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My understanding was "adjusting status" is "from conditional (CPR) to permanent".

Which is why, if one is married to a US citizen, they are automatically a conditional permanent resident (CPR).
To get from "conditional" to "permanent" is not automatic.

Repeat after me: nothing is automatic where the INS is concerned.

You must go through a multi-step process to become an immigrant. In most cases, USCIS must first approve an immigrant petition for you, usually filed by an employer or relative. [i.e., spouse] Then, an immigrant visa number must be available to you, even if you are already in the United States. After that, if you are already in the United States, you may apply to adjust to permanent resident status...


If you would like to become a lawful permanent resident in the United States, you must file the following items with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services:

Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status

Form G-325A Biographic Data Sheet (Between the ages of 14 and 79)

Form I-693 Medical Examination Sheet (not required if you are applying based on continuous residence since before 1972, or if you have had a medical exam based on a fiancé visa)

Two color photos taken within 30 days (Please see USCIS Form I-485 for more instructions on photos.)

Form I-864 Affidavit of Support (completed by the sponsor). (This requirement may not apply to you if you are adjusting to permanent resident status based on an employment petition.)

(and if you want to work before your application is approved)

Applicants for adjustment to permanent resident status are eligible to apply for a work permit while their cases are pending. You should use USCIS Form I-765 to apply for a work permit. You do not need to apply for a work permit once you adjust to permanent resident status.

(and if you want to travel outside the country before your application is approved)

If you are applying for adjustment to permanent resident status, you must receive advance permission to return to the United States if you are traveling outside the United States. This advance permission is called Advance Parole...

The alien must file USCIS Form I-131, Application for a Travel Document, complete with supporting documentation, photos and applicable fees.

I've been through the whole process myself. Even if you don't use a lawyer you're looking at almost $1000 simply in INS filing fees, cost of the medical examination and so on. Moving from conditional to permanent status is a breeze by comparison. The good news is that spouses are among the highest priority cases for assignment of immigrant visa numbers, so you can typically get it all done in a matter of months rather than years.

(NB: I've quoted only the sections that applied to me; readers of this board may find themselves in a different situation. Read all the INS stuff yourself to make sure you do everything correctly).
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