Adjustment of Status Green Card Information

Adjustment of Status Overview

Adjustment of status is the process of applying for your green card while you are in the United States. For people who qualify for adjustment of status, it is often the fastest and most convenient option for becoming a permanent resident.

For a family-based immigration case, the two key parts of the adjustment of status application are the I-130 petition and the I-485 application. The I-130 petition is the request by the US citizen or permanent resident for the government to allow a close family member to be allowed to immigrate and get a green card. The I-485 application is the immigrant's application for a green card.

Some of the general requirements for adjustment of status include:

  • The immigrant must have an immediately available visa number in order to apply for adjustment of status. Spouses of US citizens, unmarried children under age 21 of US citizens, and parents of US citizens (if their sponsoring child is at least 21 years old) always have a visa number available. Immigrants in these categories are considered to be "immediate relatives" and don't need to wait for a visa number.
  • The immigrant must have been lawfully admitted or paroled into the United States. There are some very narrow exceptions to this rule. If the immigrant did not enter the United States lawfully, you should discuss the situation with an immigration lawyer before submitting any forms to the government.
  • The immigrant must not be “inadmissible” to the United States. If there is an inadmissibility issue, the immigrant may need to qualify for a waiver in order to get a green card. The grounds of inadmissibility are complicated and include such things as criminal convictions, misrepresentations on past immigration applications and prior immigration violations.

In many cases immediate relatives of US citizens can do a "one-step" application. This means that both the I-130 petition and the I-485 application can be submitted at the same time. If a one-step application is possible, it will typically be much faster than submitting the I-130 petition first and then waiting for it to be approved before submitting the I-485 application.

If adjustment of status is not a good option for you, you should explore other options such as an immigrant visa or a fiance visa. If you are unsure which option is best for you, you should discuss your case with an immigration lawyer.

Adjustment of Status Steps

The steps in the adjustment of status process are:

Step 1: Make sure that you qualify for adjustment of status before you begin the process. Do not apply for adjustment of status if you don't qualify for it.

Step 2: Collect the information and supporting documents needed to complete your application package.

Step 3: Prepare and submit your application package to USCIS.

Step 4: The official receipt notice from USCIS will arrive in the mail.

Step 5: Your biometrics appointment notice will arrive in the mail.

Step 6: Complete your biometrics appointment.

Step 7: Your appointment notice will arrive in the mail.

Step 8: Attend your adjustment of status interview.

Step 9: If all goes well at your interview, you should receive your green card in the mail.

Adjustment of Status Timeline

The time it takes to get your green card through the adjustment of status process will depend on two key factors: details of your case and the USCIS office that handles your case.

If your case involves special issues such as the need to apply for an immigration waiver, your case may take longer than a less complex case.

Your immigration lawyer will be able to give you an idea of how long your case will take based on the current processing times for the Las Vegas USCIS office. In general, an adjustment of status application could be approved in as little as four months or it could take over a year.

There are other issues that can impact how long it takes for you to get your green card. For example, the wait for your green card could be considerably longer if you receive a request for evidence or if you are scheduled for a second interview after your initial green card interview. Working with an immigration lawyer can help you to minimize these types of delays in your case.

Adjustment of Status Costs

The costs involved in getting a green card through the adjustment of status process can be viewed in three groups: the required government filing fees, other required costs and attorney fees.

The required government filing fees are:

  • $535 for the Form I-130 filing fee
  • $1,225 for the Form I-485 adjustment of status filing fee

The government filing fees must be submitted with the application. These fees can be paid by credit card, check or money order.

The other required costs that you should expect as part of the adjustment of status process are:

  • Medical exam – cost depends on doctor and location, often is between $250 – $700
  • Passport photographs – cost depends on photographer, but often inexpensive
  • Translation costs – varies by the translator and type of documents being translated into English
  • Original documents/certified copies – varies by what documents need to be obtained

Depending on whether you work with an immigration lawyer, you may also have attorney fees as part of the total costs of the process.

Not everyone who applies for adjustment of status will need a lawyer to assist them with the process. You can learn more about whether you need a lawyer by reading the information on this website and by learning more about the role of an immigration lawyer in the adjustment of status process. If you decide to hire an immigration lawyer to assist you, the legal fees will vary by law firm and the complexity of the case.

How We Can Help With Your Adjustment of Status Application

Immigration Lawyer Adjustment of Status Services

You are not required to work with an immigration lawyer, but working with one can be very helpful and can help minimize the stress involved in the green card application process.

Our typical immigration lawyer adjustment of status application service includes the following:

  • Explain the adjustment of status process in detail to you to help you decide if it is the best process for you
  • Review your immigration history to make sure that you qualify for adjustment of status
  • Research and resolve any special issues with your case to minimize the risk that your application will be denied
  • Prepare all forms necessary for your application, including your I-130, I-130A, I-485, I-765, I-131 and I-864
  • Prepare any legal letters or memos needed for your case
  • Identify the supporting documents needed for your application
  • Assist with preparing any affidavits or declarations needed for your case
  • Assist you in preparing for your green card interview
  • Prepare and submit responses to any standard Requests for Evidence received from USCIS
  • Attend your green card interview with you

We can also assist you if you applied for adjustment of status on your own and need help replying to a Request for Evidence.

Adjustment of Status Application Review Services

Our application review service is for people who prefer to prepare their adjustment of status application on their own, but want the peace of mind of having an immigration lawyer review the application before it is submitted to USCIS.

Our adjustment of status application review service includes the following:

  • We will review your I-130, I-130A, I-485, I-765, I-131, and I-864 forms for accuracy and completeness
  • We will review your supporting documents to evaluate whether all required documents are included and to provide you with our professional opinion of your documents
  • We will prepare a written report for you that describes any issues that we found in reviewing your application
  • An application review appointment to go over your application with us and to give you the opportunity to ask our lawyers any questions you have about your application and the next steps in the process