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Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, is the application that must be filed by individuals who are already in the United States and wish to become permanent residents (green card holders). In other words, this form is used for individuals who want to adjust their status from a temporary non-immigrant visa holder to a lawful permanent resident.
Form I-485, along with other immigration forms like Form I-130- Petition for Alien Relative, kick-starts the process for adjustment of status from non-immigrant to green card holder. There are strict filing instructions and procedures to follow when making this application, and any mistake puts the application at risk of being denied.
Therefore, before you begin your adjustment of status application, it is essential to learn how to complete and file form I-485 correctly. This knowledge, along with the help of a competent immigration attorney, could help you avoid errors in your application and significantly increase your chances of becoming a lawful permanent resident.
Form I-485 is an integral part of the process of obtaining a green card for immigrants who are already in the United States.
It can help you convert to the status of a Lawful Permanent Resident from;
Immigrant women in the US who are victims of abuse by a US citizen parent or spouse can also use Form I-485 in their application for a green card under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
To file Form I-485, you need to meet the following requirements:
Before you file Form I-485 to adjust your immigration status, you need first to determine your eligibility for a green card. You can find the eligibility categories on the USCIS website.
You would then need to file an immigrant petition, depending on your green card category. For instance, if you intend to apply for a family-based green card, your sponsor needs to file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on your behalf. For a work-based green card, your employer needs to file Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker, on your behalf.
Once the immigration petition is approved, you can proceed to file Form I-485. However, in some instances, you may be allowed to file it at the same time as the immigration petition. An immigration attorney can help you determine if this concession applies to you.
Form I-485 is lengthy and is divided into fourteen parts. For your application to be successful, you’ll need to fill out the form by providing the information required in each section. Anything less is an express route to a denial.
To guide you, here’s a list of some of the information you require to complete the form. Do well to have those details handy before you start.
The details you’ll need to fill out include the following:
After completing the form, you’ll need to pay a filing fee of $1,140 and a biometric services fee of $85.
Before you submit your form, remember to attach all the supporting documents required as evidence by the USCIS, including:
If you fail to provide the required documents, your application could be delayed as the USCIS may need to request additional information from you and wait for your response before your application can be processed.
You will receive a notification of receipt after the USCIS gets your form. They might request additional evidence or notify you that your form is incomplete if you did not fill it out appropriately. A few weeks later, you will get notice of your biometric appointment at an Application Support Center. You will provide your fingerprint, photograph, and signature, which they will use to run background checks on you. Be sure to go with your valid ID card and notice of appointment.
A few months later, the USCIS may schedule you for an appointment to clarify a few things on your Form I-485. You are expected to attend this appointment with all the original copies of the documents you submitted with the form, even if they are past their expiration date. You may also be requested to come with your petitioning relative, passport, and other travel documents.
A while after the interview, the USCIS will mail a notice of their decision. If your application is successful, your green card will be mailed to you. Otherwise, you will receive a notice explaining why your application was denied and if you can appeal the decision.
Generally, it could take 8 to 14 months for the USCIS to process your application. However, this timeframe can be longer or shorter depending on the specific circumstances of each case.
If you need assistance with filling out your Form I-485, it is recommended to seek legal counsel from an experienced immigration lawyer. An attorney can help you ensure that your application is complete and that all the required documents are included, reducing the likelihood of a delay.
Form I-130 and Form I-485 are two different forms that serve different purposes in the immigration process. While they may be filed together, they have distinct functions.
Form I-130, also known as Petition for Alien Relative, is used to establish a familial relationship between a U.S. citizen or green card holder and an eligible relative who wishes to immigrate to the U.S. This form is used to petition for a family-based green card.
On the other hand, Form I-485, also known as Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, is used to apply for lawful permanent residence status (green card) while already in the United States. It is typically filed after an immigrant visa petition has been approved, and the applicant’s priority date is current. This form establishes the eligibility of an individual to adjust their status within the U.S.
Yes, applicants for Adjustment of Status using Form I-485 can also apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). When you file for adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident in the United States, you can also file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, to request an EAD. The EAD, also known as a work permit, allows you to work legally in the U.S. while your adjustment of status application is pending.
The EAD is typically valid for one year and can be renewed as long as the adjustment of status application remains pending. It’s important to note that there might be specific requirements or conditions that apply, and the process can vary based on individual circumstances. It is best to consult with an immigration attorney for guidance on the process.
Form I-485 is a crucial document, albeit lengthy and complicated to complete. An immigration attorney can complete and file the form on your behalf. When you hire an attorney, you can rest easy knowing that you’ve taken positive steps to avoid any mistakes with your application and an I-485 denial.
So, if you need help with your Form I-485, or you have any questions concerning your application to adjust your immigration status, contact Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law. We are a firm of experienced immigration attorneys, and we are here to help you resolve your immigration issues regardless of your location in the U.S.
Contact us to schedule a free consultation. We look forward to providing all the legal assistance you might need in your American immigration journey.