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Green card Adjustment of status to that of a lawful permanent resident (Green card holder) is the process by which a person already in the US has their immigration status adjusted to that of a permanent resident (green card holder). The applicant determines the desired method of processing at the time the initial petition for classification as an immigrant is filed.

When the individual opts to adjust his or her status, he is she is applying to obtain his or her green card in the United States without having to leave and go abroad. It is extremely important to note that not everyone qualifies for this procedure. Those that do must submit all applicable applications and required evidence to the bureau citizenship and immigration services (USCIS).

Overview of Adjustment of Status Process

When applying for a green card through the adjustment of status process, an individual must submit several documents along with the applicable forms. To apply for a green card, the applicant must submit the following forms along with the required application:

  • results of a medical examination,
  • an affidavit of support,
  • evidence of the approval for immigration,
  • and a copy of the applicant’s passport.

    NOTE: Evidence of any familial relationships must also be submitted, if family members are seeking to adjust their status with the principle applicant.

    Work and Travel Authorization

    If the applicant wishes to work or travel abroad while the adjustment of status (green card) application is pending, additional forms must be filed. A person is authorized to work and travel for only one year at a time. Because of delays of the bureau citizenship and immigration services (USCIS) in processing the application for adjustment of status (green card), the applicant ends up having to apply to renew these documents.

    NOTE: It is EXTREMELY important to know that you MUST NOT leave the United States with an expired Travel authorization document. Doing so will classify you as inadmissible upon return to the US and you may qualify for expedited removal (Removal-Deportation without a hearing through a removal proceeding in the Immigration Court).

    Adjustment of Status (Green card) Interviews

    Not all adjustment of status applicants are interviewed, although the law provides that any adjustment applicant may be interviewed. Interviews are always conducted in marriage cases, but are less frequent in other family relationships. Interviews are quite rare in employment-based cases.

    After approval for adjustment of status, it takes some months before the physical green card is obtained. If the approval follows an interview, the INS will stamp the applicant’s passport with an indication that they are a US permanent resident. The stamp on the passport serves as a temporary green card until the actual physical green card is received in the mail. If there is no interview, the applicant will receive a notice that the application has been approved, which they can take to a local INS office and obtain the stamp as a replacement of the green card. A few months later, they will receive the green card in the mail.

    NOTE: If after several months after the green card interview, you still do not hear whether you are approved or denied, the best way to get information is by either attending an INFOPass appointment or retaining an attorney to do so for you.



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