Form I-485 Guide: Eligibility, Costs, Timeline, and Instructions

Obtaining a Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) allows you to live and work permanently in the United States. Form I-485, Application for Adjustment of Status, is the primary application form used by individuals seeking to adjust their immigration status to permanent resident.

This guide provides a comprehensive overview of applying for a Green Card through Form I-485. It covers eligibility requirements, the application process, processing timelines, and frequently asked questions.

What is Form I-485?

Form I-485 is an official document submitted to USCIS to obtain the “lawful permanent resident” status in the United States.

Following the submission of Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, the next step in the family-based Green Card process, specifically for marriage-based applications, is filing the Application for Adjustment of Status. This I-485 form serves as the foreign spouse’s application for permanent residency in the United States. The spouse, the “applicant,” signs and submits the I-485 form.

In cases where the foreign spouse is already present in the U.S., it’s often possible to file both Forms I-130 and I-485 concurrently, streamlining the process. This simultaneous filing approach is known as “concurrent filing.”

IMPORTANT! Form I-485, Application for Adjustment of Status, requires your spouse or relative to be physically present in the United States. If they are not in the U.S., alternative options exist. In such cases, consular processing, which involves applying for a Green Card through a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad, is a viable pathway to obtaining permanent residency.

Where to Find Form I-485

You can download Form I-485 directly from the USCIS website.

What Form I-485 Edition Do You Need to File?

To ensure a successful Application for Adjustment of Status, be mindful of the following:

  • Use the latest form edition. As of today, the current edition is dated February 21, 2023 (02/21/23). USCIS also accepts the December 23, 2022 (12/23/22) edition.
  • Locate the edition date. This information can be found at the bottom of the form and its accompanying instructions.
  • Maintain consistency for mailed submissions. Verify that all pages display the same edition date and page numbers at the bottom. Ensure all pages belong to the same form edition. Incomplete or mismatched pages may lead to your application’s rejection by USCIS.

When to File Form I-485

Usually, you can only apply for status adjustment when a visa becomes available in your specific immigrant category. To learn more about the adjustment of status process, how to determine your eligibility, and when you can file, refer to the Visa Availability and Priority Dates and Adjustment of Status Filing Charts on the USCIS Visa Bulletin pages. Some exceptions to the visa availability requirement may exist, so when you consult the USCIS Form I-485 instructions for your specific immigrant category, look for detailed information regarding such exceptions.

Eligibility Criteria for the I-485 Form

To be eligible to file Form I-485, you must meet the following general requirements:

  • Physical presence: When applying, you must be physically present in the United States.
  • Lawful entry: You must have entered the United States legally and have been inspected and admitted by an immigration officer or be paroled into the United States for a specific reason.
  • Eligible immigration status: If you are an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen (spouse, unmarried child under 21, or parent of a citizen over 21), you have the advantage of filing both the Petition for Alien Relative and the Application for Adjustment of Status concurrently. Since visas are always available for immediate relatives, this streamlines the green card process. In contrast, applicants within family preference categories must confirm visa availability by ensuring their category is “current” in the visa bulletin before proceeding with Form I-485.

There are some exceptions to the physical presence requirement:

  • if you are the spouse of a U.S. citizen serving abroad in the U.S. military or
  • if you are a minor child adopted by a U.S. citizen.

In such cases, it’s best to consult with an immigration expert to determine your specific eligibility requirements.

IMPORTANT! If you are an Afghan parolee with approved Forms I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant or DS-157, Petition for Special Immigrant Classification for Afghan SIV Applicants, or you were previously employed for the U.S. in Afghanistan by the government or the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), USCIS encourages you to file Form I-485 as soon as possible. This application allows you to seek lawful permanent residency (Green Card) in the U.S. if you are eligible.

Who Can File Form I-485?

The Application to Adjust Status is the go-to route for United States individuals seeking to become Green Card holders. Here’s a breakdown of who is eligible to file:

Family-Based Immigrants

  • Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens (spouses, unmarried children under 21, parents of citizens over 21).
  • Family preference category immigrants, provided a visa is currently available.

IMPORTANT! Spouses of U.S. Green Card holders must know that as of March 24, 2023, the “Final Action Dates” for applications in the F-2A family-based visa category (which includes spouses and unmarried children under 21 of Green Card holders) are no longer current due to a case backlog. This means that even though applications can still be filed (as “Dates for Filing” remain current), they will not be processed until the applicant’s priority date becomes current. This date, previously “current” for many applicants, has been retrogressed to November 1, 2018, for Mexican applicants and September 8, 2020, for others, resulting in potential delays in obtaining Green Cards within this category. Check the U.S. Visa Bulletin for updates and information.

Employment-Based Immigrants

Special Immigrants

  • Special Immigrant Juveniles (SIJ).
  • Asylees and refugees (after one year of status).
  • Specific other special categories.

Diversity Visa Lottery Winners

This lottery program, designed to increase immigration from countries with low immigration to the U.S., randomly selects a few winners each year. If you were selected as a winner in the annual Diversity Visa Lottery, you become eligible to file Form I-485. You must also prove you meet specific eligibility criteria, including educational or work experience requirements. Upon approval, the Diversity Visa grants you lawful permanent resident status in the United States.

Humanitarian-Based Immigrants

  • Human trafficking and certain crimes’ victims (T and U nonimmigrants).
  • Individuals qualify under programs like the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) or the Haitian Refugee Immigrant Fairness Act (HRIFA).

IMPORTANT! Visa availability and specific eligibility requirements vary depending on the immigrant category. Consult an immigration attorney or expert or refer to official USCIS resources for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Who Cannot File the I-485 Form?

While Form I-485 offers many individuals a pathway to permanent residency, there are limitations on who can file. Here’s an overview of those who are generally ineligible:

People Who Are Not In the U.S.

  • Relatives or spouses not physically present in the U.S. cannot file Form I-485. They may explore alternative options like consular processing, where the application is submitted abroad.

Specific Entry Categories

  • Individuals who entered the U.S. as crew members, in transit (passing through), or as witnesses/informants cannot file.

People Deemed Deportable by the Authorities

  • Individuals deemed deportable for involvement in terrorism or affiliated with terrorist groups are also ineligible.

People Checking the Inadmissibility Criteria

While some grounds for inadmissibility are relatively straightforward, others involve complex legal nuances. Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the various categories that can prevent individuals from filing Form I-485 and obtaining a Green Card:

  • Communicable diseases: Certain infectious diseases can make individuals inadmissible. However, waivers may be available sometimes, especially if the individual poses no public health threat and has access to necessary treatment.
  • Mental health conditions: Severe mental disorders with the potential to harm oneself or others could also lead to inadmissibility. However, similar to infectious diseases, waivers may be an option depending on the specific circumstances.
  • Specific crimes: Convictions of serious crimes, including aggravated felonies, multiple misdemeanors involving drugs or moral turpitude, or crimes involving violence or domestic abuse, generally result in inadmissibility. Understanding the specific crime and its classification under immigration law is crucial.
  • National security concerns: Individuals deemed a potential threat to national security, such as those affiliated with terrorist organizations or involved in espionage, will be inadmissible. The burden of proof lies with the government to establish such a threat.
  • Past immigration law violations: Overstaying a visa, entering the country without inspection, or specific visa fraud attempts can lead to inadmissibility. The severity and nature of the violation and the passage of time can influence the outcome.
  • Likely dependence on public benefits: The U.S. government generally aims for self-sufficient immigrants and may deem individuals likely to rely heavily on public assistance as inadmissible. However, factors like income, assets, and family sponsorship can be considered in the assessment.

IMPORTANT! In December 2022, the administration released a new version of Form I-485. This updated form determines your likelihood of using public benefits. Suppose you answer “yes” to a potential public charge status question. In that case, you must provide details about your household size, income, assets, liabilities, education, skills, certifications, and any history of receiving specific public benefits or government-funded institutionalization. Notably, the preview version of USCIS Form I-485 indicates that no additional supporting documents are required for the new public charge section.

Discuss with an immigration expert to understand inadmissibility/ineligibility grounds for Form I-485 and explore potential waivers that may help overcome specific barriers to obtaining a Green Card. Their expertise can be invaluable in understanding your situation and determining the best course of action.

The I-485 Processing Time: How Long Does It Take?

The processing time for Form I-485 varies significantly, depending on several factors, including your specific case, the USCIS workload, and the current visa backlog in your category. Generally, the adjustment of status processing time can range from several months to several years. According to the newest USCIS data, the average I-485 processing time is between 13.5 and 20.5 months.

The I-485 Timeline

Once you submit your Form I-485 application, you can expect the following general timeline:

  1. Receipt notice: You will receive a notice (USCIS Form I-797) within a few weeks confirming that USCIS has received your submission.
  2. Biometrics appointment: USCIS will schedule you for a biometrics check, which typically involves taking fingerprints and photographs.
  3. Case review: USCIS will review your application and request additional evidence if needed.
  4. Interview (optional): In some cases, USCIS may call you for an interview to discuss your application in more detail.
  5. Decision: USCIS will send you a decision notice (USCIS Form I-797) informing you of their decision on your application.

IMPORTANT! For employment-based adjustments of status through Form I-485, prior approval of your I-140 petition is mandatory. This ensures eligibility for the desired employment-based Green Card category before proceeding with the application to adjust your status.

Form I-485 Approval to Green Card Timeline

One of the most frequent questions we get from our clients is the following: My case was approved with I-485. How long do I have to wait to get my Green Card?

Following approval of your Form I-485, you’ll receive a physical “approval notice” or “welcome notice” mailed by USCIS, typically within 30 days. Subsequently, expect your Green Card to arrive in the mail approximately 30 days after receiving the welcome notice. While this provides a general I-485 timeframe, check USCIS processing times and monitor your case status online for the most current information specific to your situation.

Can I Expedite My I-485 Application?

Yes, you may be able to expedite the processing your I-485 application under certain circumstances. However, it’s essential to understand that there’s no guarantee that USCIS will approve your request, and expediting doesn’t mean instant approval.

Unlike premium processing (which involves an additional fee and guaranteed 15-day processing but does not apply to I-485 submissions), expediting a case involves requesting that USCIS prioritize your application due to urgent reasons. Some valid reasons for an expedited request include severe financial loss, humanitarian concerns like urgent medical needs, or circumstances related to U.S. government interests such as national security or defense.

To submit an expedited request, you’ll typically need to contact the USCIS Contact Center or submit an inquiry through the “Ask Emma” feature on the USCIS website.

You may need to provide evidence to support your claim for urgent processing. USCIS has sole discretion to accept or reject expedited requests, and they generally decide on the request within one week to three months.

I-485 Premium Processing vs. Expedited I-485 Processing

There is no such thing as I-485 premium processing.

However, if you apply for permanent residency based on employment (Form I-485) and also need an immigrant petition for alien workers (Form I-140), you have options for faster processing. You can file both forms together at the USCIS Dallas Lockbox, but note the following:

  • Premium processing: If you want expedited processing for your I-140 petition, you must also submit Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, with an additional fee. This guarantees a decision within 15 days, but USCIS has separate instructions on where to file this form.
  • Filing based on existing I-140: If you already have a pending or approved I-140 form, refer to the USCIS website for specific filing instructions depending on your location.

Remember to check the Department of State’s Visa Bulletin to ensure your priority date is current before filing your application, as this affects processing timelines. Additionally, you can opt for email and text message notifications about your application’s acceptance by completing Form G-1145 and attaching it to your submission.

How Much Does the I-485 Form Cost?

The filing fee for Form I-485 is $1,440 from April 1, 2024. You can pay the expenses by check, money order, or credit card, and ensure you make checks payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security” if you choose this payment form. 

USCIS warns that you agree to a non-refundable service charge by submitting the payment, regardless of the application outcome or withdrawal. Moreover, you must submit each form’s filing fee individually. Be aware that USCIS might reject your entire application if you try to make a single payment covering multiple forms. This change is due to the transition to electronic processing. To avoid this issue, ensure you submit separate payments for each required form within your application package.

I-485 Application Fee and Biometric Services Fee

This table provides a breakdown of filing and biometric services fees associated with the I-485 form. Knowing these costs beforehand can help you budget and prepare for the status adjustment application process.

I-485 Applicant Type

Under 14, filing with at least one parent's I-485

Under 14, not filing with at least one parent's I-485

Ages 14-79 or above

Filing based on admission as a refugee

Filing Fee

$950

$1,440

$1,440

$0

Concurrent Filing I-130 and I-485 Fees

Filing for a family-based green card concurrently means submitting Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, and Form I-485 simultaneously. This approach expedites the immigration process by combining these steps. Your complete green card application package includes these forms, all necessary supporting documentation, and the associated filing fees.

I-485 Filing Fee Breakdown (Single vs. Concurrent Filing)

When you consider the concurrent filing fees of forms I-485 and I-130, the math is simple:

Filing Option

Filing I-485 Only

Filing I-485 concurrently with Petition I-130

I-485 Filing Fee

$1,140

$1,140

Total USCIS Fee

$1,140

$1,760

  • Filing I-485 Only: This option applies if you are not filing Form I-130 concurrently. In this case, the total fee is $1,140, which solely covers the I-485 filing fee.
  • Filing I-485 concurrently with I-130: This option is for those who submit both Form I-130 and Form I-485 at the same time. The total fee here is $1,760, which includes the $1,140 I-485 filing fee and an additional $620 fee for filing Form I-130 concurrently.

IMPORTANT! Effective April 1, 2024, the filing fee for a standalone Form I-485 will increase from $1,140 to $1,440!

It’s crucial to start your I-485 application process promptly to navigate potential delays, expedite your path to permanent residency, and avoid extra costs. Consider getting professional guidance to ensure an error-free application!

What Documents Are Required to File Form I-485?

Several documents are required to file Form I-485, including:

  • Completed and signed Form I-485
  • Passport-style photographs
  • Proof of lawful immigration status
  • Evidence of eligibility for your specific immigrant visa category
  • Medical examination report
  • Biographic information
  • Affidavit of support (Form I-864) if required

The specific documents required will vary depending on your circumstances. However, see the USCIS document checklist regarding initial evidence and documentation for clarity!

USCIS Required Initial Evidence for Form I-485 Application (by Category)

I-485 Applicant Category

Immediate Relatives

Family Preference Immigrants

Family Preference Derivative Applicants

Employment-Based Principal Applicants

Special Immigrant Juveniles

Required Documents

* Two passport-style photographs

* Copy of government-issued I.D. with photo

* Birth certificate (or acceptable substitute)

* Proof of inspection and admission (or parole)

* Documentation of immigrant category

* Form I-864, Affidavit of Support (if required)

* Certified criminal records (if applicable)

* Form I-601 (Waiver of Inadmissibility) (if applicable)

* Form I-212, Re-application for Admission (if applicable)

* J-1/J-2 exchange visitor documentation (if applicable)

* Form I-508, Waiver of Diplomatic Rights (if applicable)

* Form I-566, Interagency Record of Request (if applicable)

* Form I-485 Supplement A (if applicable)

(In addition to Immediate Relatives documents)

* Proof of continuous lawful status since entering the U.S.

(In addition to Immediate Relatives documents)

* Proof of relationship to principal applicant (e.g., marriage certificate, birth certificate)

* Proof of continuous lawful status since entering the U.S.

* Principal applicant's Form I-797 (or green card) (if not filing together)

* Two passport-style photographs

* Copy of government-issued I.D. with photo

* Birth certificate (or acceptable substitute)

* Proof of inspection and admission (or parole)

* Documentation of immigrant category

* Proof of continuous lawful status (or exemption)

* Confirmation of job offer (if applicable)

* Signed statement for self-petitioners (if applicable)

* Form I-864, Affidavit of Support (if required)

* Certified criminal records (if applicable)

* Form I-601, Waiver of Inadmissibility (if applicable)

* Form I-212, Re-application for Admission (if applicable)

* J-1/J-2 exchange visitor documentation (if applicable)

* Form I-508, Waiver of Diplomatic Rights (if applicable)

* Form I-566, Interagency Record of Request) (if applicable)

* Form I-485 Supplement A (if applicable)

Two passport-style photographs

Copy of government-issued photo I.D. (if available)

Copy of your birth certificate

Documentation of your immigrant category

Disposition on criminal charges, arrests, or convictions (if available)

Form I-60, Waiver of Inadmissibility

Documentation regarding J-1 and J-2 exchange visitor status (if applicable)

Form I-508, Waiver of Diplomatic Rights, Privileges, Exemptions, and Immunities

Explanation

* Must meet USCIS specifications.

* Driver's license, passport, etc.

* Proof of date of birth.

* Unless applying under INA 245(i).

* Proof of eligibility for green card.

* Financial sponsor's financial ability to support you.

* All arrests and convictions, regardless of outcome.

* Waivers for specific inadmissibility reasons.

* For those previously deported or removed.

* Form I-612, if applicable.

* For applicants with diplomatic status.

* For A, G, or NATO nonimmigrant status holders.

* For status adjustment under INA 245(i).

* Must meet USCIS specifications.

* Driver's license, passport, etc.

* Proof of date of birth.

* Unless applying under INA 245(i).

* Proof of eligibility for green card.

* Unless exempt under INA 245(k).

* Form I-485 Supplement J.

* Intended work aligns with the petition.

* Financial sponsor's financial ability to support you.

* All arrests and convictions, regardless of outcome.

* Waivers for specific inadmissibility reasons.

* For those previously deported or removed.

* Form I-612, if applicable.

* For applicants with diplomatic status.

* For A, G, or NATO nonimmigrant status holders.

* For status adjustment (INA 245(i)).

Must meet USCIS specifications.

Driver's license, passport, etc.

Proof of date of birth.

Concurrently filed, pending, or approved.

See form instructions for further guidance if not available.

If applicable, for specific inadmissibility reasons.

Form I-612, if applicable.

If necessary, to applicants with diplomatic status.

USCIS Secondary Evidence Requirements for I-485 Applications

You may submit secondary evidence to support your claim if you cannot present a required document for your I-485 application. It allows USCIS to decide about your eligibility for a Green Card.

Example 1: Your Birth Certificate Is Unavailable

In this case, you can follow these steps:

  1. Obtain a statement: First, acquire a statement from your home country’s birth certificate issuing agency confirming its unavailability.
  2. Provide alternative documents: Submit official records, like baptismal records, school transcripts, or census reports, documenting your birth date, location, and parents’ names.
  3. Submit sworn statements: If these options are unavailable, gather written statements from at least two individuals with firsthand knowledge of your birth (e.g., grandparents, aunts/uncles, or close family friends). Each statement should include: 
    • Author’s full name, address, date, and place of birth.
    • Details about your birth (date, location, parents’ names).
    • Explanation of their knowledge regarding these facts.

Example 2: Your Marriage Certificate Is Unavailable

Here is what you should do:

  1. Obtain a statement from the issuing authority confirming its unavailability.
  2. Submit joint tax returns, mortgage documents, or utility bills listing spouses as joint owners.
  3. Provide affidavits from wedding attendees verifying the ceremony’s date, location, and participants.

The examples provided above are illustrative. The type of secondary evidence required and accepted by USCIS may vary depending on the missing document and the specific circumstances of your case. It’s crucial to prepare your I-485 application carefully and talk to an immigration attorney to determine the most appropriate course of action for your situation.

How to Fill Out Form I-485: Instructions and Tips

Completing the Form I-485 is a crucial step in obtaining a Green Card. See here some instructions and helpful tips to manage a successful application.

General Tips for Completing the I-485 Application

  • Use the latest I-485 form: Always download and use the most recent version of Form I-485 on the USCIS website. Outdated versions may contain inaccuracies or changes in required information.
  • Read thoroughly: Take time to carefully review the form instructions before starting your application. Understanding the purpose and expectations for each section will help you provide accurate and complete details.
  • Focus on clarity and legibility: Use black ink and ensure your writing is clear and easily readable. It minimizes errors or misinterpretation risks during processing.
  • Don’t take accuracy and completeness for granted: Answer all questions truthfully and comprehensively. Provide all relevant information even when it may seem insignificant. Omitting details could potentially delay the processing of your application.
  • Use “N/A” for inapplicable questions: If a specific question doesn’t apply to your situation, clearly indicate “N/A” (Not Applicable) to avoid confusion during the review process.
  • Hold off on signing: Don’t sign the form until you’ve completed all sections thoroughly and reviewed your information for accuracy. You will be instructed on where and when to sign the I-485 application.

Specific Instructions to File the I-485 Petition

Following the general principles and tips outlined previously, this section highlights some specific steps in filing your Form I-485 application. Each step will be carefully explained to guide you through the application process seamlessly and ensure your submission meets all USCIS requirements.

Part 1: Personal Information

  • Provide your full legal name, date of birth, and alien registration number (A-number) if you have one.
  • Include all middle names and any previous names used.

Part 2: Mailing Address and Phone Number

  • Provide your current address and phone number.
  • Include the information of a third party (friend or family member) to whom USCIS can mail if you are concerned about the privacy of your home address.

Part 3: I-485 Application Type

  • Select “Adjustment of Status” from the drop-down menu.

Part 4: Basis for Your I-485 Application

  • Select the appropriate code that reflects your eligibility for a Green Card.

Part 5: Previous Immigration Information

  • Provide details about your arrival in the United States, including your visa type, port of entry, and date of arrival.
  • List any previous applications for immigration benefits you have filed.

Part 6: Family Information

  • List your spouse and any unmarried children under 21 years old. Provide their names, dates of birth, alien registration numbers (if applicable), and current immigration status.

Part 7: Employment Information

  • List your current and past employment history for the past five years.
  • Include employer names, addresses, job titles, and dates of employment.

Part 8: Education and Training

  • List your highest level of education and any relevant training you have received.

Part 9: Military Service

  • Indicate whether you have ever served in the military of any country. If yes, provide details about your service.

Part 10: Translations

  • You must include a certified English translation if any documents submitted with your application are not in English.

Part 11: I-485 Signature

  • Once you have completed the form, sign and date it as instructed.

IMPORTANT! Before starting the Form I-485 application process, take the time to gather and organize all necessary supporting documents. This avoids delays and ensures you have everything readily available when needed. Once collected, make copies of every document submitted with your application for your records. Finally, upon successful submission, remember to retain your tracking number, the reference for checking your application status.

How to File Form I-485 with USCIS

When submitting Form I-485, remember to mail it to a specific USCIS service center. While you can submit Form I-130 electronically if you’re filing both forms concurrently, Form I-485 requires physical submission to the designated USCIS service center. You cannot file I-485 online. Read below our instructions on I-485 location filing recommendations.

How to Avoid Delays in Your I-485 Adjudication Per USCIS Recommendations

To ensure USCIS adjudicates your I-485 form correctly and on time, consider the following tips:

Submit the Required I-485 Documents Together

File your Form I-693, Report of Immigration Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, and Form I-485. This eliminates the need for USCIS to issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) for this document, potentially avoiding delays. Remember, a completed Form I-693 typically remains valid for two years after the doctor’s signature.

Complete All Required I-485 Sections

Gather and submit all necessary initial evidence and extra documentation as mentioned by USCIS in the instructions for Form I-485. You can also use the checklist provided by USCIS. Completing this step correctly reduces the likelihood of RFEs, which can delay processing.

Use the Latest Form Edition

USCIS cannot emphasize this enough, so ensure you use the current edition of Form I-485, indicated by the edition date on the form itself. Outdated versions may contain inaccuracies or missing information that could lead to delays or rejection.

Where to File Form I-485

The filing location for your Form I-485 application depends on your specific eligibility category. See the USCIS Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-485 webpage to determine the appropriate address.

Submit your application to a USCIS lockbox. You may not initially receive an A-Number (unique identification number) on your Form I-797 (Notice of Action) due to a recent change in USCIS’s internal procedures. In such cases, USCIS will send a separate notification containing your A-Number within a few days of accepting your application. Be patient and wait for the second notice before contacting USCIS about your A-Number.

Can USCIS Deny Your I-485 Form, and What Should You Do Next?

Yes, USCIS can deny your Form I-485 for various reasons, including:

  • Inadmissibility: You may be inadmissible if you have certain criminal convictions, health problems, or other grounds for inadmissibility outlined in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
  • Ineligibility: You may be disqualified from a Green Card based on the category you applied under, such as failing to meet the specific requirements.
  • Incomplete or inexact information: Your application may be denied if it contains missing information, errors, or inconsistencies.
  • Security concerns: USCIS may deny your application if they have security concerns about you.

If your Form I-485 is denied, you may have several options:

  • Request for Evidence (RFE): If USCIS needs additional information from you, they will send an RFE. Respond to the RFE promptly and provide the requested information.
  • Motion to reconsider: You can request USCIS to review your case again. This is typically done with the help of an attorney.
  • Appeal to the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO): You can appeal the decision to the AAO. This is a more complex process that requires legal expertise.

IMPORTANT! Consulting with an immigration service or experienced attorney is crucial at this point. Contact one to discuss your options and determine the best course of action if your Form I-485 was denied!

Form I-485 Frequently Asked Questions

If you still need information on the I-485, check out our answers below for more clarifications!

Can I travel outside the U.S. while my I-485 is pending?

If you have an I-485 application pending and must travel internationally, filing the I-131 Application for Travel Document is mandatory. Failing to do so could lead USCIS to believe you’ve abandoned your application, potentially resulting in its rejection. 

In some cases, you may be eligible to submit Form I-131 and Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, together alongside your initial I-485 application or subsequently. USCIS will process them as a combined application and issue you an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) with Advanced Parole if approved. This single card would allow you to work and travel internationally while reviewing your green card application.

A pending I-485 application allows you to apply for a work permit (Employment Authorization Document) to legally work in the U.S. while awaiting your green card decision. This requires filing Form I-765. You can submit it alongside your initial I-485 application or file it at any point during your I-485 processing.

Typically, work permits are processed within 12 months, allowing you to begin employment upon receipt. However, as work permits are valid for one year, you may need to renew them by submitting a new I-765 form if your green card application is still pending.

If you’re not eligible to apply for a green card despite your relative filing Form I-130, you are ineligible for a work permit.

If you filed Form I-485 based on a job offer and want to switch jobs, you might still be eligible for a green card through your new position. It is called job portability.

To request job portability, you must file Supplement J of Form I-485. This form gathers information from both you and your new employer, and it’s essential if you want your green card application to stay on track with your new job. Be sure to file Supplement J at the exact location where you filed your initial I-485 application.

Get Started with Form I-485 Today!

Are you ready to begin your journey toward permanent residency? In that case, we’re here to help you navigate the crucial steps of completing Form I-485 without mistakes or confusion! Use Immigration Direct‘s software for a seamless application and get tailored tips and instructions that match your needs and situation.

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