The “Adjustment of Status through marriage” is a crucial immigration process in the United States that allows foreign nationals who entered the country on temporary visas to change their immigration status and obtain a permanent residence card, commonly known as a green card. This process is available to those who are married to a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident. In this comprehensive article, we will delve into the intricacies of this process, including eligibility requirements, the application process, potential challenges, and alternatives for those who may not qualify for adjustment of status through marriage.

Eligibility Requirements

Physical Presence in the U.S.: To qualify for adjustment of status through marriage, the foreign spouse must be physically present in the United States.

Admissibility Requirements: Applicants must meet certain admissibility criteria, which include factors such as criminal history, previous immigration violations, and public charge considerations.

Legitimate Marriage: The marriage must be genuine and not entered into solely for immigration benefits. USCIS scrutinizes the authenticity of the marital relationship to prevent fraudulent marriages aimed at obtaining immigration benefits.

Supporting Documents: Applicants are required to provide various supporting documents, including the marriage certificate, birth certificate, proof of legal entry into the U.S., and evidence of the spouse’s U.S. citizenship or permanent residency.

The Application Process

The adjustment of status process involves several steps:

Form Submission: Applicants must submit specific immigration forms, including Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) and Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative).

Biometrics Appointment: After form submission, applicants are typically scheduled for a biometrics appointment, where fingerprints and photographs are taken.

Interview: USCIS may require the couple to attend an interview to verify the legitimacy of their marriage. During the interview, questions may be asked about the relationship, living arrangements, and other relevant details.

Additional Evidence: If USCIS requests additional evidence to support the application, it must be promptly provided.

Processing Time: The processing time for adjustment of status can vary significantly based on the USCIS service center handling the case and the immigrant’s category (spouse of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident). It’s crucial to stay updated on current processing times to manage expectations.

Potential Challenges and Denials

If the adjustment of status application is denied, there are several options available:

Motion to Reconsider or Reopen: Applicants can file a motion to reconsider or reopen their case if they believe USCIS made an error or if they have new evidence to present.

Consular Processing: If eligible, individuals can explore consular processing, which involves completing the immigrant visa application at a U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country.

Exploring Other Immigration Paths: It’s essential to be aware of alternative immigration avenues, such as employment-based visas or family-sponsored preferences, if the adjustment of status is not an option.

Work Authorization During the Process

Applicants can apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) concurrently with their adjustment of status application. Once issued, the EAD allows the applicant to work legally in the United States while their adjustment of status application is pending.

The Role of Experienced Immigration Attorneys

Navigating the adjustment of status process can be complex, and the stakes are high. Engaging an experienced immigration attorney can greatly assist applicants in avoiding costly mistakes, ensuring all requirements are met, and increasing the likelihood of a successful outcome.

Additional Aspects to Consider

Specific Processing Times: While processing times were mentioned as variable, it’s essential to provide up-to-date information on current processing times to help applicants plan accordingly.

Costs Beyond Filing Fees: In addition to filing fees, applicants should be aware of other potential costs, such as those associated with obtaining additional documents like the EAD, as well as any legal consultation fees.

The Interview Process: Detailed information about what to expect during the interview, including types of questions and how to prepare, can ease the anxiety many applicants experience.

Consequences of Denial: Exploring the consequences of denial, such as potential removal proceedings, is critical for applicants to understand the full implications of their case.

EAD Eligibility: A comprehensive explanation of who is eligible for an EAD, the application process, and its validity period can be immensely helpful for applicants.

Changing Immigration Policies: Given the ever-evolving nature of immigration policies, emphasizing the importance of staying informed about policy changes is essential for applicants.

Impact on Current Immigration Status: Addressing how the adjustment of status process affects an individual’s current immigration status, particularly if their temporary visa is about to expire, is crucial for planning.

Alternatives to Adjustment of Status: Providing a brief overview of other immigration pathways for those who may not qualify for adjustment of status through marriage can be valuable for readers seeking alternative routes to stay in the United States.


The “Adjustment of Status through marriage” process is a significant opportunity for foreign nationals to secure permanent residency in the United States through marriage to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. While it offers a path to a green card, the journey can be complex, requiring meticulous attention to eligibility criteria, documentation, and procedural steps. Seeking the guidance of an experienced immigration attorney and staying informed about current immigration policies are crucial steps to navigate this process successfully. Additionally, understanding alternatives for those who do not meet the requirements ensures that individuals have a comprehensive view of their immigration options in the United States.