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What is an adjustment of status in immigration?

On Behalf of | Mar 13, 2024 | Citizenship & Naturalization

Immigrating into the United States is the dream of many people. For some, their time in this country is limited because they’re only here on a temporary visa. 

An adjustment of status is an avenue to transition from a temporary status to a permanent resident. There are very specific criteria for these cases, so anyone who’s considering this path should ensure they understand those.

Understanding adjustment of status in U.S. immigration

Adjustment of status is a critical process that allows individuals already present in the U.S. to apply for lawful permanent resident status, which is commonly referred to as obtaining a green card. A successful adjustment of status means they don’t need to leave the country to complete the process. 

Eligibility criteria for adjustment of status

To be eligible for adjustment of status, applicants must meet specific criteria set forth by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Primarily, the individual must meet these criteria: 

  • Be physically present in the U.S. at the time of application
  • Have entered the country legally 
  • Have a visa immediately available to them in their category 

It’s important to note that certain grounds of inadmissibility, such as criminal convictions or previous immigration violations, can disqualify someone from adjusting their status. There may be waivers available in some cases.

Going through the adjustment of status process can be complex. Understanding the steps and how to handle each one can take some of the stress off the applicant. Applicants can work with someone familiar with applicable immigration laws so they can make it through the process as easily as possible.