Adjustment of status is a common immigration term, used to mean a variety of things. In reality, it pertains to a specific procedure, namely the act of “adjusting status” from visa holder to lawful permanent resident (LPR) without having to leave the United States. Doing so is fairly straightforward; however, it is not without its confusing aspects. The method of adjusting one’s status is also constantly undergoing changes, even as of this writing.
To be able to adjust status while inside the U.S., you must fit one or more of the visa categories; in other words, you must be either the beneficiary of an immigrant visa petition filed either beforehand or concurrently (depending on the category you are applying in), or you must have applied for and received a specific visa which permits adjustment of status. Categories include the following:
One of the most important factors to remember is that adjustment of status only applies to those inside the country who meet the criteria. However, this does not mean that you may never become a lawful permanent resident if you do not meet the criteria for adjustment of status. It is possible to obtain LPR status at a consulate abroad, but such a path is obviously not preferred, as it requires a stay of some duration outside of the United States.
Changes to Procedure
Given the overwhelming backlog present in most areas of our country’s immigration system, a significant change to adjustment of status procedures was proposed, and has recently gone into effect. Starting with the visa bulletin for October 1, 2015, which began the 2016 fiscal year, two charts instead of one will be posted with regard to each preference category. One will show priority dates, but the other will show the date upon which those waiting may apply for adjustment of status. This can give a significant boost to the process by cutting down on the waiting time for these people.
The rationale is that if someone is approved to begin adjustment of status, they must then spend more time waiting afterward. Allowing someone to begin the process before their priority date becomes current costs the government nothing, and can aid the potential immigrant by allowing him or her to get their papers in order much quicker than he or she could previously.
A Legal Professional Can Help
If you intend to apply for lawful permanent residence in the United States, and meet the criteria, you may still do better if you have a knowledgeable immigration attorney on your side. The skilled DuPage County immigration attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC understand that the maze of laws and regulations can be quite confusing, and we are happy to help guide you through it. Contact our offices today to discuss your case.
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