USCIS Updates Policy Guidance Regarding Discretionary Factors for Adjustment of Status Applications

Washington, DC–U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is updating existing policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual regarding the discretionary factors to consider in adjudications of adjustment of status applications.

This update clarifies existing content by providing a non-exhaustive list of positive and negative factors that may be relevant to whether an adjustment of status applicant warrants a favorable exercise of discretion. It also lists the privileges, rights and responsibilities of lawful permanent residents (LPRs) as a reference for officers to consider when determining whether the grant of LPR status is in the best interest of the United States.

For adjustment of status, the applicant has the burden of demonstrating eligibility, including that a favorable exercise of discretion is warranted.1 If the applicant otherwise establishes eligibility and USCIS finds the positive discretionary factors in a particular case outweigh the negative factors, the officer should exercise favorable discretion and approve the adjustment application. Conversely, if the negative factors outweigh the positive factors an exercise of discretion to deny is appropriate.

USCIS considers the totality of the circumstances, which may include factors such as an applicant’s conduct, character, family or other lawful ties to the United States, immigration status and history, or any other humanitarian concerns, to determine whether the applicant warrants a favorable exercise of discretion

This update will assist officers in making more consistent discretionary decisions by providing a foundation to identify and analyze negative and positive factors in adjustment of status applications.

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