Understanding Immigration Law: What is an Adjustment of Status?

As defined by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), adjustment of status is the process through which an immigrant can apply for a green card (permanent residence) while holding a valid non-immigrant visa. If you are eligible, you can adjust your status without returning to your native country. Here, our immigration attorney in Los Angeles provides an overview of the key things you should know about adjustment of status. 

The Form: I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status

To submit an adjustment of status application, you must use Form I-485. As it is one of the more expensive immigration forms—the total cost is $1,225 for most adults—it is especially important that you complete it properly. If any of the information provided is incorrect, your application for a green card may be delayed or even denied. If you have questions about the I-485 adjustment of status application, our immigration lawyer in Los Angeles is here to help. 

Preparing an Application: Your Adjustment of Status Checklist

One of the best tips for adjustment of status cases is that proper preparation can make a tremendous difference. When applicants run into problems, it is often because they lack the documents or records that they need to move forward with their adjustment of status claim. Here is a basic list of documents/records to gather and organize: 

  • A copy of your I-485 adjustment of status application form; 
  • Two self photographs that meet the U.S. government’s standards; 
  • A valid copy of your birth certificate; 
  • Your history of arrivals and departures; and
  • Your notice of approval for your previous status. 

To be clear, there are also other documents that you will need to move forward. What they are will depend, in part, on your individual basis for adjusting status. As an example, if you are becoming a permanent resident through an American spouse, you should get a copy of your marriage license. Our adjustment of status attorney can help you prepare and organize all of the necessary documents for your application.  

The Adjustment of Status Timeline

Waiting for action on your immigration application can be stressful and frustrating. If you are like most people, you probably want to know: How long will it take to get a decision on my adjustment of status case? The short answer is “it depends”—the process can vary widely depending on the specific circumstances of the case. That being said, for most applicants, it takes about 180 days from the date that you submit your Form I-485 application to get an approval or denial. 

Call Our Adjustment of Status Lawyer for Immediate Assistance

At the Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, our lawyers have the skills, experience, and legal knowledge to handle adjustment of status cases. Do you have questions about your options? We can help. Contact us now for a completely confidential case evaluation. From our office in Los Angeles, our lawyers represent people throughout the entire region.