Timeline for Adjustment of Status

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Adjustment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status: What You Need To Know

Temporary visa holders can request an adjustment of status (AOS) to obtain lawful permanent residency in the United States. AOS is available to individuals who are already in the US with valid visas.

Unfortunately, the adjustment of status application process can take some time. Processing times vary depending on the volume of applications and case complexity. Legal guidance is beneficial to ensure accuracy and efficiency in the application process.

Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law, is one of the most reliable immigration law firms in Texas. We can help you determine the best options to obtain permanent residency. We have helped clients understand the options available, such as adjustment of status through marriage or employment-based adjustment of status.

When to Apply for Adjustment of Status?

You should consider using adjustment of status if:

  • You are a foreign national;

  • You are physically present in the US;

  • You wish to continue residing in the US;

  • The person sponsoring you is a green card holder;

  • You can maintain a lawful status in the country for the next 2.5 years.

It is important to note that adjustment of status is different from consular processing. Consular processing refers to the green card application process for immigrants outside the country.

The Timeline for Adjustment of Status

The adjustment of status timeline can be a slow process that can take 13.5 to 20.5 months, depending on the type of application and other factors. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) posts the processing times every quarter for all forms.

The timeline also differs per service center or field office. For example, in January 2024, the average timeline to adjust status for family-based applications in Dallas, Texas, was 15 months. This means that in the past six months, 80% of the applications were completed in 15 months.

Factors Influencing the Status Timeline

The factors that may delay the timeline for status applications include:

  • The local USCIS field office or service center may have a large workload.

  • You may be required to attend an interview.

  • You filed your application in areas with a high fraud rate.

  • There were errors on your forms.

  • You have not fulfilled all eligibility requirements or submitted supporting documents.

In some extreme situations, an application’s processing time can be expedited. An expedited request is made to the USCIS for compelling reasons or urgent situations. Examples include:

  • The death of a family member;

  • Emergency medical situation;

  • Urgent humanitarian reasons such as war outbreak or sudden grave illness requiring you to stay in the US;

  • A person or company is at risk of severe financial loss if your case is not reviewed sooner;

  • Your case affects US national interests or public safety;

  • The USCIS made a mistake on your application, and you can prove it.

Expedited requests are reviewed and granted on a case-to-case basis. The final decision on whether to deny or approve the request is with the USCIS.

Adjustment of Status Process: Step-By-Step

The steps for getting a green card via adjustment of status are as follows:

Step 1: Confirm the eligibility requirements for a green card.

Check if your current visa status allows you to apply for adjustment of status. Understanding your eligibility will determine the basis for your adjustment of status.

Step 2: Request your sponsor to file an immigrant petition.

The immigrant petition must be submitted before filing the I-485 or the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status form. In some situations, the concurrent filing of the petition and I-485 is allowed. Consult a trusted immigration lawyer to ensure all Form I-485 instructions are followed.

Step 3: Check the visa availability for your category.

The Form I-485 can only be submitted if a visa is available. The visa category depends on:

  • The type of green card application (employment, family, etc.);

  • Home country;

  • The number of people from the origin country also applying for the same green card.

Step 4: Submit Form I-485.

Send the completed form and supporting documents to the corresponding direct filing address. Review the adjustment of status checklist to ensure all required documents are submitted.

Step 5: Attend biometrics services appointment at the Application Support Center.

The USCIS will send a notice to attend a biometrics appointment to collect your identifying information.

Step 6: Attend the scheduled interview.

You must attend and answer questions about your green card application at an interview with a USCIS officer. You will need to respond under oath. Make sure to bring original copies of all required documents to the interview.

Step 7: Submit any additional evidence requested.

Additional evidence may be requested if the submitted documents need to be updated or completed.  

Step 8: Follow up on case status.

You can check the status of your application through the USCIS website.

Step 9: Receive the decision.

The USCIS will release a written decision notice on whether your AOS application was approved or denied.

Common Mistakes That Delay Your Adjustment of Status

There are several mistakes applicants can make that can further delay status processing times. Some of the most common are:

  • Failing to submit required supporting documents: The local USCIS office usually asks for your marriage certificate, birth certificate, and proof of financial support.

  • Inaccurate or incomplete information: Always review the information entered in your Form I-485 for completeness and accuracy before submitting it.

  • Failure to attend the change of status interview or biometrics appointment: You must attend both appointments and failure to attend can result in denial of your AOS application.

  • Missing filing deadlines: Respecting deadlines is vital to maintaining lawful status. Some forms, such as I-131, have specific deadlines that should be complied with or risk facing negative consequences. It’s best to submit documents in advance to make room for possible delays.

  • Failing to respond to USCIS requests promptly: It is crucial to respond to the USCIS promptly for any additional information or documentation they may need. Contact them as soon as possible if you need more time or assistance to comply with the requirements.

Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law Can Help

Applying for adjustment of status can be long and tedious. Status processing times can vary depending on several factors, making the process frustrating. Hiring a skilled and seasoned immigration lawyer can give you the support, advice, and representation you need.

The team at Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law, is here to help. Our skilled immigration lawyers are experienced in the following practice areas: adjustment of status, family-based petitions, and immigration appeals. We take pride in our knowledge and experience of immigration laws and processes.

Book a free consultation today so we can start working on your status requirements immediately.