By Atty. James G. Beirne

What is an Adjustment of Status?

U.S. immigration laws allow a person to change their immigration status from nonimmigrant or parolee to permanent resident, by applying for an adjustment of status (AOS). A great advantage to applying for AOS is that a person who qualifies to become a permanent resident of the U.S. may apply for a green card without leaving the United States. The other way to obtain permanent residence is consular processing, where the applicant would apply for their visa abroad.

In order to be eligible, you must have your immigration petition approved by the USCIS, you must be physically present in the U.S., and your priority date should be current.

In order to begin the process, you will need to complete Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. Depending on what type of eligibility you have, you will need to also submit additional forms. For instance, if your green card is family based you will need to include Form I-130, or Form I-140 if your card is employment based. It is recommended to speak with an experienced immigration attorney before you begin this process, as any mistakes mean that your forms will be rejected.

There may be an interview involved as well. If you are requested to appear for an interview and do not attend, your application can be rejected. Sometimes the USCIS will request an interview to obtain additional information, or want to know if there are any new circumstances in your life since you have entered the country. If you are not called for an interview, and other eligibility requirements have been satisfied (security check, completed paperwork), the applicant will receive a notice that the application has been approved by mail. Once the adjustment has been granted, the applicant is considered a permanent resident.


• Adjustment of status has several advantages. One of the biggest advantages is that the processing can take place without traveling out of the country.

• Another advantage to this type of process is that usually only a small percentage of employment-based applications are returned for an interview. Otherwise, in most cases the interview will be waived. However, all lottery and family based applications are normally interviewed.

• Adjustment of status applicants can apply for an employment authorization document simultaneously with their adjustment of status application. Employment authorizations normally have a 90-day processing time and are valid for one year. It is helpful to apply for an employment authorization at the same time. This allows the applicant longer work authorization validity periods, and the ability to continue to work in the event that the adjustment of status application is denied.

• Adjustment of status applicants can apply for permission to leave the U.S. temporarily after the AOS has been submitted. In addition, in 2000, changes in the law allow the AOS applicant to change jobs if the application process has taken 180 days or more, provided that the employment is in the same or similar occupation.

To learn more about how an Adjustment of Status can work for you or a loved one, speak with an experienced immigration attorney from the law offices of James G. Beirne. We provide immigration services including family, fiancé and employment petitions, student and investor visas, visa extensions, naturalization and much more. Come in today and speak with an immigration lawyer from our team. We will provide you with sound legal guidance as well as a free consultation. We have three locations to serve you, Glendale (818) 552-4500, Cerritos (562) 865-4480 and West Covina (626) 262-4446. With your first appointment, you will receive legal guidance and a free consultation, so call today.


An active member of the State Bar of California and the State Bar of Nevada, James G. Beirne is also a member of the highly respected American Immigration Lawyers Association and Los Angeles County Bar Association Immigration Section. He is admitted to practice before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, all federal district courts in California and Nevada, California state courts, and Nevada state courts. Mr. Beirne has represented clients in numerous immigration cases. His offices are located at 520 E. Wilson Ave., Suite 110, Glendale, CA 91206, and 17215 Studebaker Rd., Suite 380, Cerritos, CA 90703, with telephone numbers (818) 552-4500; (562) 865-4480; and (866) 903-4522. He also has offices at 2640 E. Garvey Ave., Suite 104, West Covina 91791, with tel. no. (626) 262-4446. His newest office is at Valencia Executive Plaza, Suite 200-E, 27201 Tourney Road, Valencia, CA 91355, tel. no. (661) 200-0644.

(Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. Results may vary depending on the facts of a particular case. We make no prediction, warranty or guarantee about the results of any case, nor do we assume any legal liability for the completeness of any information and its impact on the results of any case. Each case is different and results depend on the facts of each case. Consult with and retain counsel of your own choice if you need legal advice.)