Adjustment of Status

The Adjustment of Status process allows someone who is currently in the United States as a non-immigrant to change status to that of an immigrant. An immigrant visa is also known as permanent residence or a Green Card.

Adjustment of Status is possible when a non-immigrant becomes eligible for an immigrant visa. This occurs most often when a non-immigrant marries a U.S. citizen, but it can also occur through other family-based petitions.

There are basically two types of non-immigrants: those who entered the country with a visa and those who entered without inspection.

If you entered the country on a visa, you are most likely able to adjust status if you are eligible for a visa. This is possible in most situations even if you have overstayed your visa. Here are some examples:

  • Paulo, enters the U.S. in January 2016 on a six-month tourist visa from Spain. Marries U.S. citizen in March 2016. Eligible for AOS..
  • Cristina, entered the U.S. on three-month tourist visa in 2015 from Brazil. Marries U.S. citizen in 2017. Eligible for AOS

If you entered the country without inspection (entered illegally, crossed the border, etc.), you are not eligible to adjust status. There is one exception: if you have a family - or employment-based petition filed on your behalf before May 1, 2001, you may be eligible to do an Adjustment of Status even if you entered without a visa.

It is also possible to take advantage of this exception to the Adjustment of Status rules if someone filed a petition for your mother, father, or spouse before May 1, 2001.

To find out if you qualify for either type of Adjustment of Status and for guidance to avoid mistakes in filing, please contact our San Francisco immigration lawyer today.