Adjustment of Status

What is Adjustment of Status?

The procedure to become a lawful permanent resident without having to leave the United States an apply for an immigrant visa is called Adjustment of Status.  When you do have to travel outside of the United States that procedure is called Consular Processing.  However, if you leave the U.S. you may be subject to the 3 and 10 year bars.  If you qualify to adjust you don’t need to worry about the bars, because you are not leaving the U.S.

Am I eligible to adjust my status in the U.S.?

If the priority date is current, you may be eligible to apply for adjustment to permanent resident status if you are already in the U.S. and if one or more of the following categories apply to you:

  • Family member.  You either have an approved  family-based immigrant visa petition or are filing it at the same time as your adjustment of status petition;
  • Employment.  You either have an approved employment-based immigrant visa petition or are filing it at the same as your adjustment of status petition;
  • Fiance(e). Your fiance applied for you to enter with a visa and you married him or within 90 days of entering the U.S.  If you entered as a dependent of your parent’s fiance visa, you may apply to adjust status based on your parent’s status. Or, if you married the U.S. citizen but not within the 90-day of entering the U.S., you can still adjust but your spouse now also has to file an immediate relative petition for you first.  If you did not marry the U.S. citizen fiance who filed on your behalf, or if you married another U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, you are not eligible to adjust status in the United States. Your spouse can still petition for you but you must adjust through Consular Processing;
  • Asylee/Refugee.  You have been in the U.S. or at least a year after they granted you asylum or refugee status and still qualify as an asylee or refugee or as the spouse or child of one;
  • Diversity Visa (Lottery).  You received notice from the Department of State that you have won a visa in the Green Card Lottery;
  • Registry.  This means you have lived continuously in the United States since before January 1, 1972; or
  • You are a Cuban citizenship/nationality.

What is an Immediate Relative?

Immediate relatives are certain immigrants that because of their relationship to a U.S. citizen are exempt from the numerical limitations imposed on immigration to the United States.  Immediate relatives are:

  • spouses of citizens,
  • children (under 21 years of age and unmarried) of citizens, and
  • parents of citizens 21 years of age or older.

Immediate relatives can generally adjust their status in the U.S. without having to depart via consular processing.  If your relative is not an immediate relative under this definition, then you must do the consular process in order to receive your green card. That can leave you subject to the 3 and 10-year bars unless you qualify for legal status via a different program.  To find out if you qualify go to and answer the questions for your free analysis.

If an immediate relative can petition for you, you should first speak to an immigration attorney but should apply as soon as possible.  If you want to speak to our knowledgeable staff call 888-695-6169.

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