KC Immigration Lawyers Explain Form I-485

Attorneys from KC Immigration Lawyers can answer your questions regarding Form I 485 and more. Contact us to schedule a consultation. Call for information!

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What Is a Form I-485?

Form I-485 is the name of the official form which you are required to complete to adjust status for a green card application. It is also referred to as an adjustment of status or adjustment application form. It is used to request lawful permanent residency in the United States. Before applying for your green card, contacting experienced and skilled Kansas City immigration lawyers would be a good idea. You can get guidance from them on how to proceed.

WHAT IS FORM I-485 USED FOR?

Form I-485 is used to collect information about the applicant and is also used to check the grounds of inadmissibility. This form must be submitted if you have entered the United States legally and are eligible for a green card. You can download the form for free from the USCIS website. Unfortunately, you can’t submit the form online.

Who qualifies for Form I-485?

In the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the law specifies which immigrants are eligible for adjustment of status from nonimmigrant status to permanent residence. The eligibility categories for a green card (also known as a lawful permanent residence card) can be divided into employment-based, family-based, and humanitarian-based.

Employment-Based Application

Form I-485 can be used to get employment-based green cards for foreign nationals working for certain U.S. employers.

 

Family-Based Application

If you are the immediate relative of an American citizen or lawful permanent resident, you can apply under the Form I-485 process. An immediate relative requires that you are the foreign spouse, parent, or child of a citizen or green card holder (although parents of permanent residents are not eligible for green card sponsorship).

Additionally, you must physically present in the country.

 

Humanitarian-Based Application

Once a refugee or an asylee has lived in the United States for a year, they can use this application process to adjust their status to a humanitarian green card.

How to Fill Out Form I-485

It is crucial when filling out the form that you are completely honest. The failure to do so could result in your application being rejected, and can lead to deportation. The form must be filled out accurately, avoiding any mistakes. Print legibly in black ink if you are completing it by hand. Using a computer makes filling out the form easier. Electronic signatures, however, are not allowed, so you must sign by hand.

If a question does not apply to you, or if the answer is “None,” simply enter “N/A” or “None.”

Some questions may require additional space to address. In these instances, use Part 14 at the end of the form.

 

What Supporting Documents are Needed When Submitting Form I-485?

When submitting Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, several supporting documents are typically required. These include:

  • A copy of the applicant’s government-issued ID with photograph.
  • A copy of the applicant’s birth certificate.
  • Copies of passport pages showing all entries and exits from the U.S.
  • Two passport-style photos.
  • A copy of the applicant’s I-94 Arrival/Departure Record, if available.
  • Proof of lawful entry to the U.S., such as an I-797 approval notice for a previous visa.
  • Proof of the immigrant category you’re applying under, such as a Form I-130 approval notice for family-based categories.
  • Your Alien Registration number (if applicable), USCIS Online Account Number (if known), and exact expiration date of your authorized stay (if applicable).
  • Evidence of employment history and financial stability.

WHERE TO SEND FORM I-485

Online submissions are not possible at the time of writing—your completed Form I-485 and supporting documents must be sent to the correct address.

HOW MUCH IS FORM I-485?

The form itself is free. The government filing fee for an I-485 application is currently $1,225, including the fee for taking your biometrics. Depending on your circumstances, the fee may be lowered or waived entirely. You can speak with an immigration lawyer for assistance in determining your eligibility.

HOW LONG DOES FORM I-485 TAKE TO PROCESS?

The processing time of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) varies depending on the nature of the application. However, you should receive receipt notices in approximately six weeks. You will then be required to attend a biometrics appointment at your local Application Support Center (ASC).

USCIS should decide on your green card application within twelve to eighteen months.

Once USCIS approves your immigrant petition, they will send you your green card in the mail 30 days after the approval notice.

USCIS may require you to attend an interview. If so, you will receive a green card interview notice. You will be asked questions to verify your application, after which the USCIS officer will decide on your green card application. 

 

IS I-485 APPROVAL THE SAME AS A GREEN CARD?

Once the I-485 is approved, an immigrant visa is allocated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). You will then be mailed your permanent resident card.

CAN I WORK IN THE U.S. WHILE WAITING FOR MY GREEN CARD?

You may work in the United States while waiting for a green card only once you have obtained an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), also known as a work permit. This can be applied for when you submit your adjustment of status application in a process known as concurrent filing.

HOW TO AVOID FORM I-485 APPLICATION DELAYS

Mistakes can result in significant delays – here are a few tips to avoid errors and keep your application on track.

  • Do not take shortcuts and try to cheat the system.
  • Use the handy USCIS checklist to file your application correctly. You can prevent omissions by doing this.
  • You should seek the assistance of a skilled immigration lawyer.
  • Attach all copies of supporting documents required in your application – your lawyer can help with this.
  • Make sure you meet all deadlines and honor appointments.

HOW AN ATTORNEY CAN HELP

If your Form I-485 is denied, an experienced immigration attorney can be instrumental in appealing the decision. The lawyer will first analyze the reasons for denial, which can be due to various factors including, not meeting the eligibility criteria, missing the priority date, or submission of incomplete documents.

Once the reason is identified, your lawyer can guide you on the next steps, which may include filing a Motion to Reopen or Reconsider, or an appeal to the USCIS Administrative Appeals Office. If the denial was due to a mistake, your attorney could help correct it and refile the application.

If the denial is because of complex legal issues, such as inadmissibility, an attorney can help address these problems. They can also represent you in removal proceedings if needed. A lawyer’s knowledge of immigration laws and procedures is invaluable in helping navigate these processes successfully.

Mistakes can cost time and, even worse, may result in the rejection of your application even when you should be successful. You can level the playing field by setting up a free consultation with Kansas City immigration attorneys who are skilled and conversant with Form I-485 applications. Our Practice Areas cover many immigration issues, and we would love to share that experience with you as a client. Call us for a consultation today. Initial consultations are free.