Foreign nationals who are physically present in the U.S. are allowed to become Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) without leaving the country. This process is called Adjustment of Status (AOS). To submit an application for AOS it is necessary that an immigrant visa is immediately available (Priority date has to be current). An application for AOS is made by filing Form I-485. Some of the categories of people who may file for AOS are:
- One who has an approved immigrant petition or a completed relative petition, special immigrant juvenile petition or special immigrant military petition which, if approved, would make an immigrant visa number readily available to the applicant;
- Spouse or child (derivative) at the time another AOS applicant (principal) files to adjust status;
- K-1 visa holder and subsequent marriage (within 90 days of entry into USA) to that citizen and derivatives;
- Asylum status granted in the United States and the applicant has been physically present in the U.S. for one year after the grant of asylum and still qualify as an asylee or as the spouse or child of a refugee;
- Refugee and have been physically present in the U.S. for one year following the admission, provided that refugee status has not been terminated;
All applicants who have a pending AOS application are eligible to apply for an EAD using Form I-765. Upon the issuance of the EAD card the applicant can start working. Further, applicants are also eligible to apply for an advance parole using Form I-131. This allows them to come back after traveling outside USA for any bona fide personal or business reasons. A person leaving the U.S. while the application is pending is deemed to have abandoned the application until they have received an advance parole before leaving the U.S. Usually, advance parole is granted for one year with multiple entries allowed. Refugees and asylees may travel outside the U.S. on their valid refugee travel document without the need of an advance parole.