Adjustment of Status (AOS) is a process that allows individuals who are present in the United States to apply for permanent resident status, also known as a green card. In our last blog post, we went into detail on what the process entails. If you’d like to read more about it, you can check it out here.
In this post, we would like to cover some questions that are the most asked about the AOS process to help you better understand what is involved.
How long does the Adjustment of Status process take?
The length of time it takes to complete the adjustment of status process can vary widely. Factors that can affect the processing time include the workload of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the availability of required documentation. Generally, allowing several months to complete the process is a good idea. The entire process can take anywhere from 8 – 12 months. However, different circumstances can cause the process to be delayed.
This is why it is advisable to use an immigration lawyer for your filing process to ensure that every “I” is dotted and every “T” is crossed.
Can you expedite the Adjustment of Status process?
There are a few ways to expedite the adjustment of status process:
- Prove severe financial loss: The USCIS may consider speeding up the process if a petitioner can prove that there will be a serious loss of income or financial impact if the process is not completed. It is important to note that what is considered a severe loss by the USCIS is unclear, and few of these petitions are granted.
- Humanitarian emergencies: If you are facing a humanitarian emergency, such as a severe medical condition or the death of a family member, you may be able to request expedited processing of your adjustment of status application.
- Severe delays: If your application has been pending for an unusually long time, you may be able to request expedited processing.
Can I travel after requesting an Adjustment of Status?
Traveling abroad while your Form I-485 Adjustment of Status application is still being processed, including quick trips to Canada or Mexico, may result in the rejection of your Form I-485. Unless the following criteria are met, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will assume that you have abandoned your application.
The criteria include:
- You have a valid H, L, V, or K3/K4 nonimmigrant visa and are an H, L, V, or K3/K4 nonimmigrant who is maintaining lawful nonimmigrant status; or
- Prior to leaving the country, you applied for and received an advance parole document, and upon your return, you are granted parole. You may sometimes be denied entry into the U.S. even with an approved advance parole document. Therefore, it is advised that unless travel is absolutely necessary, you stay in the U.S. for the duration of your AOS application.
What happens if my Adjustment of Status is Denied?
Suppose USCIS denies your request for status adjustment, and you don’t already have a legal right to remain in the country (usually granted by a visa). In that case, USCIS will initiate removal proceedings against you in immigration court. You will have the chance to present your case there.
The important thing is that it’s not the worst-case scenario. The immigration court may reconsider your eligibility unless information from the USCIS review shows that you are ineligible for the green card you sought.
To ensure that you are covering all your bases if you find yourself in this situation, you can reach out to us by calling, sending an email, filling our contact form, or scheduling an appointment. We would be happy to take you through the next steps, and represent you in your court proceedings.
If you have any other questions concerning the AOS process, please do not hesitate to contact us.