Chapter 7 - Other Barred Adjustment Applicants

There are additional classes of aliens barred from adjusting status. When determining whether the bars below apply, an officer should only consider the applicant’s current period of stay since the most recent admission into the United States prior to filing his or her adjustment application, unless the applicant is an alien removable for engagement in terrorist activity. 

When reviewing whether the bar for aliens removable for engagement in terrorist activity applies, an officer should examine every entry, admission, and time spent in the United States by the applicant. It is irrelevant how much time has passed since each entry or whether the applicant subsequently left the United States and returned lawfully. 

A. Crewmen

A nonimmigrant crewman is barred from adjusting status. [1] This bar applies to an alien serving as a crewman who is permitted to land as a D-1 or D-2 nonimmigrant, as shown on the alien’s Arrival/Departure Record (Form I-94) or Crewman’s Landing Permit (Form I-95), and by the corresponding visa contained in the crewman’s passport. The bar also applies to an alien who was admitted as a C-1 nonimmigrant to join a crew. [2] 

In addition, the alien’s service as a crewman is controlling regardless of the alien’s actual nonimmigrant status, if any. For example, an alien admitted in B-2 nonimmigrant visitor status while serving as a crewman is barred from adjustment. [3] The bar applies even if the alien was not employed as a crewman in the sense of serving as a crewman for pay. [4] The bar does not apply, however, to Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)-based applicants.

B. Alien Admitted in Transit Without Visa

Any alien admitted to the United States in transit without a visa (TWOV) is barred from adjusting status. [5] This bar does not apply to an alien who was admitted as a transit alien with a C-1 or C-2 or C-3 nonimmigrant visa. 

On August 2, 2003, DHS and the Department of State suspended the TWOV program. On August 7, 2003, DHS published an interim rule implementing the suspension. [6] Aliens who transit through the United States after that date are required to obtain a C nonimmigrant visa. [7] Thus, the bar does not apply to an alien (other than crewmen) admitted as a C-1 or C-2 or C-3 nonimmigrant if the alien had a C-1, C-2, or C-3 nonimmigrant visa in order to transit through the United States. Nevertheless, INA 245(c)(3) still bars an alien who, in fact, was admitted as a TWOV when he or she last came to the United States. The bar does not apply, however, to VAWA-based applicants. 

C. Visa Waiver Programs

An alien admitted as a nonimmigrant without a visa under a Visa Waiver Program is barred from adjustment of status. [8]Similarly, an alien admitted as a nonimmigrant without a visa to Guam or to the CNMI is barred from adjustment of status. [9] These bars do not apply, however, to those seeking to adjust status as an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen or VAWA-based applicants.

D. Alien Admitted as Witness or Informant

An alien admitted to the United States as an informant of terrorist or criminal activity (S nonimmigrant) is barred from adjusting status. [10] The state or federal law enforcement agency (LEA) that originally requested the alien’s S nonimmigrant status may request that the S nonimmigrant be allowed to adjust status to that of a lawful permanent resident. The LEA initiates this special process through a filing with the Department of Justice. [11] Aliens admitted as S nonimmigrants are prohibited from seeking adjustment of status apart from this process. The bar does not apply, however, to VAWA-based applicants.

E. Alien Removable for Engagement in Terrorist Activity

An alien is barred from adjusting status if:

  • He or she is deportable for having engaged in or incited terrorist activity;

  • ​He or she has been a member of or received military training from a terrorist organization; or

  • ​He or she has been associated with terrorist organizations, and he or she intends to engage in such activities while in the United States that could endanger the welfare, safety, or security of the United States. [12] 

The officer should consider all entries and time periods spent inside the United States when determining whether this bar applies. Furthermore, any restricted activity, whether it occurs before or after an alien files the adjustment application, bars the alien from adjusting status. Finally, in addition to the adjustment bar, the alien may also be inadmissible for such activity. [13] While the bar does not apply to VAWA-based applicants, VAWA-based applicants may still be inadmissible for such activity.

F. Nonimmigrant Admitted as Fiancé(e) of U.S. Citizen

An alien fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen cannot adjust status except on the basis of the marriage to the U.S. citizen who filed a Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) (Form I-129F) on behalf of the fiancé(e). [14] Likewise, a child of the fiancé(e) may only adjust on the basis of his or her parent’s marriage to the U.S. citizen petitioner. [15] 

​The terms of the nonimmigrant fiancé(e) status require that the nonimmigrant fiancé(e) marry the petitioner within 90 days after becoming a nonimmigrant. [16] Furthermore, if the nonimmigrant has not been married for two years or more at the time of adjustment, the nonimmigrant fiancé(e) and any children of the fiancé(e) may only obtain permanent residence on a conditional basis. [17] 

Marriage Legally Terminated

A nonimmigrant fiancé(e) who contracts a valid and bona fide marriage to the U.S. citizen petitioner within the requisite 90-day time period remains eligible to adjust status on that basis, even if the marriage is legally terminated (whether by death, dissolution, or divorce) prior to adjustment of status and regardless of whether the nonimmigrant fiancé(e) remarries thereafter.[18] The applicant remains subject to all conditional permanent residency requirements, if applicable. [19] 

G. Conditional Permanent Residents

In general, an alien granted permanent residence on a conditional basis [20] is ineligible to adjust status under the provisions of INA 245(a). [21] Instead, conditional permanent residents must comply with the requirements for removal of the conditions on their status to obtain permanent residence unconditionally. [22] 


1. [^] See INA 245(c)(1)

2. [^] See Matter of Tzimas (PDF), 10 I&N Dec. 101 (BIA 1962).

3. [^] See Matter of Campton (PDF), 13 I&N Dec. 535, 538 (BIA 1970). See Matter of G-D-M- (PDF), 25 I&N Dec. 82 (BIA 2009) (service as crewman, not nonimmigrant status, is controlling for determining eligibility for non-lawful permanent resident cancellation).

4. [^] See Matter of Campton (PDF), 13 I&N Dec. 535, 538 (BIA 1970).

5. [^] See INA 245(c)(3).

6. [^] See 68 FR 46926 (PDF) (Aug. 7, 2003).

7. [^] See INA 101(a)(15)(C). See 68 FR 46926, 46926-28 (PDF) (Aug. 7, 2003). See 68 FR 46948, 46948-49 (PDF) (Aug. 7, 2003).

8. [^] See INA 217. See INA 245(c)(4).

9. [^] See INA 212(l). See INA 245(c)(4).

10. [^] See INA 245(c)(5).

11. [^] See INA 245(j). See 8 CFR 245.11.

12. [^] See INA 245(c)(6). See INA 237(a)(4)(B). See INA 212(a)(3)(B) and INA 212(a)(3)(F). See INA 212(a)(3)(B) in general for definitions related to terrorist activities and exceptions.

13. [^] See INA 212(a)(3).

14. [^] See INA 101(a)(15)(K). See INA 245(d).

15. [^] See INA 245(d)

16. [^] See INA 214(d). See INA 101(a)(15)(K).

17. [^] See INA 245(d) and INA 216. See Matter of Sesay (PDF), 25 I&N Dec. 431 (2011).

18. [^] See Matter of Sesay (PDF), 25 I&N Dec. 431 (2011). See Matter of Dixon (PDF), 16 I&N Dec. 355 (BIA 1977). See Matter of Blair (PDF), 14 I&N Dec. 153 (Reg. Comm.1972). The marriage upon which the alien obtained K nonimmigrant status must have been bona fide, even if it was terminated, in order to adjust status. See Lutwak v. United States, 344 U.S. 604 (1953). See Matter of Laureano (PDF), 19 I&N Dec. 1 (BIA 1983). If the evidence would permit a reasonable fact finder to conclude that the marriage was not bona fide, adjustment would properly be denied. It is necessary to follow the standard procedure in 8 CFR 103.2(b)(16) before denying adjustment based on evidence of which the applicant may not be aware. 

19. [^] See INA 245(d) and INA 216

20. [^] Under INA 216 or INA 216A.

21. [^] See INA 245(d) and INA 245(f). See 8 CFR 245.1(c)(5)

22. [^] See Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence (Form I-751) and Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions (Form I-829).


No appendices available at this time.

Technical Update - Replacing the Term “Foreign National”

October 08, 2019

This technical update replaces all instances of the term “foreign national” with “alien” throughout the Policy Manual as used to refer to a person who meets the definition provided in INA 101(a)(3) [“any person not a citizen or national of the United States”].



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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is updating policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual to remove references to Biographic Information (Form G-325A).



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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is issuing policy guidance addressing the general policies and procedures of adjustment of status as well as adjustment under section 245(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).


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