If you were admitted into the United States by an immigration officer, and you have an approved visa petition, and the visa is currently available, you may be able to gain permanent residence from within the United States through a process called adjustment of status. Generally, you must be “in status” in order to “adjust status”. However, exceptions to the rule exist. For example, if your approved visa petition is based on an immediate relative (see immediate relatives and preference categories), you may be “out of status”, and yet still pursue adjustment of status. Another exception to the “in status” requirement is if your visa petition was filed on or before April 30, 2001. This exception is known as 245(i).
The law permits the issuance of an employment authorization document to the beneficiary of a pending petition for adjustment of status. The request for the “work permit” can be filed at the same time as the adjustment of status petition. If you were in status at the time of filing your adjustment, you may also file for a travel document to permit you international travel while the case is pending. If all goes well, adjustment of status cases end with a scheduled interview at a local USCIS office. At the conclusion of the interview, the officer will explain to you what must occur in order for you to receive a decision. If the officer detected any issue of inadmissibility, he or she will inform you of this in writing and identify whether a waiver is authorized.