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Immigration – Understanding “Adjustment of Status” (AOS)

What is “Adjustment of Status” (AOS)

adjustment of statusThere are many paths to lawful immigration but finding the right path for your individual circumstances can be challenging.  One option is called “Adjustment of Status” also known as “AOS.”  Adjustment of Status is the process that allows certain people with the appropriate qualifying factors to apply for lawful immigration status in the United States.  At the end of the process the applicant, if approved, will receive become a green card holder and have lawful permanent residence status.

Are You Eligible for Adjustment of Status?

To be eligible for an Adjustment of Status, you have to meet certain criteria.  The criteria that ay make you eligible for AOS includes: currently in the United States or have been a resident since before January 1st, 1972, have a family member that is willing to sponsor you (“family based adjustment of status”), have an employer that is willing to sponsor you, be engages to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, are a refugee, have a diversity visa, or are a Cuban citizen or national.   The Adjustment of Status process typically takes about 6-8 months and is complicated which is why it is advisable to hire an experienced and knowledgeable immigration attorney.

First, you will need to gather all of the required documents.  Next, you will mail the application and supporting documents to USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services).  There are costs and fees associated with the application so be prepared for those fees ahead of time to ensure that you can successfully complete your application.  After the application processing time has been completed, you will receive an approval by mail or an interview notice from USCIS.  If you are applying for Adjustment of Status through your spouse, you are always required to complete an interview so that the Immigration Officer can confirm the valid relationship between you and your petitioner.

Who Should Not Apply for Adjustment of Status?

It is important to note that there are also certain factors that, even if you meet the criteria, may make it unadvisable for you to apply for Adjustment of Status.  If you have entered the U.S. illegally and do not have 245(i) protection, have used fake documents to enter the U.S,, have lied to get your visa to allow you to enter the U.S., have sold, smuggled, or trafficked drugs, have helped anyone else enter the U.S. illegally, or have told someone before that you are a U.S. citizen, you are ineligible for Adjustment of Status and should not file an application.  To determine whether you are a good candidate for Adjustment of Status, consult an experienced and knowledgeable immigration attorney who can help guide you through the process and give you the highest chance of getting your application approved.

 

 

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