All about the adjustment of status Application (Form I-485)
If you are willing to work and live in the United States, you can request lawful permanent residence directly from your home country or the United States. The process of applying from the home country is known as Consular processing. But if you wish to adjust your status, you can do it directly from the United States; you don’t have to return to your home country. In this article, you will get all the details related to the Adjustment of status.
In addition to this, if you wish to become a US citizen, then you can apply for US citizenship through naturalization.
What is Adjustment of Status?
Adjustment of status is defined as the application process used by several people present in the United States to request for the green card. At the time of applying for the green card through the adjustment of status, you don’t require to return to your home country if your visa expires. Instead, you will be granted to stay in the United States till USCIS is processing your application.
You should have a valid visa in order to adjust your status. You cannot submit your adjustment of status application if you do not hold a lawful immigration status. In addition to this, at the time of applying for the green card or changing your status to the green card, you are required to make sure that you are eligible to apply for the type of green card. You won’t be allowed to adjust your status to the green card if you do not enroll in permanent residence.
Usually, asylees, refugees and immediately immediate relative get eligible to adjust their status to a green card. In order to qualify for submitting the adjustment of status application, you will require fulfilling the below-given eligibility criteria:
- You must meet the eligibility criteria for the type of green card you are going to apply for.
- You should be physically available in the United States and should have a valid visa.
- You must be having any lawful immigration status.
- You will be required to have an approved I-130 or I-140 petition in case you are not willing to file the concurrent application.
- You must have stayed in the United States minimum of one year after USCIS provided you the asylum or refugee status.
- You should be qualified for the adjustment of status under Section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
- You will require holding a K-one fiancé visa, and you should have married your US citizen spouse, and your visa is still valid.
Who does not eligible for Adjustment of Status?
Not every international immigrant can apply for the adjust my status. Therefore, you are not granted to submit the adjustment of status application to US citizen and immigration services if any of the below-mentioned points apply to you:
- You cannot apply for the Adjustment of Status if you are not present in the United States.
- If you do not have valid immigration status.
- You are not eligible to apply for the adjustment of status application if you entered the United States illegally, including without any immigration status or before undergoing the inspection of the US immigration officer.
- You do not get eligible to apply for the adjustment of status application if You arrived in the United States as fiancé visa holder but did not married to the fiancé before the expiry date of your Visa or if you are dependent on the given visa holder but did not married to them before the expiry date of the visa.
- If you are presently about to deport.
- You do not get eligible to apply for the adjustment of status application if you are a conditional permanent resident.
- If you arrived in the United States through the Visa waiver program.
- If you visited the United States in transit without carrying the valid visa.
To file the adjustment of status application form, you will require attaching some of the supporting documents as evidence to show that applying candidates are eligible to apply for the green card. For example, if you are applying for the marriage-based green card, then you will need to attach some of the following documents:
- You will require showing proof that your spouse visited the United States through the valid visa.
- You can present the proof by providing the copy of the Visa along with the I-94 travel record.
- You have to present the evidence of the international spouse’s nationality by providing the photocopy of the foreign passport and his/her birth certificate.
- The sponsoring spouse has to present evidence showing that he/she can support their partner financially. For proving this, it is required to show the photocopy of the latest income tax returns of the sponsoring spouses.
- If the spouse applying for the marriage-based green card has been arrested in the past, you will require to present proof that there was no conviction. In order to prove this, you will require presenting the certified photocopy of the court record.
- The spouse requesting the green card needs to undergo the medical examination performed by one of the USCIS approved Doctors.
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Adjustment of Status Checklist
If you are proceeding with the adjustment of your immigration status, then it would be best if you have the checklist of everything you require from the start to end and make sure the application process goes in the right manner. Some of the checklists are mentioned below:
- You should have a form I-485
- You should have the two passport size photo with you.
- A valid photocopy of the approval receipt for the green card that you obtained from the USCIS.
- You should have a valid job offer letter in case you are requesting the employment-based green card.
- A photocopy of your employment authorization documents, if applicable
- You should be having the report of the medical examination by the approved doctor if applicable.
How to apply for the Adjustment of Status Application Process?
After finding that you are eligible to apply for the adjustment of status application, then you can start the application process by following the few steps mentioned below:
Step 1 – Green Card Sponsor Files I-130 Visa Petition
In the first step, the person who is sponsoring your green card will be required to file the application form I-130 petition with the USCIS on your behalf. You can use this form to present that you and your U.S. citizen or green card holder sponsor are your immediate family members and have a good relationship with you.
For the employment-based immigrant petitions, your US employer will require to file the application form I-140 petition on your behalf. However, for the humanitarian based green cards, the person sponsoring your green card will require to file the application form I-730 petition on your behalf.
If the United States government does not provide you any of the green cards you are applying for, you can opt to file the concurrent application. However, this means that you will have to submit both the application form I-130 and I-1485 simultaneously, along with the relevant supporting documents.
Step 2 – File Form I-485 Once USCIS Approves I-130 Petition
In case you are not filing the concurrent application means you are not submitting the application form I-130 and I-485 simultaneously, then the other thing you need to do is to fill the application form I-485 after receiving approval of your I-130 from the U.S. citizenship and immigration services (USCIS). Form I-485 is the application for the adjustment of status. You are only granted to apply for this application if you have your Visa number with you. For further queries, you can visit the USCIS website.
Moreover, if you are willing to get employed in the United States while waiting for your issuance of the green card, you will require to submit the application form I-765 along with the Form I-485 to issue the work authorization, and with this, you can get authorized to work in the United States legally. In the same way, if you are waiting for your green card and willing to go for the trips abroad, you will be required to submit the application form I-131 along with your form I-485 to receive the advance payroll travel documents to travel to the abroad countries. Therefore, for every form you are filing to the USCIS, you will require to send the separate relevant documents along with your application.
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If you wish to go for the abroad trip for more than a year then refer to Complete Guide Re-Entry Permit Process. Before leaving the country you should apply for the re-entry permit.
Step 3 – Attend Biometrics Appointment
After submitting your application to the USCIS, they will schedule an biometric appointment, which you have to attend. In the biometrics appointment, you will be asked for your photo, fingerprints, and official signature to check if you have any criminal background.
Step 4 – Attend Green Card Interview
In the next step, it depends on your type of application and USCIS to invite you to attend the green card interview at your nearest USCIS office or not. USCIS will decide your interview based on the information you provided in your application, and by checking your criminal background, if they find everything is genuine, they might not ask you to attend the interview. During the green card interview, their USCIS migrant officer will ask you some of the questions related to your application and the document that you submitted to the USCIS.
Step 5 – USCIS Approves or Denies Green Card Application
Now the final step, after you are done with your green card interview, USCIS will tell you about your application’s decision shortly. They might either deny your application or approve it. It all depends on your application and the information you provided. If USCIS approves your application, then you will receive the physical green card documents through mail. For that immigrant who has adjusted their status from the fiancé visa to the marriage-based green card, they will first get the conditional green card which they will require to renew after it expires in 2 years.
You have the option to check the status of your green card application by entering your receipt number in the USCIS online case tracker.
For getting more information related to the receipt number refer to the Complete Guide of Receipt Number for USCIS.
What Happens after USCIS rejects my Adjustment of Status Application?
If USCIS rejects your Adjustment of Status Application, you will not be in lawful immigration status anymore. In case you have applied for the work permit while waiting for your green card by filling the form I-765, then your this permit will also be ended, and you can’t work anymore in the United States. If you do not want the United States to take legal action against you, then its better that you should return to your home country as earliest as possible.
There are several reasons due to which USCIS might deny your adjustment of status application.
- You might not have given the complete information in the application form or given incorrect information.
- You might not have submitted the right filing fee for the filed application form.
- During your green card interview, the immigration officer might have determined that you are not eligible to apply for the type of green card you are requesting.
These above-given information are the reasons why USCIS may reject your application and ask you to leave the country.
In some of these situations, you still have the option to submit the fresh green card application, but you cannot submit it through adjustment of status if you do not have a valid visa along with you. For example, suppose you miss attaching some of the document files or evidence requested by the USCIS or if you did not sign the application form before submission, then you can submit the new green card application after making the required corrections. In some other situations, like, If USCIS rejects your application because you are not eligible to apply for the green card, you cannot submit the new green care application. It’s always an ideal option to consult your immigration lawyer if due to any of the reasons USCIS rejects your green card application.
Form I-485 Timeline
FORM I-485 Processing time
If you are wondering of the processing time of application form I-485, then it depends on the type of adjustment you are applying for, and its time ranges from few weeks to years for USCIS to approve your application form.
In case you have submitted the application form I-140 that is for the employment-based adjustment of status, then this form will be approved first.
FORM I-485 TO GREEN CARD TIMELINE
If you are applying for the adjustment of station application to adjust the status to the green card, it takes up to a few months to a few years. It depends on your condition.
Several factors might delay your green card application process, which may include eligibility criteria to adjust your status. In case any of your immediate family members have sponsored your green card application, then the processing time of your application depends on your relation with the United States citizen.
Another most important factor which might delay the processing time of your green card application based on the USCIS service center that is processing your application.
What is the cost to Apply for Form I-485?
The cost of the application form I-485 is $1225(which includes $85 for the biometric fee and $1140 for processing), only if you are between 14 to 78 years of age. Any of the applying candidates under 14 years of age applying for the application form I-485 and one of his/her parents only require paying $750 for their application to the US government. The refugees and asylum do not require paying any filing fees to adjust their status to permanent residents.
Can I Travel While Form I-485 is pending?
Absolutely yes, you have the option to travel to the abroad country while your Form I-485 is pending, and USCIS provided you the advance parole. Advance parole is referred to as one of the essential documents that grant you to go for the abroad trip while USCIS processes your green card and also you can return to the US without affecting your application process. In case you go for the abroad trip without applying for the advance payroll, then USCIS will abandon your green card application, and hence you will require applying for the green card application again. You can request the advance payroll by filling the application form I-131 along with Form I-485.
Can I Work During the Adjustment of Status Process?
Yes, you can get employed in the United States while USCIS is processing your adjustment of status application only if you have an employment authorization document or work permit. In case you do not have an employment authorization document, then you cannot work in the United States. Those who are willing to apply for the adjustment of status can also apply for the employment authorization document. In order to do this, you will require to file form I-765.
How do I Track the Status of my Adjustment of the Status case?
By visiting the USCIS website, you can easily track the status of your application by entering the receipt number given on the received notice that you received from the USCIS when they receipt your application.
Can I file the Form I-485 online?
You are required to file the application form I-485 through mail to the right USCIS service center. If you and your immediate relative are filing the application form I-485 and I-130 simultaneously, you still have the option to apply the form I-130 online. However, you have to submit the application form I-485 in person to the right USCIS service center.
Can I file Form I-485 from outside the U.S.?
Your spouse or relative who is sponsoring you should be available in the United States to submit the application form I-485. However, if they are out of the United States, they might get qualified to apply through consular processing.
Can I still file Form I-485 if I have a criminal record?
At the time of filing the application form I-485, USCIS may ask for biometric information to ensure your identity and will also does your background check.
Also, they will ask some of the necessary questions related to your criminal record outside and inside the United States. If you have a past criminal record, then there might be problems getting your application accepted, but it does not mean that your green card application will be rejected.