What is Form I-485 and how to apply for permanent residence

Adjustment of status in the United States is one of the most common ways to obtain permanent residency. But what is Form I-485? What is this process like? Who can apply? Today we’ll tell you what you need to know to move forward with your application

The status adjustment process can be very complex. Supporting documentation and requirements are changing. In addition, there are other ways to obtain permanent residency. That’s why a lawyer can make a difference. At Urbina Immigration Law we can help you. Tell us your case and take the first step towards your Green Card.

What is Form I-485?

Form I-485 is a document used by individuals seeking permanent resident status in the United States. Also known as the “Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status” serves to change your immigration status from nonimmigrant to immigrant or permanent resident.

An immigration attorney is the best option to process your adjustment of status.
An immigration attorney is the best option to process your adjustment of status.

It is used in conjunction with a sponsor such as an employer or family member. It sponsors the migrant’s application for permanent residency. Your approval allows you to receive a Green Card, which will enable you to live and work legally in the country.

Form I-485 Eligibility Criteria

There are several criteria for determining a Form I-485 applicant’s eligibility. The most common are:

  • Immigration Status: The applicant must have a valid nonimmigrant status at the time of filing. This implies not having entered the country illegally and respecting the terms of your current status.
  • Immigrant visa availability: The applicant must have an immigrant visa available based on his/her priority date. These are determined by the Department of State (DHS).
  • Grounds of inadmissibility: The applicant cannot have any grounds of inadmissibility to be in the United States. Some of the causes include health reasons, criminal record, or risk of becoming a public charge.
  • Sponsorship: The applicant must have a sponsor. This may be an employer or a U.S. citizen or resident relative. However, please note that not all members of your family are eligible for adjustment of status.

Eligibility criteria for Form I-485 may vary depending on your case. In addition, not all members of your family are eligible for adjustment of status. Therefore, it is best to consult with an immigration attorney. At Urbina Immigration Law we can help you. Contact us and take the first step towards permanent residency.

Supporting Documents Form I-485

Certain supporting documentation is required to file an adjustment of status application in the United States. This must be submitted with Form I-485. The most common are:

  • Two passport photographs.
  • Copy of the page(s) of your passport.
  • Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record.
  • Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative (if applicable).
  • Form I-864, Affidavit of Support.
  • Evidence of a valid relationship with the applicant’s relative or employer (if applicable).
  • Proof of legal entry into the United States.
  • Medical examination results.
  • Criminal background check.
  • Proof of financial support.
  • Evidence of continuous U.S. residency (if applicable).
  • Payment of the corresponding fees.

The specific documents required for each applicant may vary depending on their circumstances. Therefore, it is best to seek the assistance of an attorney. He can help you gather the necessary documentation for your case. Do not risk your application for adjustment of status. Contact us and let us get your documents in order.

What is the status adjustment process like?

The status adjustment process can be summarized in the following steps:

Step 1: Gather the required documentation

Before filing Form I-485, gather the required supporting documentation. If any documents are in a foreign language, get a certified English translation. This includes your signature, printed name, contact information, and the date. Don’t forget that USCIS only accepts documents in English.

Step 2: Complete Form I-485

When you have all the documentation, complete Form I-485. Be clear and accurate in your answers. If a question does not apply to you, write “N/A” (not applicable). You can complete it online or by hand. If you need help, you can refer to the USCIS instructions or seek the assistance of an immigration attorney.

Step 3: Payment of fees

Along with Form I-485 and supporting documentation, you must pay the appropriate fees. You can pay by credit card, check, money order, or through the USCIS online payment system.

Step 4: Submit your application

Once you have all the documentation gathered, submit your application to USCIS. You can do this online or by mail. However, remember to check the address of the USCIS office for your state.

Step 5: Biometric Services Appointment

USCIS will schedule a mandatory appointment to take your biometrics. At this appointment, you will be required to provide your fingerprints, signature and photographs for background and identity verification.

Step 6: Wait for USCIS decision

After the biometric services appointment, you must wait for USCIS to process your Form I-485 and make a decision. If approved, you will become a permanent resident. If denied, you may be placed in removal proceedings.

Must submit appropriate supporting documentation translated into English.
Must submit appropriate supporting documentation translated into English.

Please note that USCIS may request an additional interview. In addition, the process is time-consuming and any mistakes can lead to delays and immigration problems. An immigration attorney can make a difference. At Urbina Immgration Law we are here to help you. Tell us your case and let’s process your Green Card together.

How long does it take to process Form I-485?

Generally, it ranges from 8 to 14 months. However, Form I-485 processing time varies depending on USCIS workload and the individual circumstances of each case. It is best to seek the assistance of an immigration attorney to follow up on your application properly. Contact us and get the legal help you need.

Can I work or travel with a pending Form I-485?

Yes, you can work and travel while your Form I-485 is pending. However, you must apply for an EAD to work and an Advance Parole to travel. Consult with an immigration attorney for specific details.

Is there any way to speed up the processing of Form I-485?

No, there is no form of expedited processing for Form I-485. Remember that “premium processing” is a service provided by USCIS for certain employment-based petitions for a fee. Adjustment of status is not covered by it.

Do I have to pay a fee to file Form I-485?

Yes, you must pay fees to apply adjustment of status. The filing fee for Form I-485 is $1,140. In addition, you must also pay a biometric services fee of $85.

Can I bring my family to the United States with my Form I-485?

Yes, you can bring your family members through the family reunification process. You must file Form I-485 along with Form I-130. However, please note that eligible family members vary depending on your immigration status. Also, processing times depend on the preference category you are in.

How should I translate the supporting documents?

Find a certified translator and make sure they meet USCIS requirements. The translation must be accompanied by a certification of accuracy, including the translator’s information. Once you get it, send it along with the Form I-485 and keep a copy for your records.

The Form I-485 is the initial step to obtain permanent residency. And it can help not only you, but also members of your family. All this makes this document an essential element for the status adjustment process. However, this one is by no means easy.

Depending on each applicant’s particular situation, the process and documentation required varies. In addition, if your application is denied, you could face deportation proceedings. Therefore, it is best to consult a lawyer. Do not risk your future. At Urbina Immigration Law we can help you. Tell us your case and secure your Green Card.

Other resources

How to obtain a Green Card in the United States – Updated Guide

Renewal of permanent residency in the United States: steps and documentation

What are the Green Card categories?

Green card by marriage in the United States, in detail

Documents required for the Green Card process by marriage

Permanent Residence for Victims of Violence or Crimes

T Visa application: process, requirements and more details

VAWA Residency: A Complete Guide for Domestic Violence Victims

Asylum Residency: Essential Information and Advice

If I have my asylum residency, can I travel to my country?

What are the requirements for family reunification in the United States?

Form I-130: Everything you need to know

Family sponsorship limits: How many family members can I bring to the United States?

What is the difference between Green Card and citizenship?

What does it mean to be a public charge?


USCIS – I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residency or Adjust Status

USCIS – Permanent Residency Eligibility Categories

USCIS – Permanent Residency Processes and Procedures