Adjustment of status is an option for any individual who qualifies to become a permanent resident and wishes to obtain his or her green card without leaving the United States. By applying for adjustment of status, the individual also applies for a work permit (Employment Authorization Document) and may even be eligible to obtain a travel permit known as advance parole to allow him or her to go abroad for a special purpose. An individual who wishes to apply for adjustment of status generally must have entered the country legally and never have violated his immigration status.
Nonetheless, adjustment of status has its exceptions.
Section 245 (i) of the law gives certain persons who may have entered the United States illegally or violated or overstayed their nonimmigrant status the opportunity to become eligible for adjustment of status by paying a fee of $1,000.
However, immediate relatives, such as parents, spouses, and children, have the opportunity to adjust their status even if they violated their visa status without having to pay any penalty fee.
Section 245 (k) provides that if an employment-based immigrant is applying for adjustment of status, he is eligible to do so as long as he or she has not been out of legal status for more than 180 days since his or her most recent admission to the United States.