In the context of adjustment of status in the United States, the “90-day rule” refers to a guideline used by immigration officials to determine whether a nonimmigrant who enters the country and subsequently applies for adjustment of status (i.e., applying to become a lawful permanent resident) misrepresented their intentions when they entered.
The rule states that if a nonimmigrant engages in activities inconsistent with their status within 90 days of entry, such as marrying a U.S. citizen or filing an application for adjustment of status, it is presumed that they misrepresented their intentions at the time of entry. This presumption can lead to serious consequences, including denial of the adjustment of status application and potentially being barred from reentering the United States.
However, it’s essential to note that the 90-day rule is a guideline and not an absolute rule. Each case is considered individually, and factors such as the timing and circumstances of the activities are taken into account. It’s crucial for individuals navigating the adjustment of status process to be aware of this rule and seek guidance from immigration professionals if they have any concerns about their eligibility.
How to apply for Adjustment of Status
To apply for Adjustment of Status (AOS) in the United States, typically you must meet certain eligibility requirements and follow specific steps outlined by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Here’s a general overview of the process:
- Determine Eligibility: Ensure you meet the eligibility criteria for Adjustment of Status. This usually involves being eligible for a green card (permanent residence) based on family sponsorship, employment, refugee or asylee status, diversity visa lottery, or other special provisions.
- File Form I-485: The primary form for adjusting status is Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. Along with this form, you’ll need to submit supporting documents such as identity and civil documents, evidence of eligibility, medical examination results (Form I-693), and any required affidavits.
- File Additional Forms: Depending on your specific situation, you may need to file additional forms along with Form I-485. For example:
- If you’re adjusting based on marriage to a U.S. citizen, you may need to file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.
- If you’re adjusting based on employment, your employer may need to file Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker.
- If you entered the U.S. as a fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen and are adjusting status based on that relationship, you may need to file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), among others.
- Pay Fees: Pay the required filing fees for Form I-485 and any other associated forms. USCIS may offer fee waivers for certain applicants who meet specific criteria.
- Biometrics Appointment: After USCIS receives your application, you’ll likely be scheduled for a biometrics appointment where your fingerprints, photograph, and signature will be taken for background checks.
- Attend Interview (if required): Depending on your case, USCIS may require you to attend an interview to review your application and eligibility for adjustment of status. Be prepared to answer questions about your background, relationship (if applicable), and immigration history.
- Receive Decision: After USCIS reviews your application and any supporting evidence, you’ll receive a decision on your adjustment of status application. If approved, you’ll receive your green card in the mail. If denied, you may have options to appeal or reapply, depending on the reasons for the denial.
It’s essential to carefully follow all instructions provided by USCIS and seek guidance from an immigration attorney or accredited representative if you have any questions or concerns about the adjustment of status process. The process can vary based on individual circumstances, so personalized advice can be invaluable.
Form I-485 checklist of documents
When preparing your Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, it’s crucial to include all required supporting documents to avoid delays or potential issues with your application. Here’s Form I-485 checklist of commonly required documents:
- Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status: Make sure the form is completed accurately and signed where required.
- Photographs: Provide the required passport-style photographs according to USCIS specifications. Ensure they meet the size, format, and quality requirements.
- Copy of Birth Certificate: Provide a copy of your birth certificate (with certified translation if not in English). This document verifies your identity and date of birth.
- Copy of Passport: Include a copy of your passport biographical page(s) showing your name, date of birth, photo, passport number, and expiration date.
- Copy of Visa: If applicable, provide a copy of your current nonimmigrant visa.
- Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record: Include a copy of your most recent Form I-94, which shows your current immigration status and authorized period of stay.
- Form I-797, Notice of Action: Provide a copy of any Form I-797 approval notices for previous immigration applications or petitions, if applicable.
- Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record: Complete the medical examination with a USCIS-approved civil surgeon and submit Form I-693 in a sealed envelope.
- Certified Copies of Court Records: If you have ever been arrested, charged, or convicted of a crime, provide certified copies of court records, including dispositions and any related documentation.
- Marriage Certificate or Proof of Relationship: If applying as a spouse, provide a copy of your marriage certificate. For other family-based applications, provide proof of the qualifying relationship.
- Form I-864, Affidavit of Support: If required, include Form I-864 signed by the sponsor and supporting financial documents demonstrating sufficient income to support you.
- Form I-944, Declaration of Self-Sufficiency (if applicable): Include this form if required, along with supporting evidence of factors such as income, assets, health insurance, and education.
- Employment Authorization Document (EAD) Application (Form I-765): If you’re concurrently applying for an EAD, include Form I-765 and supporting documents.
- Advance Parole Application (Form I-131): If you’re concurrently applying for Advance Parole, include Form I-131 and supporting documents.
- Filing Fees: Include the appropriate filing fees or request a fee waiver if eligible.
Ensure that you thoroughly review the Form I-485 instructions and USCIS website for any updates or specific requirements related to your case. It’s also advisable to organize your documents neatly and provide clear copies to facilitate the processing of your application. If you have any doubts or questions, consider seeking guidance from an immigration attorney or accredited representative.