Applying for Adjustment of Status Based on the Immigration and Nationality Act

Immigrants intending to get permanent status in the U.S. face a challenge. They have to be eligible for the application, abide by a list of instructions and fill many forms. Luckily, adjustment of status is an option that immigrants can use.

As per U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recent policy, the I-485 application can be denied if you fail to submit initial evidence or the evidence doesn’t establish eligibility. 

In such a case, a small mistake can delay visa processing and even cause long-term immigration problems. Therefore, you must be aware of all the important information to get a green card.

Adjustment of Status

Before the 245(i) amendment, out of status individuals had to return to their home countries to complete the immigrant visa process at the U.S. consulate.

However, if the individual were found to be staying in the U.S. for more than 180 days out of status, he would be barred from entering the U.S. for the next 3 years. If the duration is more than 360 days, he cannot enter the country for 10 years.

After the section 245(i) amendment, such individuals are given a chance to stay in the U.S. and get permanent residence.

The U.S. immigration law enables you to get a green card without returning to your home country to complete the visa processing.

Adjustment of status allows the individuals to change nonimmigrant immigration status to permanent residence status when present in the United States. If the immigrant is not eligible for the adjustment of Status, he has to use consular processing.

Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) enables certain immigrants to get permanent residence status when in the United States, who in normal conditions would not qualify for adjustment of status.

Immigration and Nationality Act enable to qualify regardless of:

  • The manner individual entered the United States
  • Working in the United States without approval
  • Unable to maintain his lawful status since he entered the United States

Eligibility for 245(I)

Generally, to get qualified for section 245(i) adjustment of status, the immigrant must:

  • Have submitted an immigrant visa petition or labor certification application before April 30, 2001
  • The immigrant was located in the United States on December 21, 2000
  • The immigrant is currently the beneficiary of a qualifying immigrant petition or labor certification application 

Check the complete list of eligibility criteria for adjustment status under section 245(i) on The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services page.

However, it doesn’t mean that the immigrant doesn’t have to go through the regular process of immigration. Section 245(i) still demands that the immigrant warrants the favorable exercise of discretion, and the applicant must pay a fee and wait for the green card.

Also, immigrants have to submit their biometric and biographic information, passing background and security checks.

Remember that if the person is already ordered to be removed from the U.S., he cannot use the 245(i) to adjust status. Additionally, if the person is ordered to be removed from the U.S. in the future, he can still not use 245(i) for adjustment of status.

Application Form I-485 

Form I-485 also referred to as application to Register Permanent Residence, is the form used for applying for Lawful permanent residence.

Along with this, you must also submit the supporting forms (Form I-130, Form I-693, and Form I-864) to USCIS.

While preparing these, you should read all the instructions and carefully fill the form. In complex situations such as criminal offenses or severe immigration violations, it is better to contact a lawyer to prepare the application forms.

Once you have submitted the application and it got approved, you have to wait for 8-14 months to get your green card in the mail.

Once the application gets accepted by the USCIS, you can live and work in the U.S. without any bars.

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