Adjustment of status (AOA) refers to the change in the immigration status of an individual from temporary residence to permanent residence in the United States. It applies if the individual lawfully entered the United States and meets specific requirements in a particular category such as;
- Family relationship
- Marriage to U.S. Citizen
- Asylum or refugee status
- Cuban citizenship/nationality
To apply for adjustment of status, it is required to file Form I-485 (named as adjustment of status application) that can benefit eligible individuals (already present) in the United States. They can get a green card without returning to their home country to complete visa processing. Form I-485 is the primary application immigrants use to adjust their temporary residential status to lawful permanent residence in the United States.
This form consists of 14 parts about the applicant’s identity and checks for grounds of inadmissibility. Form I-485 is available at the official website of USCIS (https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/document/forms/i-485.pdf).
The categorization of Form segments is given as follows;
Part 1: Personal information
Part 2: Application type or filing category
Part 3: Additional personal information
Part 4: Parents’ information
Part 5: Detail about marital status
Part 6: Information about children
Part 7: Biographic information
Part 8: General eligibility and inadmissibility grounds
Part 9: Accommodations for individuals with disabilities and/or impairments
Part 10: Applicant’s Statement, Contact information, Declaration, Certification, and Signature
Part 11: Interpreter’s Contact information, Certification, and Signature
Part 12: Contact information, Certification, and Signature of a person preparing application (If other than the Applicant)
Part 13: Signature at Interview
Part 14: Segment to add more information to enrich previous answers
General Instructions to fill a Form I-485:
Following are general guidelines to fill Form I-485;
- Fill it by hand, especially signatures.
- Do not type your name or use a stamp.
- Print legibly and use black ink.
- Write “N/A” or “None” if any question doesn’t apply to you, or for which the answer is “none.”
- If you need extra space to thoroughly answer a question, use Part 14 (given at the end of the form).
Essential Facts about Form I-485
|The processing time for Form I-485 varies according to the category of adjustment, but overall, it can take a few weeks to a few years to get USCIS approval.|
|The government filing fee for the Form I-485 application is $1,225.|
Who is eligible to file Form I-485?
|An applicant’s relative or husband or wife, can get their green card based on seven major categories;
In the case of a marriage-based green card, only a foreign spouse (who is physically present in the United States) can file an I-485.
Who is ineligible to file Form I-485?
Relatives or spouses who are not physically present in the U.S.
A Person, themselves, cannot file Form I-485 If they entered the U.S.;
Inadmissibility grounds (that may prevent you from filing I-485)
|In case of marriage-based adjustment of status, you are required to file an I-485 application with the following supporting documents to become eligible for a green card;
Process of Filing Form I-485 (Application to Adjust Status):
- Receipt of application: Once you properly file Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status), USCIS will confirm the status of your application via Form I-797C, Notice of Action within 2 to 3 weeks after filing.
- Appointment Notice for Biometrics: USCIS requires the biometric identification of the applicant to conduct a security clearance and criminal background check. For this, USCIS will send an appointment notice consisting of the biometrics appointment date, time, and location. You will receive a biometric appointment notice within 3-5 weeks after filing your application for ‘Adjustment of Status.’
- Biometrics Appointment: Biometric appointment takes at least 30 minutes to collect your fingerprints, photograph, and signature. The biometric appointment is arranged within 5-8 weeks after filing Form I-485.
- Notice of Interview: Within 4-10 months after filing Form I-485, you and the petitioner will most likely receive a notice to attend an adjustment of status interview scheduled at a nearby USCIS facility, and it probably will take half an hour.
- Adjustment of Status Interview: USCIS officer will conduct an ‘adjustment of status interview.’ The interview will be initiated by reviewing your I-485 and related forms. So, get ready yourself for the interview to avoid rejection.
- Receive Permanent Residence: At the end of the interview, you may be informed about the acceptance or rejection of an application if going everything well in the interview. In case of approval, USCIS will mail the green card to you shortly thereafter. If USCIS denies your application, they will mail you a notice explaining the reasons for the adjustment of status denial.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Where do I file Form I-485? Can I file it Online?
Ans: It depends upon your location and category of adjustment. You must file Form I-485 physically to the USCIS service center via mail.
Can I file Form I-485 from outside the U.S.?
Ans: If your spouse or relative is physically present in the U.S., they have to file Form I-485 physically to the USCIS service center. While, if they are outside the U.S., then they may be eligible to apply using consular processing.
How can I check the status of my Form I-485 application?
Ans: For this, you should use your 13-digit USCIS case receipt number to check the status of your I-485 application online.
What if my I-485 gets rejected for ‘Adjustment of Status?’
Ans: Form I-485 can be rejected for multiple reasons including missing required documents, a discrepancy between the claim in an application and supporting evidence, and disqualifying in interview and test. In case of rejection for the said reasons, you have an option to appeal and restart the application process.
Can I start working after filing Form I-485?
Ans: If you want to start working after filing Form I-485, you will need a work permit or an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). For this, you will have to file Form I-765 and Form I-485. A work permit requires almost one year to process; meanwhile, you can start working.
What is the difference between Form I-485 and Consular Processing?
Ans: These are two different processes to apply for a green card. Both processes have similar eligibility requirements. If you are already present in the United States at the time of applying for a green card, you are required to file Form I-485. But if you are outside the U.S., you should apply for a green card through consular processing.