What is Adjustment of Status?

Adjustment of Status Through Marriage: A Path to Permanent Residency, by Immigration Attorney Ammar Alo.

Disclaimer: This is not legal advice, only informational.

Adjustment of status is a crucial aspect of U.S. immigration law. It allows foreign nationals who are married to U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents (green card holders) to apply for permanent residency within the United States. This process enables them to live and work legally in the country.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for adjustment of status through marriage, you must meet certain criteria:

  1. Marriage to a U.S. Citizen: If you are married to a U.S. citizen, you can apply for adjustment of status even if you are out of legal status, as long as you entered the US Legally.
  2. Marriage to a Permanent Resident: If your spouse is a permanent resident, you must wait for I-130 approval before proceeding. There is an annual limit on green cards for spouses of permanent residents, so there will be a waiting period, and you must maintain a legal status.

Main Steps in the Process

  1. Form I-130 Petition: The U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse must submit Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) along with the I-130A Supplemental Information form. If the petitioner is a permanent resident, I-130 approval is necessary before moving forward.
  2. Form I-485 Application: Submit Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) along with other required forms and documents. Attend a biometrics appointment for fingerprint collection.
  3. Form I-765: Submit Form I-765 (Application for Work Authorization) along with your applications.
  4. USCIS Interview: Attend an interview at a USCIS office. Be prepared to answer questions about your marriage and provide evidence of its legitimacy.

Processing Times and Delays

  • Spouse of a U.S. Citizen: Processing times range from 10 to 23 months.
  • Spouse of a Permanent Resident: Longer processing times (36 to 48 months) due to annual limits on green cards.


Adjustment of status through marriage offers a pathway to permanent residency for foreign spouses. While the process can be complex, seeking legal guidance ensures a smoother journey toward living your American dream.

Remember to consult an attorney for personalized advice. Good luck on your immigration journey! 

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