Making an Adjustment of Status

African American family together

What is an “Adjustment of Status”?

An “adjustment of status” is one of the primary paths to becoming a permanent resident of the United States. This method is when you are physically present in the U.S., and you have an existing nonimmigrant status (temporary visitor) that you wish to change or “adjust” to immigrant status (permanent resident, i.e. to receive your “green card”).

If you are physically located outside the U.S., or you are ineligible to make an adjustment of status, there is a different method that may be available to you called “consular processing.” Because this requires you to appear abroad at a U.S. consulate or embassy, this may be inconvenient or impractical for you. Making an “adjustment of status” is usually the more desirable approach.

An adjustment of status is appropriate after the filing of an immigrant petition or an application for asylum. The timing of filing the adjustment application differs depending on your circumstances. Examples of immigrant petitions include alien relative, immigrant worker, special immigrant, or alien entrepreneur petitions. In certain instances, you can apply for the immigrant petition and the adjustment application concurrently.

The attorneys at The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates are well-versed in the areas of adjustment of status and permanent residence applications, and can represent you to assure that your application meets the regulatory requirements. Contact us for a consultation.

How Can I Make an Adjustment of Status?

You must have been “admitted” or “paroled” into the U.S., and you must meet all the qualifications for a green card (permanent residence status). Once you have been “admitted” or “paroled” into the U.S. as a nonimmigrant, you may then later make an “adjustment of status” by filing Form I-485. Please contact us and experience how our law firm can assist you in your immigration matters.

How Can I be “Admitted” to the U.S.?

You are admitted to the U.S. when you present yourself to an immigration officer at a U.S. border, who may ask you questions concerning your purpose for entering the U.S., and who then approves your entry. The officer will usually stamp your passport with a proper nonimmigrant classification and the date through which you may remain in the country.

To be “admitted,” there is no requirement that a border agent question you or assign you any particular visa status. So long as you have presented yourself to an immigration officer at the border, you have not misrepresented your citizenship, and you have been permitted to enter, you have been “admitted” into the United States.

It is important that you do not enter the country illegally without an inspection, as this will likely prevent you from later making an “adjustment of status.”

What Does it Mean if I have been “Paroled” into the U.S.?

“Parole” is when you are allowed to enter the U.S. for a temporary time based on urgent humanitarian reasons, or if your entry provides a significant public benefit, despite that you would otherwise be ineligible for admission.

“Parole” is often granted if you are fleeing unstable conditions in your home country, when you cannot be granted refugee status. If you are “paroled” into the U.S., you will receive an I-94 stating the legal basis for your parole and your “parole through date,” which is the time period through which you are allowed to stay in the U.S.

“Parole” is a complex legal status, usually requiring advanced legal expertise and a tireless advocate on your behalf. Please contact The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA and experience how our law firm can assist you in your immigration matters.

Can I be Paroled into the U.S. as the Relative of a U.S. Service Member?

Yes. If you are the spouse, child, or parent of a current or former member of the U.S. Armed Forces or Selected Reserve, you may be eligible to enter the U.S. under “parole in place” status. This status can apply to you if you are entering the U.S., or even if you have entered the U.S. without inspection or admission and are physically present in the country. This will allow you to seek an adjustment of status, even if you entered without inspection. You must still meet all of the other requirements for adjustment of status, such as you must be the immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, and you must not have a criminal record.

What if I have been Paroled, but Placed into Removal Proceedings?

You may still be eligible to make an adjustment of status. This applies whether you have been placed into removal proceedings upon your arrival into the U.S., but were later paroled, or vice versa if you were paroled into the U.S. and then later placed into removal proceedings.

What If I am in Temporary Protected Status?

If you have been granted temporary protected status, you may later apply for an adjustment of status, even if you entered the U.S. without proper inspection and admission. Temporary protected status now qualifies as “inspection and admission” for purposes of having and maintaining lawful status as a nonimmigrant.

What Visa Classes are Ineligible for an Adjustment in Status?

Certain classes of persons admitted or paroled into the U.S. may not adjust their status under normal circumstances. This may apply to you if you are:

  • A crew member admitted as a D nonimmigrant.

  • Admitted “in transit without a visa” (TWOV) to another country by way of the U.S.

  • An exchange visitor admitted as a J nonimmigrant, who is subject to the two-year foreign residence requirement, and who has not fulfilled this requirement or obtained a waiver.

  • A tourist or business visitor admitted under a visa waiver program, unless you are a spouse or unmarried minor child of a U.S. citizen.

  • A fiancé of a U.S. citizen admitted under K status, for any basis other than for your marriage within 90 days to the U.S. citizen-petitioner. You must marry the original citizen-petitioner, and you will be ineligible for an adjustment of status if you do not go through with the marriage and later marry a different U.S. citizen.

  • A person who entered into a marriage with a U.S. citizen, while administrative or judicial proceedings were pending against you challenging your right to enter or remain in the U.S., (e.g. exclusion, deportation, or removal proceedings.) You may seek an adjustment of status, however, if you can show by clear and convincing evidence that your marriage was a bona fide good faith marriage, and not solely for immigration purposes.

  • A child in nonimmigrant status who seeks an adjustment of status as an orphan. A child must be physically present in the U.S. under parole status to be eligible for an adjustment of status as an “orphan.”

  • If you are assisting in law enforcement activities and admitted as an S category nonimmigrant, unless you have obtained prior permission from the USCIS.

  • If you have engaged in terrorist activities within the U.S.

How to Contact Us

If you have questions about making an adjustment of status, and/or you need help in an immigration process, please contact our immigration attorneys  or call The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA at the nearest office close to you to consult with an attorney. Our law firm handles various matters including Green Cards and Permanent Residence, family immigration, immigrant visas, non-immigrant visas, employment visas and H1B visas, Investor Visas, PERM applications, and many more. Please contact us  and experience how our law firm can assist you in your immigration matters. Whether you are an employer, an employee or a family member, The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA has competent, responsive and innovative lawyers who can make your immigration experience pleasant and seamless.

Related Posts
  • President Biden’s New Immigration Initiative called Parole-in-Place: Read More
  • Waiver of the J-1 Foreign Residence Requirement Due to Exceptional Hardship or Personal Persecution Read More
  • Seeking Asylum as a Physician in J-1 Status Read More