Adjustment of Immigrant Status, from Life in the USA: The Complete Guide for Immigrants and Americans

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Life in the USA
Immigration and Citizenship

Adjustment of Status
Adjustment of status applications, which ask for a change from a temporary to a immigrant status while a person is actually in the United States, can be difficult, and usually require the help of a lawyer. The INS is wary of people who try to use the adjustment of status process to shorten their immigrant visa waiting time.

Strategy and Timing. If you apply for adjustment of status too soon after you arrive in the United States the INS might claim that you always intended to apply for permanent residence (preconceived intent), and thus the statements you made in applying for a temporary visa were fraudulent. That's not a good way to get started with the INS. Note that if you live or work illegally in the United States, you won't be able to file for adjustment of status at all. If you marry an American while on a temporary Visa you may file for adjustment of status.


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