For most immigrants, obtaining lawful permanent resident status in the United States is a dream come true. For many, it’s the key to a successful and happy life. However, most people don’t know just how long and complicated the process can be.
Some are probably asking themselves: Why do I need to apply for the I-485 anyway?
Applying for Form I-485—or the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status—can be tricky and a lot can vary based on your circumstances, causing the process to become even more challenging to navigate.
If you live in the North Carolina area and you’d like more information regarding the I-485 Application process, contact Neelam Bhardwaj today. Neelam Bhardwaj specializes in immigration services in North Carolina and can give you help you complete and file the I-485 application.
Neelam Bhardwaj has over a decade of experience helping immigrants and their families sort through immigration forms and get the documentation they need to complete the immigration process and have a chance at living a happy life in the United States.
Before you begin filing, let’s get discuss the basics of the I-485 application
What is I-485 Form?
According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the official purpose of the I-485 Application is to apply for lawful permanent resident status if you are in the United States.
A form I-485 fee is necessary if an immigrant wants to adjust his or her status to change to a permanent resident of the United States.
To make that dream a reality, first, you’ll have to file a Form I-485 Application if you are currently living in the US and are a beneficiary of an approved immigrant petition by a U.S. citizen or permanent resident or an employer.
An I-485 application must be filed with USCIS to get a green card.
You also have to fill out an I-485 Application if:
- You are living in the United States and your “Priority Date” is current, meaning a visa number is currently available.
- A U.S. citizen spouse, parent or child is sponsoring you. This means you may be eligible to file the immigrant petition and the adjustment of status application at the same time.
Form I-485 fees can vary:
|If you are filing the form because you have been admitted to the U.S. as a refugee.||If you are under 14 and filing with the I-485 application of at least one parent.||If you are under 14 and not filing with the I-485 application of at least one parent. Or, if you are older than 79.||If you are 14 to 78 years old. This price includes the $1,140 form fee and $85 biometric services fee.|
I-485 Document Checklist
Here is a checklist of the documents you will need to complete your I-485 application.
- Two photos: They must be in color and measure exactly 2 inches by 2 inches. They can be no older than six months and should show a clear, front view and the full face of the person. Eyeglasses and nonreligious headwear are not allowed in visa photos. Head height should be 1 to 1 3/8 inches from the top of your hair to the bottom of your chin, and eye height should be between 1 1/8 to 1 3/8 inches from the bottom of the photo. Lightly print your name and A-Number (if any) on the back of the photo using a pencil or felt pen.
- Birth certificate
- Marriage certificate: And, other proof of relationship—if applicable.
- Photocopy of a government-issued identity document with your photograph (passport will work).
- Copy of passport with nonimmigrant visa: If you have received a nonimmigrant visa from an American embassy or consulate abroad in the last year.
- Documentation of your immigrant category (more on this below).
- Police clearances: If you are filing for adjustment status as a member of a particular class outlined in an I-485 supplement form.
- Certified Police and Court Records of Criminal Charges, Arrests, or Convictions— (if any).
- Evidence of status: Submit a copy of your Form I-94, Nonimmigrant Arrival/Departure Record. This shows your admission to the U.S. along with your current status or other types of evidence of your status. If you entered with a Border Cross Card, you’d need to include a copy of both sides of the card.
- Evidence of Continuously Maintaining a Lawful Status Since Arrival in the U.S.: If you are applying under a family-based preference category or an employment-based preference segment; individual immigrant religious workers; Afghan or Iraqi nationals, and international broadcasters; and selectees under the Diversity Visa Lottery program.
- I-485 Supplement J, Confirmation of Bona Fide Job Offer or Request for Job Portability Under INA Section 204(j).
- Evidence of financial support: To show that you can financially support yourself indefinitely as a lawful permanent resident of the U.S., and also to demonstrate that you are not likely going to become a public charge.
Forms you may need to submit for your I-485 application
- Form G-28: Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative.
- Form I-485 Supplement A: If you are looking to adjust status under section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
- Form I-765: For certain foreign nationals who are eligible to work in the U.S. seeking to request an employment authorization document (EAD).
- Form I-131: To apply for a re-entry permit, refugee travel document, advance parole travel document or to include parole into the United States for humanitarian reasons.
- Form G-325A: To provide biographic information.
- Form I-693: Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record.
- Form I-601, Waiver of Inadmissibility: If are seeking an immigrant visa, adjustment of status, certain nonimmigrant statuses or specific other immigration benefits. You must file this form to seek a waiver of certain grounds of inadmissibility. You cannot adjust your status unless you qualify for a waiver of inadmissibility or another type of relief, and all 12 pages must be submitted.
- Form I-508, Application for Waiver of Rights, Privileges, Exemptions, and Immunities (and Form I-508F for French nationals): If you currently hold A, G, or E nonimmigrant status and you are allowed to uphold certain diplomatic privileges and immunities as a result of that status.
Other documents you may be asked for to complete your I-485 application
- Derivative status: Based on derivative status as the child of another adjustment applicant, spouse or person granted permanent residence based on the issuance of an immigrant visa.
- T or U-based nonimmigrant paperwork including:
- A copy of Form I-79C, Notice of Action, for approval of your T or U nonimmigrant status.
- A copy of all pages of your passport with a T or U nonimmigrant visa or explanation for why you do not have a passport.
- A copy of your Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record.
- Copies of all relevant Forms IAP-66 and Forms DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status, ever issued to you (if available): If in the past you held or currently hold J-1 (principal) or J-2 (dependent) nonimmigrant exchange visitor status.
- Photocopy of Form I-797, Approval Notice: For your petition (or the principal applicant’s petition, if you are a derivative applicant), or if you are filing a Beneficiary of an Immigrant Petition.
If you were admitted to the U.S. by CBP at an airport or seaport after April 30, 2013, you might have been given an electronic Form I-94 by CBP, instead of a paper Form I-94.
Visit the CBP website to get a paper version of an electronic Form I-94.
Unless you are applying under INA section 245(i), most Form I-485 applicants need to submit photocopies of documentation that shows they were inspected by an immigration officer and either admitted or paroled into the U.S.
You do not need to submit documentation of inspection and admission or parole if you are a:
- Registry applicant
- VAWA self-petitioner
- Special immigrant juvenile
- T nonimmigrant applying under INA section 245(l)
- A U nonimmigrant applying under INA section 245(m)
- An individual born under diplomatic status in the U.S.
There are certain documents you’ll need based on your category:
For example, immigrants applying for an I-485 Application in the “Fiancé” category will need to bring:
- Form I-864, Affidavit of Support
- Copy of the Form I-129F, Fiancé Petition Approval Notice
- Copy of the Marriage Certificate
- Copy of both sides of Form I-94
Neelam Bhardwaj, an immigration lawyer in Greensboro, NC can help you get the documents you need based on your specific category. She specializes in family immigration, employment, religious, sponsoring spouses, and many other areas.
An immigrant herself, Neelam Bhardwaj, is passionate about helping others reach their potential and accomplish their dreams in the United States. Over the years, Neelam Bhardwaj has been a frequent spokesperson for immigration law in North Carolina and has lectured at many private corporations, churches, and organizations in the Triad.
Her clients include major companies, small businesses and several individuals from N.C. and other neighboring states.
I-485 Application Instructions
Consider this your Form I-485 checklist. First, we’ll provide you with some tips to keep in mind while filling out the Form I-485 application. Then, we’ll give you more detailed I-485 form instructions.
What to Keep in Mind When Filling Out the I-485 Application
- Make sure each application is properly signed and filed. USCIS will not accept a stamped or typewritten name instead of a signature. If you are under 14 years of age, your parent or legal guardian may sign the application on your behalf.
- Don’t forget the appropriate filing fee and biometric services fee (if applicable).
- Submit all evidence. Evidence requirements may vary depending on the immigrant category you are applying under.
- If you submit documents in a foreign language, you must also send a full English translation.
- The translator must sign a certification that the English language translation is finished and correct.
- The translator must also agree that he or she is competent to translate from the foreign language into English. Note that DHS recommends the certification contain the translator’s printed name and the date and the translator’s contact information.
- USCIS may require an interview or your fingerprints, photograph, and/or signature at any time to verify your identity, obtain additional information, and conduct background and security checks, including a check of criminal history records maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), before making a decision on your application, petition, or request. You will be informed in writing if you need to attend a biometric services appointment. If you do not attend your appointment, USCIS can deny your application.
How To Fill Out the I-485 Form
- Type or print legibly in black ink.
- If you need more space to complete an item on the I-485 application, attach a separate piece of page and type or print your name and Alien Registration Number (A-Number) at the top of each sheet.
- Note the page number, part number and item number, to which your response refers to, and sign and date each sheet.
- Provide your USCIS Online Account Number if you have previously filed an application, petition or request using the USCIS online filing system.
- If you used a passport or travel document to travel to the US, enter either the passport or travel document information, even if the visa or travel document is currently expired.
- Answer all questions accurately. If a question does not apply, print or type N/A.
- If you are filing an adjustment of status application based on VAWA or as an individual immigrant juvenile, crime victim (U nonimmigrant), or human trafficking victim (T nonimmigrant), and you do not feel safe receiving mail regarding this application at your home address, provide an alternative, secure mailing address in Part 1., Item Numbers 14.a. – 14.f.
- This address may be a post office box, the address of your attorney, a community-based organization that is helping you, a friend, or any other address where you can safely and timely receive mail.
- Select the proper box to indicate whether you read this application yourself or had an interpreter assist you.
- You must also sign and date your form and provide your daytime telephone number, mobile telephone number (if applicable), and email address (if any).
- Every application MUST have the signature of the applicant (or parent or legal guardian, if any). A stamped or typewritten name in place of a real signature is not adequate.
- If anyone acted as an interpreter to read the instructions and questions on this application to you in a language in which you understand and are fluent in, the interpreter also needs to fill out this section and provide his or her name, the name and address of his or her business or organization (if any), his or her daytime telephone number, his or her mobile telephone number (if any), and his or her email address (if any).
- The interpreter must also sign and date the application.
- If the same person acted as your interpreter and your preparer, he or she should complete both Part 11 and Part 12.
- If the person who completed this application is associated with a business or organization, they should fill out the business or organization’s name and address information.
- Anyone who assisted you in completing this application MUST also sign and date the form. A stamped or typewritten name instead of a signature is not acceptable.
- If the person who helped you prepare your application is an attorney or accredited representative, he or she may also need to submit a completed Form G-28—Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative—with your application.
How Long is the I-485 Processing Time?
Form I-485 processing times can vary. You’ve come this far, and you’ll only need to be patient for a little while longer. It typically takes 8-14 months to process the I-485 application. Once the decision is made, USCIS will notify you of their decision in writing.
To process your I-485 Form, you must be physically present in the U.S. and provide an address within the United States to apply. Keep this in mind when you’re making your plans.
Once USCIS accepts your application with the correct filing fee and proper signatures, USCIS will check it to make sure it’s complete.
If you do not fill out the form, USCIS says that establishes a basis for your eligibility and USCIS has the right to reject or deny your application.
That’s why it’s vital to go through the I-485 instructions step-by-step to make sure everything is accurate, signed, and all essential documents are included.
USCIS may also contact you for:
USCIS may also request additional information or evidence to support your application. It may also ask for the originals of any copies you presented.
If USCIS or the Immigration Court requires an original document from you, be aware that it will be returned to you after USCIS or the Immigration Court determines it is no longer needed. Don’t be alarmed if you do not get it back for an extended period.
USCIS may also ask that you appear at a USCIS office for an interview based on your application. Additionally, it may require that you deliver your fingerprints, photograph, and signature to verify your identity and update background and security checks.
Help with the I-485 Application in Greensboro, NC
If you have any questions or need help filling out your I-485 Application, don’t hesitate to contact Neelam Bhardwaj. She can explain the process to you and assist you with getting the right documentation and fees together to complete your application.
Starting the process to obtain lawful permanent residency in the U.S. should be a happy and exciting time. Let Neelam Bhardwaj guide you through the process and make it as stress-free as possible.