background checks and to create a secure identity record.

Interview and Decision

Finally, we typically must attend an interview at our local USCIS office. We should bring originals of all documents submitted with our application. Following the interview, we’ll receive a decision on our application. If approved, our new status as permanent residents becomes official.