Getting The Results You Should Expect When Hiring An Immigration Attorney

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Get Help Pursuing An Adjustment Of Status

Adjustment of Status (AOS) is a faster, easier way of getting a green card while staying in the United States. At ERM Immigration Law, PLLC, we can determine whether you qualify for adjustment of status and help you navigate the process. Based in Seattle, Washington, we focus solely on immigration law and have a wealth of experience in this complicated area.

What Is Adjustment Of Status?

Adjustment of Status is the process that you can use to apply for lawful permanent resident status (also known as applying for a green card) when you’re present in the United States. This means that you may get a green card without having to return to your home country to complete visa processing.

The Adjustment of Status process is really meant for people who are already in the U.S. and then have an avenue to obtain a green card after arriving. Many visas (like B or F) don’t allow for dual immigrant intent, meaning you aren’t allowed to pursue a green card based on the issued visa). However, if you are the immediate relative of a U.S. citizen (parent, step/child under age 21, or spouse) or spouse of someone with a green card already, or if you have a qualifying employment visa, you can pursue adjustment of status.

Adjustment of Status is the best process if you are already in the county and entered the United States with a visa or through a checkpoint at the border. It may also be available if you have long overstayed your visa and departure from the U.S. would create a bar to reentry. This occurs if you have stayed in the U.S. starting more than 180 days after your admission, until the date on your I-94 or written in your passport.

Did you know? Our founding attorney has personal experience with Adjustment of Status. Read her success story here.

Understanding The Process

Applying for Adjustment of Status involves preparing and filing extensive paperwork. Once you have provided all the documents and information requested by your attorney, it usually takes the attorney about 1-2 weeks to get your application out to the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services). Once the USCIS has received your application, it can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks for USCIS to accept payment and start routing your case for processing.

It will be at least 3-6 months from filing before you will receive your employment authorization document (EAD) and Social Security card allowing you to get a driver’s license if you don’t already have one, and work, among other things. You can also get advanced parole (AP), which will let you travel internationally.

If you travel outside the U.S. without AP (unless you have L or H-1B status), then you will not be able to reenter the U.S. and your green card application will be denied.

The next step in the process will be your interview. You will likely get a notice about your interview around 16-22 months after filing. The interview will be booked about 4-6 weeks after the date of your notice. You will need to get a medical exam from a USCIS-approved doctor as well.

How Long Does The Process Take?

From filing the case, it will usually take 18-24 months to get a green card through adjustment of status in the Seattle area. For cases processing outside of Seattle, check with your attorney about processing times. Most field offices are processing faster than Seattle.

Can I Change My Visitor Visa To A Green Card?

While seemingly straightforward, the answer is “it depends.” You might be eligible to apply for a green card while on a visitor visa, but only if you meet specific requirements. The possibility depends on various factors, including:

  • Marrying a U.S. citizen (requiring Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative)
  • Receiving an employment offer with sponsorship (requiring Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker)
  • Having exceptional abilities in specific fields

Remember that simply holding a visitor visa does not automatically qualify you for a green card. Since entering solely for a green card is not allowed, it will all depend on whether you meet the set legal requirement.

Can I Adjust The Status From ESTA/VWP?

If you entered the United States under the Visa Waiver Program, you cannot change your status while in the country. In addition, it is important to note that authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization to travel to the United States under the VWP is not a determination of admissibility.

What Is The 90-Day Rule?

The “90-day rule” is an informal guideline used by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to assess the intentions of certain nonimmigrant visa holders. It raises a presumption of misrepresentation if individuals holding specific visa types like B, F, J, M, Q or TN engage in activities inconsistent with their temporary status within 90 days of entering the U.S.

These activities primarily involve:

  • Marrying a U.S. citizen or green card holder
  • Adjustment of status (visa application)
  • Engaging in unauthorized activities.

The 90-day rule is not a law but a flag for USCIS officers to scrutinize applications more closely. While exceeding this time frame doesn’t automatically disqualify you from obtaining a green card, it can significantly complicate the process and require additional evidence of genuine intentions.

Get Help Navigating Adjustment Of Status

Adjustment of Status is very technical and you should consult an attorney before taking any major decisions in this type of situation. This will require a nuanced legal analysis, and whether you qualify will depend on various factors.

Our lawyers can help you with all aspects of Adjustment of Status. We can also help you pursue advanced parole to avoid jeopardizing your green card when you need to travel outside the country. To get in touch with our team, please reach out online or call us at 206-745-9241.