Login / Signup


Complete Guide to U Visa Adjustment of Status

Updated on April 10, 2024

At a Glance

  • U visa holders can apply for green card adjustment after holding the U visa for at least three years.
  • Continuous residence in the U.S. is a requirement for the adjustment of status process.
  • If approved, the green card provides permanent residency, allowing U visa holders to live and work in the U.S.

The U visa is one of the types of visas where you have the right to remain in the U.S. for as long as the visa is valid. You may be wondering if there is a path from having a U visa to a green card. Read on to learn about U visa adjustment of status and the path to a green card. 

Can U Visa Holders Adjust Status?

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has a well-defined path for U visa holders to get a green card. You are eligible to apply for adjustment of status if you:

  • have had a U visa for at least three years and,
  • have been living in the U.S. continuously while you had the visa.

If you meet both of those requirements, you can apply to the USCIS for a U visa adjustment of status. If your application is successful, you will get a green card. You will also be able to live and work in the U.S. for any length of time without worrying about having to leave.

Who is Eligible to Adjust the Status of Their U Visa?

U visa holders and their family members are eligible for U visa adjustment of status including to adjust status while in removal proceedings. Specifically, you can apply for permanent residence if you:

  • have been continuously physically present in the U.S. for at least three years
  • have given all reasonable help to law enforcement officials investigating the crime committed against you associated with your visa
  • have not participated in Nazi persecution, acts of genocide, or extra-judicial killings anywhere in the world
  • can prove to the USCIS that your application should be granted based on humanitarian grounds, or based on family unity or public interest.

A member of your family can also apply for permanent resident status if they:

  • are currently in the U.S.
  • file a Form I-929 Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U1 Non-immigrant
  • can prove you would suffer extreme hardship if they had to leave the country
  • have never participated in Nazi persecution, acts of genocide, or extra-judicial killings anywhere in the world.

How to Adjust U Visa Status

The process for U visa adjustment of status is relatively simple. But it can be confusing because of all the documents you have to provide to the USCIS.

The only thing you need for U visa adjustment of status is to file a Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status.

You also need to submit the following adjustment of status checklist of supporting documentation with your form:

  • the application fee, or a Form I-912 Request for Fee Waiver
  • a Form I-693 Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record that is less than 2 months old
  • a Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorisation, along with the required supporting documentation for it
  • a Form I-131 Application for Travel Document along with the required supporting documentation for it
  • a copy of the valid Form I-797 Notice of Action that proves that the USCIS already approved your U visa nonimmigrant status
  • a copy of the I-94 Admission record you received when you entered the country. You can download it from the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website
  • a copy of every page in your passport, or an explanation for why you don’t have a passport (for example if it was stolen)
  • a copy of your birth certificate. Include an English translation if the original is not in English
  • two passport-sized photos of yourself
  • proof that you have been continuously physically present in the U.S. for at least three years. You can use the following documents to prove this:
    • previous federal tax returns
    • pay stubs
    • leases/rental agreements
    • store receipts
    • utility bills for a residence in the U.S.
    • a letter from your school or employer
    • an affidavit from people who you have been interacting with in the U.S. (e.g. friends, neighbors, co-workers, classmates, etc).
  • proof that you helped law enforcement officials when they asked for your help during the investigation. You can use Form I-918 Supplement B that you used to apply for your U visa. If you do not have this, you will need to provide an affidavit that describes:
    • all the times you tried to contact law enforcement officials to offer you help while you were on a U visa
    • your reason for failing to help law enforcement officials with the investigation if you ever did.
  • motivation for why the USCIS should grant you permanent residence status. You need to prove that you are eligible for a U visa adjustment of status based on humanitarian grounds because it is in the public interest or based on family unity.

After you have gathered all of these documents, make sure you have a copy of all of them for your records. Then, mail in your application to the USCIS Vermont Service Center at the following address:

75 Lower Welden Street
St. Alban’s
VT 05479

What to Do If Your U Status Will Expire Before You Can Apply for a Green Card

Your U visa allows you to live and work in the United States while it is valid. The period of validity can vary but for many people, it lasts for about four years, although some last for less than three years.

If you want to apply for an adjustment of status, but your U visa is valid for less than three years, you can apply for an extension to your U visa. The maximum period you can extend your U-visa is four years.

You can extend your U visa by filing a form I-539 Application to Extend Nonimmigrant Visa with the USCIS.

What Happens After You Apply to Adjust Status?

After you file your Form I-485 and all the supporting documentation, you will receive a receipt notice from the USCIS to acknowledge that they received your documents.

After that, you will receive a notice telling you when your appointment is for collecting your biometric information (fingerprints, photograph, and signature).

If the USCIS has further questions about your application you may get a notice that you have been scheduled for an interview at your nearest USCIS office. Make sure to bring the copies you made of all the documents in your application. If you are not fluent in spoken English, you can also bring someone to translate for you.

Can You Travel While Your Adjustment of Status Application is Pending?

Generally, if you leave the U.S. on a U visa without the proper USCIS travel document you may not be allowed to re-enter the country. Even if you are allowed to re-enter the U.S., your application for adjustment of status will be denied because the USCIS will assume you abandoned the application.

If you need to leave the country while your application for adjustment of status is pending, you must file a Form I-131 Application for Travel Document before you leave.

There are four types of travel documents that the USCIS issues in these circumstances:

The form I-131 explains what each of these documents is and when it is appropriate for you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is a U Visa?

A U Visa is a nonimmigrant visa in the United States designated for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement or government officials in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity.

What is U Visa Adjustment of Status?

U Visa Adjustment of Status is the process through which an individual with U nonimmigrant status (U Visa holder) applies to become a lawful permanent resident (Green Card holder) of the United States.

Who is eligible for U Visa Adjustment of Status?

To be eligible for adjustment of status from a U Visa, you must:

  1. Have been physically present in the U.S. for a continuous period of at least three years while in U nonimmigrant status.
  2. Have not unreasonably refused to assist in the criminal investigation or prosecution.
  3. Establish that your continued presence in the U.S. is justified on humanitarian grounds, to ensure family unity, or is otherwise in the public interest.

How do I apply for U Visa Adjustment of Status?

To apply, you must submit Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), along with required documentation and fees.

What documents are needed for U Visa Adjustment of Status?

Required documents typically include:

  1. Form I-485.
  2. Evidence of continuous physical presence in the U.S.
  3. A personal statement explaining your eligibility.
  4. Documents supporting humanitarian grounds, family unity, or public interest claims.
  5. Two passport-style photographs.
  6. Medical examination results (Form I-693).
  7. Biometrics and background checks.

Can family members also adjust status?

Yes, qualifying family members who hold derivative U nonimmigrant status can also apply for adjustment of status.

How long does the U Visa Adjustment of Status process take?

The processing time for U Visa adjustment of status can vary significantly based on individual circumstances and USCIS caseload. It can take several months to several years.

Is there a limit on the number of U Visas adjusted to Green Cards annually?

There is an annual cap of 10,000 U Visas, but there is no yearly limit on the number of U nonimmigrants adjusting their status to that of lawful permanent residents.

Can I travel outside the U.S. during the adjustment process?

Travel outside the U.S. during the adjustment process may be possible with prior authorization (Advance Parole), but it’s crucial to consult with an immigration attorney before any international travel.

What happens if the U Visa Adjustment of Status application is denied?

If your adjustment of status application is denied, your U nonimmigrant status might be affected. It’s important to consult with an immigration attorney to understand your options, which might include filing a motion to reopen or reconsider or exploring other immigration relief.

Read More

Final Thoughts 

You can apply for a U visa adjustment of status if you have been in the U.S. for at least three years. The application process can be difficult because there are a lot of different forms and supporting documents you must submit. If you need to leave the country while your application is pending, make sure you have a travel document, or the USCIS will assume you have abandoned your application.

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER
I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )
Join over 100,000 visitors who are receiving our newsletter and learn more about finance, immigration, and more!
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

Get the Checklist