adjustment of status application process

Adjustment of Status for Employees: What You Need to Know

Adjustment of Status (AOS) via employers and/or companies can be complicated for foreign nationals in the United States. In this article, the immigration attorneys at Lamb & Turner PLLC will explain the entire process, from start to finish. Keep reading to learn more.

What Is Adjustment of Status via Employment?

For foreign nationals working in the United States who already have an employment visa, employment-based adjustment of status is a pathway to remain in the country permanently and obtain their Green Card.

If approved for adjustment of status by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), workers can continue to remain in the U.S without traveling to their country of origin to process their visa paperwork. This way, the workers do not have to take time away from the same jobs, which is the very reason they seek to remain in the U.S lawfully.

Am I Eligible for Adjustment of Status?

To qualify for an employment-based adjustment of status, a foreign national must have an EB-1, EB-2, or EB-3 visa – also known collectively as employment visas. There are many other employ

  • EB-1 is for Priority Workers, defined as foreign nationals with exceptional abilities in business, athletics, mathematics, education, arts, and sciences.
  • EB-2 is for Professionals with Advanced Degrees or Exceptional Abilities, including workers whose skills and abilities have been identified as substantially beneficial to the U.S. economy, welfare, cultural or educational interests.
  • EB-3 visas are for those Professional or Skilled Workers who hold a bachelor’s degree or foreign nationals who can perform skilled/unskilled labor for which there are no U.S. equivalents.

In addition to needing one of these employment-based visas, foreign nationals seeking an adjustment of status must also be presently located in the United States.

If both the visa and the location requirements are met, USCIS’s Form I-485 can be used to register for adjustment of status.

How to Apply for Adjustment of Status

For employment-based immigrant petitions, the paperwork begins with the applicant’s prospective employer or agent obtaining a labor certification approval from the Department of Labor.  After receiving the labor certification, the next step is to file USCIS’s Form I-140 petition filled out by the employer. The employer must be the present employer with whom the applicant currently works and plans to remain working.

Form I-485 is next, to be filled out by the worker seeking an adjustment of status.

There are required supporting documents for each form that must be sent to USCIS. After receiving and reviewing the submitted forms, USCIS will arrange a biometrics appointment for the applicant to attend. A photo, fingerprints, and signature authorizing a criminal background check are all collected here.

USCIS may or may not invite the applicant to attend a Green Card interview at a local USCIS office, based on the information the agency has from the forms and the results of the criminal background check conducted with the assistance of the FBI and local law enforcement.

How Long Does the Adjustment of Status Process Take?

The adjustment of status process can last anywhere from months to years, but it typically takes 8 to 14 months. Length of processing is affected by types of Green Cards sought, any errors or inconsistencies in the applicant’s forms, and whether enough of the required evidence is provided. Unfortunately, administrative backlogs and limited federal resources also play a role in extending the time it takes to process applications and issue Green Cards.

What Happens If Your Adjustment of Status Application Is Denied?

If USCIS denies an applicant’s petition for an adjustment of status, that individual is no longer in a state of lawful immigration status. Additionally, the individual is no longer legally eligible to work in the U.S. and must make plans to leave the country as soon as possible.

immigration application denied

USCIS may deny an adjustment of status application for several reasons, including administrative reasons like filling out a form incorrectly or paying the wrong fee. Likewise, there are sometimes more complex causes like something new is discovered during the criminal records check.  

In some circumstances, an applicant may submit a new Green Card application with corrections or pursue a different pathway than adjustment of status altogether. For example, if the applicant didn’t include crucial evidence that USCIS requested the first time or did not sign forms, the applicant can send a new application with the corrections. In other situations, the applicant may not apply for a Green Card again, for example, if USCIS denied the initial application due to ineligibility.

If denied, it is highly recommended to talk to an immigration lawyer due to the wide range of possibilities as to why the application might be rejected and figure out what to do next.

Do I Need an Attorney for Adjustment of Status?

Going through the adjustment of status process shouldn’t be handled alone. Failing to file your application correctly can lead to delays and complications down the road, so you will need a Houston immigration lawyer with the experience, knowledge, and resources to help you. At Lamb & Turner, PLLC, our distinguished attorneys practice exclusively in immigration law.

Contact our attorneys today to get started. Se habla Español.