Needless to say, the basic benefit of being eligible for an adjustment of status (AOS) is that you are on the cusp of receiving a green card. Once U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves an AOS application, the alien beneficiary gains permanent resident status in the United States.
But AOS applicants are permitted to enjoy additional benefits, too—and all while their Form I-485 petitions are pending. The three major benefits that redound to AOS applicants are advance parole, employment authorization, and legal stay.
When an alien submits her application for adjustment, she can simultaneously apply for advance parole. Approved advance parole allows an alien to travel freely abroad during AOS pendency without abandoning her application, without losing any of her AOS application-related benefits, and without having to first apply for and receive a nonimmigrant visa to re-enter the United States. For certain visa holders, i.e. individuals with H and L visas, obtaining advance parole is actually not required at all: H and L holders with pending I-485s can travel outside the U.S. without USCIS considering their AOS petitions abandoned.
For more information on advance parole, click here.
Employment Authorization Document
Just as is the case for advance parole, prospective AOS beneficiaries can apply for an employment authorization document (EAD), which is more commonly referred to as a work permit. EADs allow aliens to work for any employer in the United States for as long as their I-485s are pending.
For more information on EADs, click here.
Finally, aliens with pending AOS petitions are permitted to remain in the U.S. legally—i.e. without any other valid status—for as long as their adjustment applications are pending. Though allowing one’s former nonimmigrant status to lapse during AOS pendency is allowed, we nonetheless recommend applicants maintain their prior status while their AOS applications are pending. This is especially important for those applicants who did not retain an experienced immigration attorney and who are surprised and unprepared when their adjustment applications are ultimately denied.
Our Firm is Here to Help
It is important that prospective permanent residents understand that each adjustment case varies as a function of an alien’s unique circumstances. As such, we emphatically recommend retaining an experienced immigration attorney. To begin your potential AOS case, contact Zhang & Associates for an initial free consultation by clicking here.
For more detailed information on adjustment of status, including related issues, refer to the following links:
General AOS Topics
Further Reading on AOS