Form I-485: A Comprehensive Guide to Adjustment of Status Application

Understanding Form I-485

If you are an immigrant looking to adjust your status to become a permanent resident in the United States, you will need to file Form I-485. This application is also known as the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. It is a crucial step in the process of obtaining a green card.

Form I-485 is used to apply for permanent residency in the United States. It is important to understand that this form is only available to those who are already in the United States. If you are outside the country, you will need to follow a different process to obtain a green card.

The USCIS is responsible for processing Form I-485 applications. The form itself is a lengthy document that requires a significant amount of information. You will need to provide personal information, including your name, address, and date of birth, as well as information about your employment, education, and immigration history.

Additionally, you will need to provide documentation to support your application. This may include a birth certificate, passport, marriage certificate, and other forms of identification. You will also need to provide evidence of your eligibility for permanent residency, such as proof of employment or family relationships.

It is important to carefully review the instructions for Form I-485 before submitting your application. Any errors or omissions could result in delays or even a denial of your application. You should also be aware of the filing fees associated with the application, as they can be significant.

In summary, Form I-485 is a critical step in the process of obtaining permanent residency in the United States. It is important to understand the requirements and prepare your application carefully to avoid any issues. If you have any questions or concerns, you should consult with an immigration attorney or other qualified professional.

Eligibility Criteria

To apply for a Form I-485, you must meet certain eligibility requirements. The Form I-485 is used to adjust your status to that of a lawful permanent resident of the United States. Here are some of the eligibility criteria you need to meet:

Eligibility Category

First, you need to determine your eligibility category. There are several categories, including family-based, employment-based, refugee or asylee, and others. Make sure you know which category you fall under before applying.

Immigrant Visa

If you are outside the United States, you may be eligible to apply for an immigrant visa instead of a Form I-485. However, if you are already in the United States, the Form I-485 may be the appropriate choice for you.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for the Form I-485, you must meet certain requirements based on your eligibility category. For example, if you are applying under the family-based category, you must have a qualifying relationship with a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. If you are applying under the employment-based category, you must have a job offer from a U.S. employer.

Adjustment of Status

The Form I-485 is used to adjust your status to that of a lawful permanent resident. To be eligible for adjustment of status, you must have entered the United States lawfully and be in lawful status at the time of filing the Form I-485. If you entered the United States illegally, you may not be eligible for adjustment of status.

In summary, to be eligible for the Form I-485, you must determine your eligibility category, meet the eligibility requirements, and be eligible for adjustment of status. Make sure you understand these requirements before applying for the Form I-485.

Immigrant Categories and Petitions

When applying for a green card using Form I-485, you must first have an approved immigrant petition. There are several immigrant categories available, each with its own requirements. Here are some of the most common immigrant categories:

  • Family-based immigration: This category is for individuals who have a close family member who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) and wants to sponsor them for a green card. To apply for a green card through family-based immigration, the sponsor must file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.

  • Employment-based immigration: This category is for individuals who have a job offer in the United States or are deemed to have extraordinary abilities in their field. To apply for a green card through employment-based immigration, the employer must file Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker.

  • Special immigrant: This category is for individuals who are eligible for special immigrant status, such as religious workers or juveniles who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned. To apply for a green card through special immigrant status, the individual must file Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant.

  • Investment-based immigration: This category is for individuals who are willing to invest a significant amount of money in a U.S. business. To apply for a green card through investment-based immigration, the individual must file Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur.

Once you have an approved immigrant petition, you can then file Form I-485 to adjust your status to that of a lawful permanent resident. It is important to note that the availability of immigrant visas is subject to numerical limits, which vary based on the immigrant category and country of origin. This means that even if you have an approved immigrant petition, you may have to wait for a visa to become available before you can file Form I-485.

In summary, to apply for a green card using Form I-485, you must first have an approved immigrant petition in one of the available immigrant categories. The most common categories are family-based, employment-based, special immigrant, and investment-based. It is also important to be aware of the numerical limits on immigrant visas, which may affect your ability to file Form I-485.

Application Process

To apply for a Green Card, you need to file an application to register permanent residence or adjust status using Form I-485. This form is used by individuals who are already in the United States and want to apply for permanent resident status.

If you are filing for adjustment of status, you may be able to file your Form I-485 concurrently with your Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. This means that you can submit both forms at the same time to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Once you have filed your Form I-485, USCIS will send you a notice to appear at an Application Support Center (ASC) for biometric services. At the ASC, you will have your fingerprints, photograph, and signature taken. USCIS uses this information to conduct a background check and verify your identity.

It is important to note that filing Form I-485 does not guarantee that you will be granted permanent resident status. USCIS will review your application and may request additional information or documentation. If your application is approved, you will receive your Green Card in the mail.

Overall, the application process for Form I-485 can be complex and time-consuming. It is important to ensure that all forms are completed accurately and submitted on time to avoid delays or denials. If you have any questions or concerns about the application process, it is recommended that you seek the advice of an experienced immigration attorney.

Required Documentation

When filing Form I-485, there are several documents that you need to provide as evidence to support your application. These documents include:

  • Passport: You need to submit a copy of your passport biographic page. If you are filing as a derivative applicant, you also need to provide a copy of your spouse’s passport biographic page.

  • Birth Certificate: You need to submit a copy of your birth certificate. If your birth certificate is not in English, you need to provide a certified English translation.

  • Immigration Documents: You need to provide copies of your immigration documents, such as your visa, I-94, and any previous approval notices.

  • Form I-693: You need to submit a completed and signed Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record.

  • Form I-864: If you are filing based on employment or family sponsorship, you need to provide a completed and signed Form I-864, Affidavit of Support.

  • Form I-944: You need to submit a completed and signed Form I-944, Declaration of Self-Sufficiency.

In addition to the above documents, you need to provide evidence to support your eligibility for adjustment of status. This evidence may include:

  • Proof of Entry: You need to provide evidence of your lawful entry into the United States. This may include a copy of your visa, I-94, or other immigration documents.

  • Criminal History: You need to provide a certified copy of your criminal record, if applicable.

  • Employment History: You need to provide evidence of your employment history, such as pay stubs, tax returns, or a letter from your employer.

  • Education History: You need to provide evidence of your education history, such as diplomas, transcripts, or certificates.

It is important to note that the required documentation may vary depending on your individual circumstances. Therefore, it is recommended that you consult with an immigration attorney or accredited representative to ensure that you provide all of the necessary documentation and evidence to support your application.

Fees and Payment Methods

When submitting Form I-485, there are various fees that you need to pay. These fees include the filing fee, biometric services fee, and any additional fees that may apply to your specific situation. The fees are subject to change, so it’s important to check the USCIS website or consult with an immigration lawyer to ensure that you have the most up-to-date information.

The filing fee for Form I-485 is currently $1,140 for applicants who are 14 years of age or older. If you are under 14 years of age and are filing concurrently with your parent, the filing fee is $750. In addition to the filing fee, you may also be required to pay a biometric services fee of $85.

There are various payment methods that you can use to pay the fees. You can pay by money order, personal check, or credit card. If you choose to pay by personal check, make sure that the check is drawn on a U.S. bank and payable in U.S. currency. If you choose to pay by credit card, you will need to fill out Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions.

It’s important to note that USCIS does not accept cash or foreign currency. Additionally, if you are paying by personal check, the check must be made payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

To determine the exact fees that you need to pay, you can use the USCIS fee calculator on their website. This calculator will help you determine the fees based on your specific situation.

In conclusion, when submitting Form I-485, it’s important to be aware of the fees that you need to pay and the payment methods that are accepted by USCIS. Make sure that you have the most up-to-date information and use the USCIS fee calculator to determine the exact fees that you need to pay.

Employment and Travel Documents

When you file Form I-485, you may also file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. This form allows you to request permission to work in the United States while your adjustment of status application is pending. If approved, you will receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) which will allow you to work for any employer in the United States for a specified period of time.

It is important to note that you cannot file Form I-765 alone. You must file it together with Form I-485 or concurrently. Additionally, you must pay the filing fee for both forms.

If you need to travel outside the United States while your adjustment of status application is pending, you may file Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. This form allows you to request permission to leave the United States and return while your adjustment of status application is pending. If approved, you will receive an Advance Parole travel document.

It is important to note that if you leave the United States without an approved Advance Parole travel document, your adjustment of status application will be considered abandoned. Therefore, it is important to wait until you receive the Advance Parole travel document before leaving the United States.

When you receive your EAD, you will need to present it to your employer when completing Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. The EAD serves as proof that you are authorized to work in the United States.

If you receive an approved Advance Parole travel document, you should present it to the airline or other transportation carrier before boarding a flight or other means of transportation to leave the United States. Additionally, you should present it to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer when you return to the United States.

Overall, it is important to understand the requirements and restrictions associated with Form I-765 and Form I-131. If you have any questions or concerns, you should consult with an experienced immigration attorney.

Interview and Biometrics

When you file Form I-485, you will need to attend an interview with a USCIS officer. The purpose of this interview is to verify the information you provided in your application and to determine your eligibility for adjustment of status. During the interview, the officer may ask you questions about your background, immigration history, and current circumstances. It is important to be honest and forthcoming with your answers.

In addition to the interview, you will also need to provide biometric information, which includes fingerprints and biographic information. This information is used to conduct background checks and to verify your identity. You will receive a notice in the mail indicating when and where to go for your biometrics appointment. It is important to attend this appointment as scheduled to avoid delays in processing your application.

The biometric fee for Form I-485 is $85, and it is separate from the filing fee. You can pay the fee by check or money order, or you can pay online using a credit card. If you are unable to pay the fee, you may be eligible for a fee waiver. You can request a fee waiver by completing Form I-912 and submitting it along with your application.

Overall, the interview and biometrics process is an important part of the Form I-485 application. It is essential to attend your appointment as scheduled and to provide accurate and truthful information during your interview. By doing so, you can help ensure that your application is processed as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Processing Time and Status

When you file Form I-485, the processing time can vary depending on several factors such as the volume of applications received, the complexity of your case, and your immigration status. The USCIS provides an online tool called “Check Case Processing Times” to help you estimate how long it will take for your application to be processed based on your location and the type of form you filed.

Once you submit your application, you will receive a Notice of Action (NOA) that confirms that the USCIS has received your application. The NOA will also provide you with a receipt number that you can use to track the status of your application online. It is important to keep this receipt number safe as you will need it to check the status of your application.

The USCIS will also send you a biometrics appointment notice that will require you to provide your fingerprints, photograph, and signature. This appointment is necessary for the USCIS to conduct a background check and verify your identity. After your biometrics appointment, you will receive another NOA that confirms that your biometrics have been taken.

The USCIS will then review your application, and if they require any additional information or documentation, they will issue a Request for Evidence (RFE). It is important to respond to the RFE promptly to avoid any delays in processing your application.

Once your application has been reviewed and approved, you will receive a final decision from the USCIS. If your application is approved, you will receive a Notice of Approval and your green card will be mailed to you. If your application is denied, you will receive a Notice of Denial that will explain the reasons for the denial.

Overall, the processing time for Form I-485 can take several months to over a year depending on your case. It is important to stay patient and keep track of your application status using the USCIS online tool.

Special Cases

Form I-485 is used to apply for permanent residency in the United States, but there are some special cases that require additional information or documentation. If you fall under one of these categories, make sure to follow the specific guidelines outlined by the USCIS.

Refugees and Asylum Seekers

If you are a refugee or an asylum seeker, you may be eligible to adjust your status to permanent resident using Form I-485. You must have been granted asylum or refugee status, or be in the process of applying for asylum or refugee status. You will need to provide evidence of your status or pending application, such as a copy of your I-94 or a letter from USCIS.

Cuban Adjustment Act

If you are a Cuban national or citizen, you may be eligible to adjust your status to permanent resident under the Cuban Adjustment Act. To be eligible, you must have been physically present in the United States for at least one year, and you must not be inadmissible under certain grounds, such as criminal activity or security concerns. You will need to provide evidence of your Cuban nationality or citizenship, such as a birth certificate or passport.

Family Unity Program

If you are a spouse or child of a legalized alien, you may be eligible for the Family Unity Program. This program allows certain family members of legalized aliens to adjust their status to permanent resident. To be eligible, you must have been physically present in the United States on May 5, 1988, and have continuously resided in the United States since then. You will need to provide evidence of your relationship to the legalized alien, such as a marriage certificate or birth certificate.

These are just a few examples of special cases that may apply to Form I-485. If you believe you fall under one of these categories, make sure to review the specific guidelines and requirements provided by the USCIS.

Form I-485 is an essential document for individuals seeking to become a permanent resident in the United States. The U.S. government requires this form to be filed by individuals who are already in the United States and wish to adjust their status to become a lawful permanent resident. It is a complex legal process that requires the assistance of an immigration lawyer.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is responsible for processing Form I-485. The government service is tasked with ensuring that all required documentation is submitted and that all relevant immigration laws are followed. The process can take several months to complete, and the government may request additional information or documentation during the process.

Once an individual has filed Form I-485, they are considered a permanent resident of the United States. This means that they have the right to live and work in the United States permanently. However, permanent residents are still subject to certain restrictions, such as the inability to vote in federal elections.

It is important to note that the process of becoming a permanent resident is not a guarantee. The U.S. government has the right to deny an application if they believe that the individual does not meet the requirements or if there are other issues with the application.

In conclusion, Form I-485 is an essential document for individuals seeking to become a permanent resident in the United States. The U.S. government, specifically the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is responsible for processing the form and ensuring that all relevant immigration laws are followed. While the process can be complex and time-consuming, it is an important step towards achieving permanent residency in the United States.

Additional Support and Services

When applying for Form I-485, you may need additional support and services to ensure a smooth and successful application process. Here are some entities that can provide you with the necessary support and services:

Affidavit of Support

If you are applying for permanent residency based on family sponsorship, you may need an affidavit of support from your sponsor. This document is a legally binding agreement that your sponsor will financially support you if you are unable to support yourself. You can find more information about affidavits of support on the USCIS website.

Financial Support

You will need to show that you have enough financial support to live in the United States without relying on public benefits. This can be demonstrated through a combination of your own income, assets, and support from your sponsor. Make sure to gather all the necessary financial documents to prove your financial support.

Sponsoring

If you are applying for permanent residency based on family sponsorship, your sponsor will need to fill out and sign Form I-864, Affidavit of Support. Make sure your sponsor meets the necessary requirements before submitting this form.

Supporting Documents

Submitting the necessary supporting documents is crucial to the success of your Form I-485 application. These documents can include your birth certificate, passport, marriage certificate, and more. Make sure to check the USCIS website for a full list of required documents and gather them before submitting your application.

CitizenPath

CitizenPath is an online service that can help you prepare your Form I-485 application. They offer a step-by-step guide to help you fill out your application correctly and ensure that you have all the necessary documents. They also provide customer support if you have any questions or concerns.

Wise

Wise is a financial service that can help you save money on international money transfers. This can be useful if you need to transfer funds to the United States to demonstrate your financial support. Wise offers competitive exchange rates and low fees, making it a cost-effective option for international money transfers.

Overall, it is important to seek additional support and services when applying for Form I-485 to ensure a successful application process. Make sure to research and gather all the necessary information and documents before submitting your application.

Address and Information Changes

If you move to a new address or change your phone number or email address after submitting your Form I-485, you are required to inform USCIS of these changes within 10 days. You can do this by submitting Form AR-11, Alien’s Change of Address Card, online or by mail. Make sure to keep your address and contact information up to date to avoid any delays or complications in your application process.

When you submit Form AR-11, you will also need to update your A-Number, which is a unique identification number assigned to you by USCIS. If you have filed any other forms or applications with USCIS, your A-Number will be listed on those documents. If you do not know your A-Number, you can find it on any previous correspondence you have received from USCIS.

It is important to note that updating your address with the United States Postal Service (USPS) is not sufficient. You must also inform USCIS of your new address by submitting Form AR-11. Failure to do so could result in delays or even the denial of your application.

If you have a pending Form I-485 application and need to update your address or other contact information, you can also call USCIS at 1-800-375-5283 to inform them of the changes. However, it is still recommended to submit Form AR-11 as well to ensure that USCIS has accurate and up-to-date information.

In summary, keeping your address and contact information up to date with USCIS is crucial to the success of your Form I-485 application. If you move or change your phone number or email address, make sure to inform USCIS within 10 days by submitting Form AR-11 and updating your A-Number.

Appeals and Motions

If your Form I-485 application is denied, you may have the option to appeal or file a motion to reopen or reconsider the decision. Appeals and motions are legal processes that allow you to challenge the decision made by the USCIS officer who reviewed your application.

Appeals

If your Form I-485 application is denied, you may be able to file an appeal with the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO). To file an appeal, you must submit Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion, along with the required fee and any supporting documentation.

It is important to note that not all USCIS decisions can be appealed. For example, if your application is denied because you failed to provide required documentation, you cannot appeal the decision. However, if your application is denied for other reasons, such as a finding that you are inadmissible, you may be able to appeal the decision.

Motions to Reopen or Reconsider

If your Form I-485 application is denied, you may also have the option to file a motion to reopen or reconsider the decision. A motion to reopen is a request to the USCIS to review the decision based on new evidence that was not available at the time of the original decision. A motion to reconsider is a request to the USCIS to review the decision based on a claim that the decision was incorrect based on the evidence of record at the time of the original decision.

To file a motion to reopen or reconsider, you must submit Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion, along with the required fee and any supporting documentation.

It is important to note that there are strict deadlines for filing appeals and motions. If you miss the deadline, your appeal or motion may be denied without review. Additionally, filing an appeal or motion does not automatically allow you to remain in the United States. If you are out of status, you may need to leave the United States while your appeal or motion is pending.

In conclusion, if your Form I-485 application is denied, you may have options to challenge the decision through appeals or motions to reopen or reconsider. It is important to understand the requirements and deadlines for these legal processes and to seek the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney if necessary.

Miscellaneous Information

When filing Form I-485, there are several miscellaneous pieces of information that you should keep in mind to ensure that your application is processed as smoothly as possible.

First, it is important to note that if you are filing as a K-1 or R-1 nonimmigrant, you must file Form I-485 no later than 90 days after your entry into the United States. If you fail to do so, you may be considered out of status and could face deportation.

If you are filing as an unmarried child under the age of 21 of a green card holder, you may be eligible to file Form I-485 concurrently with your parent’s Form I-130. This can help expedite the process and ensure that your application is processed in a timely manner.

When submitting your application, you must include two passport-style photos. These photos must meet certain requirements, such as being taken within the past six months and having a white or off-white background.

To ensure that your application is complete, it is important to review the USCIS checklist for Form I-485. This checklist includes all of the necessary forms and documents that must be submitted with your application.

If you are filing based on a job offer, you must include a copy of the job offer letter with your application. This letter should include information such as the job title, job duties, and salary.

When filing Form I-485, it is important to submit all immigration benefit requests together. This includes any requests for employment authorization or advance parole.

If you are electronically processing your application, you will need to submit Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, to a USCIS-approved civil surgeon. This form must be completed within 60 days of submitting your application.

Finally, when filing Form I-485, there are several tips that can help ensure that your application is processed as quickly and efficiently as possible. These tips include filling out the form completely and accurately, providing all required documentation, and following all instructions carefully.

By keeping these miscellaneous pieces of information in mind, you can help ensure that your Form I-485 application is processed smoothly and efficiently.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of Form I-485?

Form I-485 is used by individuals who are already in the United States and want to adjust their status to become a lawful permanent resident. It is also known as the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

What is the processing time for Form I-485?

The processing time for Form I-485 varies depending on the workload of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the complexity of the case. Generally, USCIS aims to process Form I-485 within 7-33 months. However, processing times can be longer in some cases.

What is the difference between Form I-130 and Form I-485?

Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, is used by a US citizen or lawful permanent resident to sponsor a family member for immigration to the United States. Form I-485, on the other hand, is used by individuals who are already in the United States and want to adjust their status to become a lawful permanent resident.

What is the filing fee for Form I-485?

The filing fee for Form I-485 is $1,140 for applicants who are 14 years of age or older. There is also a biometrics fee of $85 for applicants who are between 14 and 79 years of age. The filing fee for applicants who are under 14 years of age is $750.

What is Form I-765 and how does it relate to Form I-485?

Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, is used by individuals who are in the process of adjusting their status to obtain permission to work in the United States. It is often filed concurrently with Form I-485. USCIS will generally issue an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to the applicant while their Form I-485 is being processed.

What are the eligibility requirements for Form I-485?

To be eligible for Form I-485, you must be physically present in the United States and have been inspected and admitted or paroled into the country. You must also have a qualifying immigrant petition, such as Form I-130 or Form I-140, filed on your behalf. Additionally, you must not have violated any immigration laws and meet other eligibility requirements specified by USCIS.

Scroll to Top