Adjustment of Status

The process for applying for a green card from within the United States is called Adjustment of Status (AOS). When you apply for AOS, you will be able to stay in the United States while your application is being processed.


To qualify for adjustment of status you must be eligible for a green card based on one of the following categories:

  • Family: You can qualify for a family-based green card as the spouse, child, parent, or other close relative of a U.S. citizen or green card holder.
  • Employment: You can qualify for an employment-based green card through sponsorship by your employer or based on your own accomplishments and abilities.
  • Other: You can qualify for a green card on humanitarian grounds, through the diversity lottery, or for other reasons.

You must have used a valid visa or the Visa Waiver Program for your most recent entry to the United States. Most applicants must be in lawful status when they first apply for Adjustment of Status even if their visa later expires before the process is complete.

Through Marriage

Every adjustment application is based on a petition. The petition must set forward a “petitioner” and a “beneficiary.” The petitioner must be a citizen of the United States. The beneficiary must be a spouse of the petitioner. The beneficiary must also be “admissible” to the United States. The couple must show that the marriage is legitimate and that it was entered into in good faith. Good faith requirements are somewhat vague; USCIS is seeking to establish the marriage was entered into for love and affection, not for the purpose of immigration benefits.

The petitioner must also show a financial ability to sponsor the beneficiary. To do so, the petitioner must document the yearly income and provide the government with paystubs, taxes, and other relevant financial information. The Adjustment of Status process must be done within the United States. If the person is abroad, the process that they will have to do in order to immigrate to the United States is called Consular Processing because they have to complete their immigration process by having their interview at a U.S Consulate in their home country, if the green card is approved, the consulate officer will put a stamp on the applicant’s passport that will serve as proof of authorized lawful entry to the United States.

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