The I-485 Adjustment of Status form is used for green card applicants, those who want to adjust their status within the United States, or abroad, and become a legal permanent resident in the U.S. The new version of the I-485 application is 20 pages long, and asks for an applicant's basic Biographic Information, as well as one's Employment History, which is located on Page 6 of 20, Under Part 3, “Additional Information about you”.
The employment section of this form is critical because in one respect the USCIS is also asking applicants to list the places they have resided in the last five years. One's employment history (at least before Covid-19 and the start of remote working) must have coincided with their residence history. It’s a good idea for applicants who are beginning to fill out their I-485 to make sure that the cities and zip codes for which they resided, the past five years, matches with the employment headquarters or regional office they working in at the time. If not, the USCIS will likely require more evidence and your case processing time will increase.
What kind of jobs count?
While making sure your employment history is consistent with other parts of your application, another common question that applicants have is whether their part-time job or even internship counts toward legitimate employment? In addition, what about the gig economy and jobs like driving for Uber?
To answer both of these questions simultaneously—yes, both gigs/contract positions and even unpaid internships count as meaningful employments. Even though they may not be 40 hours a week jobs, they are still employments and you have still been delegated responsibilities by an organization and are expected to carry them out. Also, if you know that you previously signed an internship contract to carry out a position or filed a W4 at the start of an internship, then it is definitely considered employment.
Filling out such roles on the I-485 demands accuracy so that USCIS officials are not questioning the legitimacy of such roles. In other words, applicants will need to be careful about how they list certain occupations and organizations. The most common error comes with a university position. For example, even though you might have been an unpaid intern at a university, the organization you should list is the university itself, and not any smaller type of entity you were working with as an unpaid intern.
In addition, applicants who have been working for the gig economy must simply put “Driver” for Occupation/Job Title, or something else that closely resembles the main task for that job. If an applicant has any doubts about the exact time they started driving for Uber, for example, they should check their App to see when they had their first ride, or simply estimate by using the start of a calendar month.
Applicants filling out this section on their I-485 should also notice the space given on Part 3 is only for two different employers/positions to be filled out. Many applicants, however, have worked more for more than two companies in the past five years. If you are an applicant who has had other jobs, you’ll need to locate Part 14, the very last page of the document, to fill in the rest of the jobs you have had and the dates of such employment. Starting from 3a-7a, you will have plenty of space to list such information.
If you end up with one or two gaps in your employment history, you should be ready to explain these, although not on the actual application portion. You will most likely be questioned about your brief unemployment during your green card interview. After reviewing several other online forums regarding employment, the consensus is that the USCIS tends to be flexible about this part of the application, granted that the jobs you have filled in are accurate and are consistent with the rest of your profile.