Form I-485, officially known as the “Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status,” is used by individuals who are already in the United States and wish to apply for lawful permanent resident status (green card). This form allows you to adjust your status from a nonimmigrant (temporary) to immigrant (permanent) status. Here are the general steps to fill out Form I-485:
- Download the Form: You can download Form I-485 from the official U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website. Make sure you are using the most current version of the form.
- Read the Instructions: Before you start filling out the form, carefully read the instructions provided with Form I-485. The instructions will provide you with important information about eligibility requirements, supporting documents, and where to mail the completed form.
- Gather Supporting Documents: You will need to include various supporting documents with your Form I-485, depending on your specific case. Some common documents may include:
- Passport-style photos (as specified in the instructions).
- Copy of your birth certificate.
- Copy of your passport pages with your nonimmigrant visa.
- Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record.
- Copy of your Form I-797, Notice of Action, if applicable.
- Evidence of eligibility for the specific immigrant category you are applying under (e.g., family-sponsored, employment-based, humanitarian, etc.).
- Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) from your sponsor, if applicable.
- Any required medical examination results (Form I-693).
- Copy of your marriage certificate, if applicable.
- Copy of your spouse’s green card or U.S. citizenship certificate, if applicable.
- Complete the Form: Fill out the form accurately and completely. Be sure to use black ink and write legibly. If a question does not apply to you, write “N/A” (not applicable).
- Pay the Fee: Check the USCIS website or the form instructions for the current filing fee. Make sure to include the correct payment method, such as a check or money order, payable to the “U.S. Department of Homeland Security.” Some applicants may be eligible for a fee waiver; check the instructions for details.
- Review Your Application: Carefully review your completed Form I-485 and all supporting documents to ensure accuracy and completeness. Missing or incorrect information can lead to delays or denials.
- Mail the Application: Send your completed Form I-485, along with all supporting documents and the appropriate fee or fee waiver request, to the address provided in the form instructions.
- Wait for a Receipt Notice: After USCIS receives your application, you should receive a receipt notice (Form I-797C) in the mail. This notice will confirm that your application has been received and provide you with a receipt number. You can use this receipt number to track the status of your application online.
- Attend Biometrics Appointment: If required, USCIS will schedule a biometrics appointment where you will provide fingerprints, photographs, and a signature for background checks.
- Attend an Interview: Depending on your specific case, you may be required to attend an interview at a USCIS office. Be prepared to answer questions about your application and eligibility.
- Wait for a Decision: USCIS will review your application and conduct background checks. You will receive a decision in the mail, which will either grant or deny your adjustment of status.
- If Approved: If your application is approved, you will receive your green card in the mail. Congratulations! Make sure to follow any instructions provided with the approval notice.
- If Denied: If your application is denied, USCIS will provide reasons for the denial. You may have the option to appeal the decision or reapply if eligible.
Form I-485 Checklist of Required Documents
When filing Form I-485, the specific documents required can vary depending on your individual circumstances and the basis of your application (e.g., family-sponsored, employment-based, humanitarian, etc.). However, we can provide you with a general Form I-485 checklist of common documents that are often required. Be sure to consult the latest instructions for Form I-485 on the USCIS website to verify the exact requirements for your particular case:
1. Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status:
- Ensure it is completed accurately and signed.
2. Filing Fee or Fee Waiver Request:
- Include the appropriate filing fee (check or money order) or a fee waiver request if you qualify.
3. Passport-Style Photos:
- Include the required number of passport-style photos as specified in the form instructions.
4. Copy of Birth Certificate:
- A clear copy of your birth certificate or an equivalent document that shows your name, date of birth, place of birth, and the names of your parents.
5. Copy of Passport:
- Copy of the passport pages showing your biographic information, visa stamps, and entry stamps.
6. Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record:
- Copy of your most recent Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record.
7. Form I-797, Notice of Action:
- Copies of any Form I-797 approval notices for previous immigration petitions or applications, if applicable.
8. Supporting Documents for Eligibility:
- Depending on the basis of your application, include documents such as:
- Marriage certificate (for family-based applicants).
- Employment offer letter or approval notice (for employment-based applicants).
- Proof of refugee or asylee status (for humanitarian-based applicants).
- Any other documents specific to your eligibility category.
9. Affidavit of Support (Form I-864):
- If required, include a completed and signed Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, from your financial sponsor. Ensure that the sponsor meets the income requirements.
10. Affidavit of Support (Form I-864A): – If you have any household members who are also being sponsored, include a completed and signed Form I-864A for each household member.
11. Medical Examination Results (Form I-693): – Include a completed and signed Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, conducted by a USCIS-approved civil surgeon. The medical examination must be done within one year before filing Form I-485.
12. Employment Authorization Document (EAD) Application (Form I-765): – If you want to apply for an EAD (work permit) concurrently with your Form I-485, include Form I-765, along with the appropriate filing fee or fee waiver request and supporting documents.
13. Advance Parole Application (Form I-131): – If you want to apply for Advance Parole (permission to travel abroad while your Form I-485 is pending), include Form I-131, along with the appropriate filing fee or fee waiver request and supporting documents.
14. Copy of Marriage Certificate (if applicable): – If you are adjusting status based on marriage to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, include a copy of your marriage certificate.
15. Other Supporting Documents: – Any other documents required by the specific eligibility category or as requested in the form instructions.
16. Cover Letter: – Consider including a cover letter that summarizes the contents of your application package.