Immigration Lawyer With Offices In Albuquerque New Mexico ,Assisting Clients To Obtain Their Green Card:

Changing to Immigrant Status While in the United States

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 are present in the United States.

That means you may get a Green Card without having to return to your home country to complete visa processing.

Consular processing is an alternate process for an individual outside the United States.

Or who is in the United States but is ineligible to adjust status to obtain a visa abroad and enter the United States as a permanent resident.

His/Her pathway referred to as “consular processing.”

Steps for Adjustment Of Status

  • Determine Your Basis to Immigrate
  • The first step in the adjustment of status process is to determine if you fit into a specific immigrant category. Most immigrants become eligible for a green card (permanent residence) through a petition filed on your behalf by a family member or employer. Others become permanent residents through first obtaining refugee or asylum status, or through several other special provisions.
  • File the Immigrant Petition
  • When you know what category you believe best fits your situation, in most cases, you will need to have an immigrant petition filed on your behalf.


Family-based categories require that a U.S. citizen or permanent resident relative file a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, for you.


Employment-based categories most often require the intending U.S. employer to file a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker, for you. Entrepreneurs who intend to invest significant amounts of capital into a business venture in the United States may file Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur” on their behalf. For more information, see our Working in the U.S page

Special Classes of Immigrants

In some cases, certain immigrants may file a Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), and Special Immigrant, or have one filed on their behalf.

To learn more about who may file a particular immigrant petition, see the “Form I-360” link to the right.

Humanitarian Programs

Most humanitarian programs do not require an underlying petition. However, individuals may need to meet additional requirements before they can adjust status.

Depending on the category you wish to adjust under, you may be eligible to have the petition filed at the same time that you file your Form I-485.

Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status; This is called “concurrent filing.” Immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen may be able to file concurrently.

Also, other certain classes of individuals who have a visa immediately available may be able to file simultaneously.

How To file I-485 Form With an Immigration Attorney

Most categories, however, require that you first establish your eligibility for the immigrant category by having an approved petition before you are allowed to file Form I-485.

For these categories, you will not be able to file concurrently.

  • Check Visa Availability
  • You may not file your Form I-485 until a visa is available in your category. If an immigrant visa is currently available to you, you may be able to apply for permanent residence status on Form I-485.
  • File Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residency or Adjust Status
  • Regardless of whether a petition must be filed and approved before your filing Form I-485 or whether it may filed concurrently, you will need to apply for permanent residence on Form I-485 at the appropriate time.

Note: There are a few categories that may require a different form than Form I-485.

  • Go to your Application Support Center appointment (fingerprints)
  • After you file your application, you will notified to appear at an Application Support Center for bio-metrics collection, which usually involves having your picture and signature taken and fingerprinted.
  • This information will be used to conduct your required security checks and for the eventual creation of a green card, employment authorization (work permit), or advance parole document.
  • Go to your interview (if applicable)
  • You will notified of the date, time, and location for an interview at a USCIS office to answer questions under oath or affirmation regarding your application.
  • You must attend all the interviews when you receive a notice.

When you arrive at your interview, you and the family member that filed the Form I-130 petition on your behalf, if applicable.

Must bring originals of all documentation submitted with this application, including passports, official travel documents, and Form I-94 regardless if they are expired.

Not all applications require an interview. USCIS officials will review your case to determine if it meets one of the exceptions.

  • Get your final decision in the mail
  • After all, paperwork has received, interviews conducted (if necessary), security checks completed, and other eligibility requirements reviewed, your case will be ready for a decision by USCIS. In all cases, you will notified of the decision in writing.

The granting of permanent residency generally recorded as the date that you became a permanent resident.

Refugees and certain humanitarian parolees will have their date of adjustment of status recorded as that of their entry into the United States as a refugee.

Asylees, whether the first filer or his/her derivatives, will have their date of adjustment recorded as one year before the date of being granted permanent residence.

Wait Time

There is no time limit on when USCIS must make a decision after an interview in an adjustment of status case. Some adjustment of status applicants do not even require an interview. While there is no official timeline, the USCIS does aim to make a decision within three to four months after an interview.

USCIS About Green Card

I-485 Form USCIS