A select group of immigrant applicants already residing or staying in the U.S. are eligible for filing the FORM I-485 with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and adjusting status to that of a permanent resident without having to go abroad to apply for an immigrant visa.
Being able to adjust status means such immigrant applicants do not have to depart the U.S. to visit an overseas U.S. consulate to “consular process” in order to complete the application for lawful U.S. residence.
This U.S.-based process is known as adjustment of status.
Applicants for adjustment of status must be eligible according to the criteria as set out in Section 245 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as follows:
- a family member with lawful status and with an approved relative petition from USCIS (Form I-130) in a preference category and a current priority date, if any. “Immediate relative“ petitions, however, do not have to wait for a visa number to become current or available nor do they need to maintain lawful status.
- an employment based beneficiary with an approved petition from USCIS (Form I-140), a current priority date, and lawful status. Priority dates apply to immigrants in “preference categories” who, because of annual limits on visas in those categories, must wait until a visa number is available before proceeding with their adjustment of status application.
- a fiancé who entered the U.S. on a K-1 fiancé visa and married the U.S. citizen petitioner within 90 days after entry.
an asylee or refugee who has waited one year since either asylum was granted or after entry into the United States as a recognized refugee.
- A “Diversity Lottery” winner with lawful status in the U.S.
- A “Registry” papplicant who has resided in the U.S. since January 1, 1972.
- A native or citizen of Cuba with a certain entry into the U.S. and physical presence.
- U visa recipient with 3 years of physical presence in the U.S.
- A VAWA self petitioner.
- Certain TPS recipients in certain jurisdictions.
You must be physically in the United States and must (with a few exceptions) have entered the U.S. with permission, after inspection by border agents, and be in valid visa status at the time of your application to adjust status.