Understanding Adjustment of Status

Adjustment of Status (AOS) refers to the process by which an individual can apply for lawful permanent resident status in the United States without having to return to their home country for visa processing.

Asylum Application Process Overview

Individuals fleeing persecution or fear of persecution in their home country may apply for asylum in the United States. Asylum seekers can file Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Eligibility for Adjustment of Status

Criteria for Adjustment of Status

To be eligible for AOS, applicants must meet certain criteria, including having entered the United States legally or being parolees, having no bars to adjustment, demonstrating good moral character, and being eligible based on their pending asylum application.

Legal Entry vs. Parolee Status

Individuals who entered the United States with a valid visa are considered to have entered legally. Parolees, on the other hand, are individuals who were allowed to enter the United States for humanitarian or public interest reasons.

No Bar to Adjustment

Certain criminal convictions or immigration violations can bar individuals from adjusting their status.

Good Moral Character

Applicants must demonstrate good moral character, which includes factors such as criminal history, financial responsibility, and compliance with immigration laws.

Eligibility Based on Asylum Application

Individuals with pending asylum applications may be eligible to apply for AOS once they have been physically present in the United States for at least one year after their asylum application was filed.

Documentation Required

Form I-485 Application

The primary form for AOS is Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

Evidence of Asylum Application

Applicants must provide evidence of their pending asylum application, such as a copy of Form I-589 and any related correspondence with USCIS.

Employment Authorization

Applicants may also apply for employment authorization while their AOS application is pending by filing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.

Medical Examination

A medical examination conducted by a USCIS-approved physician is required to demonstrate that the applicant does not pose a health risk to the public.

Supporting Documents

Additional supporting documents, such as birth certificates, passports, and marriage certificates, may be required to establish identity and familial relationships.

Application Process

Filing Form I-485

Applicants must submit Form I-485 along with the required documentation and filing fee to USCIS.

Biometrics Appointment

After filing Form I-485, applicants will be scheduled for a biometrics appointment to provide fingerprints, photographs, and signature.

Interview Process

Some applicants may be required to attend an interview at a USCIS field office to review their AOS application.

Decision on the Application

Once USCIS reviews the AOS application and supporting documents, they will make a decision on whether to approve or deny the application.

Implications of Pending Asylum on Adjustment of Status

Impact on Travel

Individuals with pending asylum applications may face restrictions on international travel until their AOS application is approved.

Employment Authorization

Applicants may apply for employment authorization while their AOS application is pending to legally work in the United States.

Access to Public Benefits

While awaiting a decision on their AOS application, individuals may have limited access to certain public benefits.

Strategies for Expedited Processing

Expedite Requests

In certain circumstances, applicants may request expedited processing of their AOS application due to urgent humanitarian reasons or significant financial loss.

Congressional Inquiry

Applicants may seek assistance from their congressional representatives to inquire about the status of their AOS application.

Ombudsman Assistance

The USCIS Ombudsman’s office provides assistance to individuals experiencing delays or difficulties with their immigration applications.

Common Challenges and Solutions

Lengthy Processing Times

Due to high caseloads and staffing issues, AOS applications may experience delays. Patience and persistence are key during this process.

Requests for Additional Evidence

USCIS may request additional evidence to support an AOS application. Promptly providing requested documents can help expedite the process.

Denial and Appeal Process

If an AOS application is denied, applicants have the right to appeal the decision or file a motion to reopen or reconsider.

Legal Assistance and Resources

Importance of Legal Counsel

Seeking guidance from an experienced immigration attorney can help navigate the complexities of the AOS process and address any challenges that may arise.

Pro Bono Services

Several organizations offer pro bono legal services to asylum seekers and individuals applying for AOS.

Community Organizations

Local community organizations often provide resources, support, and guidance to individuals navigating the immigration system.


Navigating the Adjustment of Status process while your asylum application is pending requires patience, diligence, and understanding of the intricacies involved. By familiarizing yourself with the eligibility criteria, required documentation, application process, and available resources, you can successfully navigate this important step towards obtaining lawful permanent resident status in the United States.


  1. Can I travel internationally while my AOS application is pending? While it’s generally discouraged, you may be able to obtain permission for urgent travel by applying for advance parole.
  2. How long does the AOS process take? Processing times vary but can range from several months to over a year, depending on individual circumstances and USCIS workload.
  3. What happens if my AOS application is denied? You have the right to appeal the decision or explore other legal options with the assistance of an immigration attorney.
  4. Can I work while my AOS application is pending? Yes, you can apply for employment authorization using Form I-765 while your AOS application is pending.