When a foreigner intends getting Green Card (GK) or an I-551 card of permanent residence, giving him “residence” status and the right to live and work in the USA, he should go thought the AOS process. The abbreviations “hides” the process name — Adjustment of Status. Most of the applications referring to AOSare taken into the process through a person’s employer or through family relations.
The Process of AOS
After the application for AOS months can pass until the process of getting the residence status is completed. The applicant should go through seven stages and pass medical examination successfully to get his AOSapplication approved. These stages are as follows:
Medical examination: a professional surgeon, approved by USCIS, conducts it.
Filing of I-485, the form that is called Adjustment of Status application. Together with the other required documents it is sent to USCIS vial mail.
NOA (Notice of Action)1 — the document the applicant gets from USCIS. It informs the sender that his application was already received.
NOA 2, containing information with instructions for appointment concerning biometrics.
NOA 3(when it is needed) – the paper with tips and instructions about an interview.
NOA 4, the most important for an applicant notice informing him if his application was denied or approved.
In 2017 the approximate time that passes since the moment a person applies for his AOS till the day when he gets NOA 4, telling about his denial or happy approval is half a year. This period can vary from 4.5 up to 6 months and more. It always depends on certain circumstances. An applicant can wait for his AOS approval (getting NOA4) more than 6 months in following cases:
When USCIS is overload with job to be done;
When USCIS requires an interview with an applicant;
When certain errors are found in the application or it is found that important documents are missed;
When the applicant comes originally or applies from the place (country) fraud often comes from;
Most delays in getting AOS approved (denied) usually come from mistakes, misprints and missing documents in the very beginning of the AOS process.
See AOS Timeline.
Requirements of Eligibility
Find out if you are really eligible to get Green card earlier than you apply for AOS and start this time-taking process. Check if you meet these requirements:
You follow all the demands of your visa. It never matters if your visa was given to you through your family, spouse, employer, whether is it K1 visa for fiancée.
You have come to the USA and stay there legally, by lawful admission.
You have not committed any crimes or other illegal activities, including terrorism and violence.
Medical commission did not find you suffer from certain diseases that do not let you staying in United States.
You have never worked or been employed illegally.
Some exceptions are possible, and waivers in these cases are available. Visit the page with more information concerning the AOS eligibility.
Costs and Fees
All fees for government do not change. However the other fees can vary in each case, according to the situation with each applicant. For February, 2017 the fees for filing are as follows:
The total sum is $1,225
Note that there will be an additional filing fee of $535 or $700 respectively if the applicant is concurrently filing an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative or an I-140 Petition for Alien
An applicant must be ready to pay additionally $700 or $535 when filing I-140 Alien Petition or I-130 Alien Relative Petition.
The needed forms
Although the quantity of documents for AOS varies, the following stuff is always needed:
Sometimes an applicant needs to come through an interview when USCIS requires it. The event takes place in USCIS office (local). The applicant has to have with him ID cards and all required documents. The interview purpose is usually an updating of the data provided by an applicant and to review all contradictions that were found in the applicant’s documents.
Approval (denial) of I-485
The applicant is always notified if his I-485 AOS is approved. In this case he will get Green Card in less than two weeks. The applicant becomes permanent resident of the USA since the day of AOS approval.
From Green Card to citizenship
When 5 years passes since the time when a person got his GK, he can go further and apply for the USA citizenship. When this process that is called naturalization is successful, the person becomes the citizen of United States and gets all the rights the other citizens of this country have.