Applicants for adjustments of status to permanent resident are encountering new issues of late.
The basic application form, the I-485, available at USCIS, has been revised, and it now includes a whole lot more questions which can trip someone up. The new form weighs in at a full 18 pages. It used to be 6 pages. And it has questions…lots of questions, like:
Have you EVER been denied admission to the United States?
Have you EVER been denied a visa to the United States?
Have you EVER worked in the United States without authorization?
Have you EVER committed a crime of any kind (even if you were not arrested, cited, charged with, or tried for that crime?)
Have you EVER violated (or attempted, or conspired to violate) any controlled substance law or regulation of a state, the United States, or a foreign country?
Applicants can expect that these questions will be read, out-loud, and asked during an adjustment of status interview. We have heard of cases where people admit to use of marijuana, and that doing so leads to further interview questions, and even denial of the petition. Working without authorization, or overstaying a period of authorized stay, can also create serious issues.
Another development for adjustments of status, not quite as recent, is applicants sometimes have to get new medical examinations, due to processing delays, adding costs to the process.
We also understand that USCIS is now sometimes denying travel authorization applications, filed with the adjustment of status applications, if a person travels internationally (e.g. on an H-1B) after the parole application is filed but before it is adjudicated. Adjudications usually take about four months. This is completely new, and hopefully is a development that doesn’t last.
We will continue to monitor what the agency is doing on adjustments of status and other immigration matters, and advocate for a fair, efficient and transparent process. We are available of course to discuss any issues of concern. It is best to resolve difficult issues as much as possible, before presenting the case to the agency.