What is Adjustment of Status?
Adjustment of Status is the immigration procedure that allows certain individuals who are eligible for permanent residence in the United States to apply for their green card (permanent residence) without traveling back to their home country for consular processing. Adjustment of Status is available to: beneficiaries of family based petitions currently in the United States (can be applied for concurrently with I-130 petitions for immediate relatives; after marriage if in the United States on a fiancé(e) visa and after a visa number is available for all other family based categories); beneficiaries of approved employment based immigrant visa petitions (after an immigrant visa number is available); asylees and refugees who have been in the United States for at least a year after being granted asylee or refugee status and still qualify for asylee or refugee status; green card lottery winners; United States residents that have been in the county continuously since January 1, 1972; certain natives or citizens of Cuba; and other nationality based programs.
Except under specific circumstances (i.e. continuous residence in the United States since before January 1, 1972, qualifying under Section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, Cubans, asylees, and other special immigrants), the following persons are ineligible for adjustment of status: those that have entered the United States in transit without a visa; those that have entered the United States as non-immigrant crewman; those that entered the United States illegally (without inspection by an immigration officer); those employed without USCIS authorization and those that are out of status (immediate relatives of United State’s citizens are exempt from this restriction); beneficiaries of K-1 fiancé(e) visa that did not marry the United States citizen sponsor; and J-1 or J-2 exchange visitors that have failed to comply with their two-year foreign residence requirement. This list is not exhaustive but is representative of the most common reasons for adjustment of status ineligibility.
Eligibility for Adjustment of Status varies widely from person to person and it is best to consult a San Diego immigration lawyer before deciding how to proceed.