Before Filling Out the Form
In order to file a Form I-485, an individual needs to do some preparation work and make sure they have all of the right documents and forms of ID available so their application process will go smoothly. They also need to make sure they are qualified to apply. As such, an immigrant “status” needs to have been filed or understood in lieu of filing Form I-485.
Here a Few Things to Note in Regards to Form I-485:
- Have your passport ready as well as two passport style photographs
- Make sure you have a birth certificate
- Make sure you know what immigrant category you are filing under. For example, if you are filing under humanitarian grounds, as an employee looking to adjust status, or as a family member (spouse, child, parent, or other close relatives of a U.S. citizen).
To begin the filing, you’ll need to access the Form I-485 on the USCIS Website. Bring up the PDF copy and begin filling out the form online. You can also print the form and fill out by hand if needed. Here we also offer the sample form you for your initial idea. If you're ready, let's do it!
Part I: Basic Info
Part I is your basic identity information. Make sure to include your country of birth (exact address not needed), your current U.S. mailing address, passport number, a port of entry, and your Alien Registration Number (if you have one).
- Alien Registration Number is under the “USCIS#” category on your EAD Card.
- If you came into the U.S. with a travel permit, indicate it under Question 16, “Travel Document Number used at Last Arrival”
- International students entering the country will need to fill out an I-94 Form at a port of entry into the United States (air or sea port). I-94 Record Numbers will be needed for I-485 Form for questions 22a-d as well as visa status (F-1 student or B-2 Visitor).
- If you currently do not have legal status, you should indicate that. If you have overstayed your I-94 expiration date, you should put “overstay”. If you entered without permission, you should put “EWI” (entry without inspection). If this is your situation, you may not be eligible to adjust status if you are the immediate relative of a U.S. citizen. Regardless, you may want to seek legal counsel if this is your situation.
Part II: Application Type or Filing Category
Part two asks for details about your eligibility for adjusting status. If you have an approved immigrant petition, you should include the Form I-797 receipt or approval notice with form I-485.
Question 2 asks applicants if they are applying for adjustment based on the INA section 245(i). This question refers to an old law that applies to a select group of people who came into the U.S. without permission. Visit USCIS.gov for more information
Questions 3-9 deal with an applicant's Immigrant Category. Enter petition receipt numbers if applicable. Valid petitions include Form I-130, Form I-140, Form I-360, Form I-526, or I-918. The receipt number will be included on the Form I-797 approval notice the USCIS mailed.
A derivative visa applicant is the spouse or minor unmarried child (younger than age 21) of the beneficiary of an immigrant petition.
Part III: Additional Personal Information
If you have gone through a consular processing route abroad, this section will apply to you. In addition, you will need to fill out all of the places you have lived and worked for the past five years. Make sure this section is as accurate as possible to ensure that your information is credible. If you haven’t been working or went through a period of unemployment, enter N/A.
Part IV: Information about Your Parents
If your parents have passed away, please enter “deceased” on questions 7, 8, 15, and 16.
Part V. Information about Your Marital History
Question 3 asks how many times you have been married including annulled marriages. An annulment treats the marriage as though it never existed, and in fact, the key distinction of an annulment is that the union wasn't legal or legitimate, to begin with. But it still needs to be taken into account on the Form I-485.
Make sure you have filed a legal marriage through city hall and be willing to present your marriage certificate document when asked later in the process.
Part VI. Information about Your Children
Indicate all of the children you have. This includes biological, stepchildren, as well as legal adoptions. Failure to indicate the correct number of children could create a lack of legitimacy in a child’s future application if they want to immigrate to the United States at a later time in their life.
Part VII. Biographic Information
This section pertains to an individual's race/ethnicity. The first box asks applicants to check if they are Hispanic or Latino. As a guide, any person who is Hispanic or Latino includes people descending from countries, and/or regions of Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South or Central America, or another Spanish culture or origin.
For race, “White” is a person having origins in Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.
Asian is a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Black or African American is a person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa.
American Indian or Alaska Native is a person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America), and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment.
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander is a person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands.
Part VIII. General Eligibility
This section is for the purpose of determining whether or not you have done anything that makes it inadmissible to the U.S. This includes being part of a violent organization or being in affiliation with such a society, group, or association. Also including information about volunteer opportunities or religious affiliations from 1-13b can help show the USCIS you have good moral character.
Questions 14-80b: Most of these answers should be “no”. However, you have some “yes”. If you have overstayed a visa, you should answer “yes” on question 17.
If you have any arrests, you might need to attach documentation, or if you have been fined over $500 dollars. You do not have to include minor driving or parking tickets.
Part IX. Accommodations for Individuals with Disabilities and/or Impairments
The most crucial aspect that should be stated in this section is whether you need a sign language interpreter for your I-485 interview.
Part X. Applicant Statement
This is where you sign your name or verify that you have an interpreter who has translated and read to you every question on the form.
Part XI. Interpreter’s Contact Information, Certification, and Signature
Please provide the information about the interpreter if you used one.
Part XII. Preparer Contact Information, Declaration, and Signature
This is where an attorney will include their credentials.
Part XIII. Signature
Do not sign this section until you have had your USCIS interview.
When you arrive here, congrats on finishing the Form I-485! Don't forget to include all the necessary documents before you mail it/submit it online. Next, delivery! Questions about Form I-485? Don't hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.