A simple adjustment of status, based upon marriage to a U.S. citizen, application takes seven to nine different forms to be completed. According to the Office of Management and Budget of the White House, it takes a little over 21 hours and a half hours to complete the forms and gather the supporting documents. There is a lot more to this process than simply filling out some forms. This page discusses some of the common issues to come up in an adjustment of status case, but by no means does this discuss all of the possibilities.
The alien must make an application, have a visa immediately available and be able to overcome any and all grounds of inadmissibility. Even if a person meets these statutory eligibility requirements, his or her application still may be denied as a matter of discretion. The discretionary factors are family ties in the United States, hardship in traveling abroad, length of U.S. residence, previous immigration violations, and preconceived intent (which refers to the intent that a person may have had at the time of his or her last admission prior to pursuing adjustment of status). If a person is seeking adjustment based on an immediate-relative petition, preconceived intent, standing alone, is not sufficient to deny the application.
Applicants have the burden of proving they are eligible for the benefit sought. As such the applicant must prove the marriage was valid both where formed and under INA. The marriage may also not have been entered into for the purpose of obtaining immigration benefits.
Intent To Keep U.S. Permanent Residence
A lawful permanent resident (LPR) must have the intent to maintain the United States as their permanent residence. If there is an absence of intent coupled with objective circumstances, lawful permanent residents (LPRs) can lose their status even if they visit the U.S. often. An LPR may have multiple residences, but U.S. residence must be the permanent one.
Good Moral Character
Applicant must show good moral character, must not be ineligible for citizenship, not deportable as a terrorist or Nazi, and not inadmissible as the law relates to criminals, procurers and other immoral persons, subversives, violators of the narcotics laws and smugglers of aliens.
The applicant will have to their lawful entry. Issues often arise, however, when one has misplaced an entry document, one was not provided an entry document, or one was not fully truthful at the time of entry.
Affidavit Of Support
An applicant must be able to prove that he or she is not likely to become a financial burden on the public. This is done by completing an affidavit of support or showing forty qualifying quarters of work by the applicant.
Applicant Must Pass A Medical Exam And Security Clearances
The applicant must complete a medical exam to show no disqualifying medical or mental conditions, as well as pass all security clearances.
Applicants who, by fraud or willfully misrepresenting a material fact, seek to procure, have sought to procure, or have procured entry into the United States are inadmissible.
Prior Voluntary Departure And Deportations
If an applicant has a prior voluntary departure but failed to depart, he is statutorily barred from adjustment of status. If the individual did depart and then returned lawfully, he or she may be able to file a waiver of inadmissibility if he or she had unlawful presence prior to departure to cure the entry.
Traveling While Application Is Pending
Unless the applicant is in valid H or L status, he or she will abandon the application for adjustment of status if he or she travels outside the United States before being granted advance parole. To return to the United States in L or H status, the foreign national must be in valid status and also possess a valid visa stamp. The foreign national may also choose to enter the United States with advance parole. If so, then upon return to the United States, he or she will be detained in secondary inspection to confirm that the application for adjustment of status is still pending.
Place Of Filing
Currently all family based petitions are being filed at the USCIS Chicago Lockbox
Forms And Supporting Documents
For an adjustment of status based upon marriage, to a United States citizen, the following forms should be filed together, I-130 Petition for Alien Relative, I-485 Application to Adjust Status, G-325A Biographical Information for both the petitioner and the applicant, I-864 Affidavit of Support, I-693 Medical Examination, I-765 Application for Employment Authorization and I-131 Application for Advanced Parole. Please see the checklist below for the supporting documents.
Applications for dependent children must be filed as separate applications.
To learn about the interview and what comes after the interview, click here