I-485 Adjustment of Status
In this guide, we are going to explain everything you need to know to file I-485, adjustment of status.
26 - 42 months
The fee for filing I-485 varies based on the applicant's identity and age. We roughly list the different fees for different types of applicants. You can also check out the exact fee via USCIS's Fee Calculator.
The I-485 Adjustment of Status Guide is an application for those looking to obtain a Green Card in the United States. Several factors depend on whether an individual’s pending I-485 document will be accepted, such as their marital status, military career, their nationality, and certain acts passed by Congress, and whether or not they entered the United States as a refugee or asylum seeker.
To process an I-485 Form, there are several requirements one needs to maintain during their time of filing. The first is that an individual needs to be present inside the United States when the adjustment of status is filed (and until the time it is complete). Secondly, a lawful entry into the United States is required. This means that an individual was admitted, or paroled, into the U.S. with valid documentation and upon making entry into the country made face to face contact with an immigration officer, and such officer approved your entry. Entering with a valid visa that has since expired still counts as a lawful entry.
Third, and for family preference applicants, there needs to be an approved Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative, and a visa number available. Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens have more leeway, however, and may file their adjustment of status application together with the I-130 petition.
Any of the below can serve as the proof varying by situations:
Any of the below can serve as proof:
For family-based applications, every sponsor (petitioner) needs to provide 2 passport-style photos (2 inches by 2 inches) with their Form I-130 petition. These photos are apart from any other application requirements you may be filing at the same time as Form I-130.
The fee for filing I-485 varies based on the applicant's identity and age. The below table roughly lists the different fees for different type of applicants. You are also free to check out the exact fee via USCIS's Fee Calculator.
Because adjusting status to become a lawful permanent resident of the United States is a big step, the timeline of events has many steps and components:
The first step is getting your receipt of the application, if you have properly filed, by mail, approximately two to three weeks after you initially filed. At this time, an individual may be asked to submit additional materials if their application looks complete according to the USCIS.
Approximately 3 to 5 weeks after filing, you can expect to receive an appointment notice for your biometrics (fingerprints). This is a basic security clearance and background check performed as part of the Green Card/I-485 process. Biometrics information confirms your identity.
5 to 8 weeks later is your actual Biometrics appointment. Bring a passport or National photo ID issued by your country to obtain access to the building.
After the appointment and approximately 12 to 16 weeks after filing, you may receive your Employment Authorization Document (EAD,) if you have applied one with your Form I-485. In more common terms, most people refer to this as a “work permit”. With such a card, you can work in the United States and also travel outside the U.S. according to the criteria of advance parole. The work permit gives non-citizens more flexibility as they continue waiting to hear about their green cards.
Perhaps the biggest gap in time that occurs after filing is the Notice of Interview. This notice can appear in the mail anywhere from 4 to 10 months after filing, so expect variability if you’re in the middle of the process. The interview is another standard procedure. The type of case presented to the interviewer will influence your chances of receiving a Green Card, and the interview can be waived entirely by the USCIS.
Adjustment of Status Interview- occurs approximately 6 to 12 months (one year) after filing. Make sure all of your information from your I-485 is up to date. You can also check out green card interview guideline (employment-based and marriage purpose) for more details of what to take place during the interview.
After the interview, you may be granted permanent residence, but in most cases, USCIS will take further evaluative measures and either mail your Green Card or mail you a letter explaining your adjustment of status denial. You may need to wait an additional 2-3 weeks after your green card interview to receive the final status of your I-485 application; to put it simply, the result usually comes out between 8 and 14 months after filing. You will receive your green card in the mail, at the address provided on your application at the very end of the process. It is possible to receive your green card also at the end of the interview, as noted above.
To track your case status, you can do it:
If you currently reside in the U.S., you can check your case status via USCIS’s website with the receipt number that came with the Receipt Notice.
If you currently reside outside of the U.S., you can check your case status via NVC’s “Consular Electronic Application Center” (CEAC) website with your Immigration Visa Case Number.
This option is only available if you applied from outside of the U.S. You can request your application status update through the NVC’s questionnaire that will ask for your NVC case number or USCIS receipt number, your name, your employer or sponsoring relative’s name, and your birthdate; after filling out the questionnaire, you will receive a response in your email.
If you are in the U.S., call the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283. If you have hearing/speech impairment, call TTY at 1-800-767-1833. Make sure to have your A-Number, USCIS Receipt Number available during the call.
If you are outside of the U.S., please check the NVC website for the agency’s most current hours of operation. You can reach the NVC at +1-603-334-0700 during the agency’s hours of operation. The waiting time can be longer than 30 minutes during times with high call volumes. Make sure to have your NVC case number or USCIS receipt number ready at the time of your call.
USCIS will send out official notifications regarding your case, so make sure your mailing address is correct and reachable.
If you are looking for additional information or answers to more specific and complex questions regarding the pending green card application status, it is recommended that you apply for “InfoPass” appointments with a USCIS field office to talk to a USCIS in person. However, this process can be more complicated than the aforementioned options.
If you are applying from outside of the U.S., you can still apply for “InfoPass” under certain situations through the USCIS InfoPass Website.
Once you receive your green card, you are granted the rights to live/work permanently in the U.S.; you are also responsible to file your income tax return according to the U.S. laws. Further details regarding the rights and responsibilities for a permanent residence are listed on USCIS website. You can also check the rights/tasks you can accomplish as a green card holder, such as applying green card(s) for your children, etc.
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