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Adjustment of Status (AOS) is a process in the United States that allows certain foreign nationals who are already present in the country to change their immigration status from a nonimmigrant (temporary) to immigrant (permanent) status. The most common use of AOS is for individuals who entered the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa, such as a tourist visa (B-2) or a student visa (F-1), and wish to become lawful permanent residents (green card holders).
Key points about Adjustment of Status:
· Eligibility: To be eligible for AOS, you typically need to have a qualifying family relationship with a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident, have an approved employment-based petition, or be eligible for a diversity visa. In some cases, refugees and asylees can also adjust their status.
· Application Process: The specific process and forms required for AOS can vary depending on your eligibility category. Generally, you will file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
· Biometrics and Interviews: After filing your AOS application, you will usually be required to attend a biometrics appointment to provide fingerprints and other identifying information. USCIS may also schedule an interview to assess your eligibility and conduct background checks.
· Work Authorization and Travel: While your AOS application is pending, you can often apply for work authorization (Form I-765) and travel permission (Advance Parole, Form I-131) to travel outside the U.S. in specific circumstances. These documents can help you maintain your ability to work and travel while your AOS application is processed.
· Green Card Issuance: If your AOS application is approved, you will be granted lawful permanent resident status, and you will receive a green card, which is evidence of your status as a permanent resident.
How to apply for Adjustment of Status?
To apply for Adjustment of Status (AOS) in the United States, you'll need to follow a specific process. Here are the general steps to apply for AOS:
· Determine Eligibility: First, make sure you are eligible for AOS. Common categories include family-sponsored petitions, employment-based petitions, diversity visa lottery winners, refugees, and asylees. The specific eligibility requirements can vary, so consult the USCIS website or an immigration attorney to confirm your eligibility.
· Sponsorship or Petition: In most cases, a family member or employer will need to sponsor you by filing the appropriate immigrant petition on your behalf. The petitioner will typically file a petition with USCIS, and upon approval, you can proceed with the AOS application. Common petition forms include:
o Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative (for family-sponsored applicants).
o Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (for employment-based applicants).
· Gather Required Documents: Collect the necessary supporting documents, including your birth certificate, passport, marriage or divorce certificates (if applicable), police clearance certificates, and financial documents if the petitioner is sponsoring you financially. Review the specific requirements listed on the USCIS website or the instructions for the relevant forms.
· Complete Form I-485: The primary form for AOS is Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. You can download the latest version of this form from the USCIS website. Fill out the form completely and accurately, following the instructions provided with the form.
· Pay Filing Fees: AOS applications typically require payment of filing fees. Check the USCIS website for the most up-to-date fee information. Fee waivers may be available in certain cases for individuals who demonstrate financial hardship.
· File the AOS Application: Mail the completed Form I-485, along with all required supporting documents and the appropriate filing fee, to the USCIS address specified in the form instructions. Be sure to make copies of everything you send for your records.
· Biometrics Appointment: After USCIS receives your AOS application, they will schedule a biometrics appointment for you. During this appointment, you will provide fingerprints, photographs, and other biographical information for background checks.
· Attend an Interview (if required): USCIS may schedule an interview to assess your eligibility for AOS. You and your sponsor, if applicable, will be interviewed by a USCIS officer.
· Apply for Work Authorization and Travel Document: While your AOS application is pending, you can apply for work authorization (Form I-765) and a travel document(Advance Parole, Form I-131) if you need to travel outside the U.S. These applications can be filed concurrently with your AOS application or later, if necessary.
· Await USCIS Decision: USCIS will review your AOS application, conduct background checks, and make a decision on your case. If approved, you will receive a green card as evidence of your lawful permanent resident status.