When you are applying for a green card in the U.S., you must apply for adjustment of status regardless of your current immigration status (even if it violates the law). With a status adjustment, your visa petition will be transferred to the USCIS office in which you reside (specifically where you live or plan to live after receiving permanent residence).
This way, the petitioner only has to deal with one government office instead of two when applying for green cards.
Adjusting status also speeds up processing time because the immigrant won’t have to travel abroad for consular processing which takes about 6 months.
The application process has become faster and easier than ever before thanks to new laws that protect immigrants from losing their place in line or paying unnecessary fees. For example, the fee used to be $1,000 and is now only $230.
How Long Does it Take?
What is your immigration status? If you are inside or outside of United States, determine whether you can apply for an adjustment of status here or if you must visit the consulate in your home country.
The latter process will likely take longer as it typically takes 9-11 months (in addition to lost time during travel). Prepare yourself before applying as well; make sure that all paperwork and forms have been gathered and proofread before the submission day.
Will I Receive a Green Card Right Away?
Most immigrants become permanent residents after their application has been approved (which typically happens within 3 months). However, immigrants that fall under the “substitute” categories may have to wait until a visa number is available.
This means that they only get their green card when someone else’s immigrant petition has been approved, and visa numbers are issued in order according to preference.
What If I’m Already Living in the United States With My Fiance on a K1 Visa?
If you entered on a K1 Visa but did not adjust your status, then you will have to leave the country once your time as a visitor expires (typically within 90 days).
If you are married to a US citizen, your visa will be extended for 90 days after the marriage (and no more than 6 months total in the United States). You can then file for an adjustment of status.
What Do I Need to Apply for an Adjustment of Status?
You will need all forms provided by USCIS alongside their specific instructions. The process is explained on the website http://www.uscis.gov/i-485 along with evidence that proves you are eligible to adjust your status (I-693 Medical Examination Report and photographs, police certificates from any country you have lived in for over 12 months since age 16, etc.).
Be prepared to answer personal questions about yourself as well as provide proof that your relationship is valid.
What Benefits Do Green Cards Give?
A green card provides unlimited work authorization, travel rights (in and out of the United States), the ability to apply for U.S. citizenship, and protection from removal (deportation). You can also petition for certain family members to immigrate under your status as well (such as children, spouse, parents).
How to Process Your Adjustment of Status?
Immigrants should follow this process to apply for an adjustment of status:
- 1File I-485 along with supporting documents (copies of forms, receipts, etc.).
- Receive fingerprinting notice (to complete background check).
- Receive interview appointment letter (at which time you will be required to go in person and answer questions about your eligibility to adjust status; bring all necessary paperwork!).
- Attend a green card interview (be prepared with evidence that proves your eligibility).
If everything is successful, the immigrant will receive a “Notice of Action” which serves as approval for both the application and work authorization! You can then travel outside the United States freely without worrying about losing any immigration benefits or needing to worry about the expiration date on your green card!
If there is any reason to suspect that the immigrant will not be able to adjust status (for example, if you entered with a K1 Visa and did not marry within 90 days), then another option besides adjustment of status exists consular processing.
This process requires an in-person interview at a US consulate outside the United States. Depending on which country the immigrant is from, this entire application cannot be submitted online and must be done through paper.
And please remember that during all of these processes, you should consult an immigration lawyer for questions about your case!
What Are Other Ways to Get Permanent Resident Status Besides Green Card Adjustment of Status?
There are several options out there, including family sponsorship, employment sponsorship, or diversity visa lottery. The green card adjustment of status is the most common option in America.
There are four main parts to the application:
- Online filing at USCIS website ( I-485 form)
- Green Card Application Fees ($985)
- Supporting Documents that support your case for immigration (such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, diplomas, etc.)
- Background check fees ($85)
You must submit all four components before an interview can be set. Once you have completed all stages of your green card application process you will receive a “Notice of Action” notice in the mail.
This gives both approvals for your application and permission to work in the United States. You can also travel outside the US freely without worrying about losing immigration benefits or facing removal (deportation).
How Long Will it Take for a Green Card Interview?
For an adjustment of status application, once everything is submitted to USCIS they generally give you a notice for an interview within 30 days after receiving the application! So this would be your main milestone.
If all goes well then you should get approved for permanent resident status soon after that! Your “Notice of Action” will show up in the mail which allows both approvals for your case and permission to work in America. This letter will also allow you to leave and re-enter the United States freely.
What Are the Benefits of Adjustment of Status?
So when you initially file for your green card, it’s a lengthy and complicated process. You’ll have to complete several forms and pay numerous fees. So why go through all the trouble to apply for a green card?
There Are Lots of Great Benefits:
- Permanent resident status and work authorization in America
- Ability travel outside the United States any time without worrying about losing immigration benefits or facing removal (deportation)
- Once approved, there is no review period and you do not need to renew your permanent resident status
How Long Does it Take for Green Card Approval After the Interview?
Typically once all stages of the application process are completed, USCIS will give notice within 30 days of the green card interview! However, the green card interview is usually where they ask for additional supporting documents to prove your case. So be sure you have all these documents before going into the meeting with them.
You’ll then receive a “Notice of Action” notice in the mail that approves your application and gives permission to work in America. The approval also allows for global worldwide travel without having to worry about losing benefits or facing removal (deportation).
What Are Some Reasons Why My Adjustment of Status May Be Denied?
There are various reasons your green card application could get denied:
- Failure to disclose information on background check forms regarding criminal charges/convictions
- Inaccurate information was submitted regarding educational attainment (college/university)
- Failure to disclose any past immigration violations (in the US or abroad), including illegal entry/overstaying visa
- Providing false information regarding family members or dependents on a green card application
What Happens If My Adjustment of Status Is Denied?
If your green card application gets rejected, you’ll receive a “Notice of Action” notice in the mail that will outline the decision. The notice will also give you instructions on how to appeal for reconsideration after paying $700.
This process usually takes about 6 months, so it’s important not to wait until the last minute! For more information, speak with an attorney experienced in the green card application process.
What Is the Fee for Adjustment of Status?
The total filing fee for an adjustment of status application is $1,225. This includes the $985 filing fee and $240 biometrics (fingerprints) fee. You can also pay by check or money order payable to the Department of Homeland Security.
For more information, you may ask or consult with Houston immigration lawyers.