From Temporary to Permanent: The Importance of Form I-485 in your Immigration Journey

How to apply for Adjustment of Status?

Applying for Adjustment of Status (AOS) in the United States is a process that allows certain foreign nationals to transition from a temporary visa status to permanent residency, commonly known as obtaining a Green Card. The process is primarily applicable to individuals who are already in the U.S. on a qualifying nonimmigrant visa, such as a fiancé visa (K-1), student visa (F-1), or work visa (H-1B), and meet the eligibility requirements for AOS. Here’s a general overview of how to apply for Adjustment of Status:

  • Determine Eligibility: Before applying for AOS, ensure you meet the eligibility criteria. Eligibility factors may include maintaining valid status, having a qualifying relationship with a U.S. citizen or Green Card holder (family-based), or being sponsored by a U.S. employer (employment-based). Check the official USCIS website or consult an immigration attorney to confirm your eligibility.
  • Choose the Correct Form: The main form used for AOS is Form I-485, “Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.” Depending on your eligibility category, there may be additional forms required. Visit the USCIS website to download the most current versions of the forms.
  • Gather Supporting Documents: Prepare the necessary documents to support your AOS application. These documents may include:
  • Passport-style photos
  • Copy of your I-94 Arrival/Departure Record
  • Copy of your current visa
  • Copy of the visa petition approval notice (if applicable)
  • Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) from the sponsor, if required
  • Evidence of the qualifying relationship (marriage certificate, birth certificates, etc., if family-based)
  • Evidence of continuous presence in the U.S. (school records, pay stubs, etc.)
  • Medical examination results (Form I-693) performed by an authorized civil surgeon
  • Any required waivers or other supporting documentation
  • Pay Fees: AOS applications generally require payment of filing fees. Refer to the USCIS website for the most up-to-date fee information. Fees may vary depending on your eligibility category and the forms you need to submit.
  • Complete and Submit Forms: Fill out the required forms accurately and completely. Ensure that all required signatures are provided. Double-check your information before submitting.
  • Mail Application Package: Compile your application package, including all forms, supporting documents, and filing fees. Mail the package to the appropriate USCIS lockbox address provided in the form instructions.
  • Receive Receipt Notice: USCIS will send you a receipt notice indicating they have received your AOS application. The notice will also include a receipt number that you can use to track your case’s status online.
  • Attend Biometrics Appointment: After submitting your application, you will receive an appointment notice for biometrics (fingerprinting and photographing). Attend the appointment at the designated Application Support Center (ASC).
  • Attend Interview (if required): USCIS may require an interview as part of the AOS process. If so, you will receive an interview notice detailing the date, time, and location of the interview. Prepare by reviewing your application and gathering any additional evidence that might be requested.
  • Receive Decision: After the interview, USCIS will review your application and supporting documents. If approved, you will receive your Green Card in the mail. If additional information is needed or if your application is denied, USCIS will notify you of their decision and the reasons.

It’s important to note that the AOS process can be complex and vary based on individual circumstances. Consult the USCIS website or seek legal advice if you have questions or concerns about your specific situation.

Form I-485 checklist of required documents

While the specific documents required for Form I-485, “Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status,” can vary based on individual circumstances and eligibility categories, here’s a general checklist of commonly required documents that applicants may need to include with their I-485 application package. Make sure to refer to the USCIS website and the specific instructions provided with the form for the most accurate and up-to-date information:

  • Form I-485: Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status:
  • Complete and signed by the applicant.
  • Passport-Style Photos:
  • Recent passport-sized photos of the applicant as per USCIS specifications.
  • Copy of I-94 Arrival/Departure Record:
  • A copy of the most recent I-94 record (arrival and departure record) to demonstrate your lawful entry to the U.S.
  • Copy of Current Visa:
  • A copy of your current nonimmigrant visa.
  • Copy of Visa Petition Approval Notice (if applicable):
  • If you’re adjusting status based on a family or employment visa petition, include a copy of the approval notice (Form I-797) from USCIS.
  • Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) (if applicable):
  • If you have a sponsor, include the appropriate Affidavit of Support form along with supporting documents.
  • Evidence of Qualifying Relationship (if family-based):
  • Marriage certificate (if spouse is sponsoring you)
  • Birth certificates (if parent or child is sponsoring you)
  • Other evidence proving the qualifying family relationship
  • Evidence of Continuous Presence in the U.S.:
  • Documentation showing your physical presence in the U.S., such as school records, pay stubs, rent/mortgage receipts, utility bills, etc.
  • Medical Examination Results (Form I-693):
  • A completed and signed Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, provided by an authorized civil surgeon.
  • Form I-765 (Optional):
  • If you want to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) while your I-485 is pending, include Form I-765.
  • Form I-131 (Optional):
  • If you want to apply for a Travel Document (advance parole) to travel internationally while your I-485 is pending, include Form I-131.
  • Form G-325A (Biographic Information) (if applicable):
  • Include biographical information about the applicant and spouse (if applicable).
  • Filing Fees:
  • Include the appropriate filing fees as specified by the USCIS fee schedule.
  • Payment Method:
  • Check or money order payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security” or a credit card authorization form (if applicable).
  • Form G-1145 (Optional):
  • A completed G-1145 form if you want to receive electronic notifications about your case.
  • Additional Supporting Documents:
  • Depending on your eligibility category, you might need to provide additional documents to support your application. These could include tax returns, employment verification letters, criminal records (if applicable), and more.

Remember that this is a general checklist, and the specific documents required can vary based on your individual circumstances and the eligibility category you are applying under. Always refer to the USCIS website and the instructions provided with the Form I-485 for the most accurate and up-to-date information. If you’re unsure about any aspect of your application, consider seeking advice from an immigration attorney or legal expert.

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