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Filing Form I-485 for Adjustment of Status


What Is Form I-485?  

Form I-485 is an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. This form is utilized by people in the United States to apply to USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) to adjust their status to a lawful permanent resident.  In most cases, I-485 eligibility is based on an underlying visa petition, typically an I-130, I-360, or an I-140, for example.

I-485 Documentary Evidence

Depending on the Applicant’s particular eligibility for adjustment of status, there are numerous documentary requirements. For example, Applicants must provide evidence of eligibility through an underlying petition or otherwise, a birth certificate, medical examination, affidavit of support, and more.  An application may also require items such as criminal records, police clearances, proof of good moral character, and other case-specific documents depending on their unique situation.

For a full list of required initial evidence and details is available at: https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/form/i-485instr.pdf

How Much Does It Cost to File Form I-485?

The filing fee for Form I-485 is $1,140.00. The additional biometrics (fingerprint) fee for those ages 14 to 78 is $85.00.  Filing fees increased in December 2016, and it is always a good idea to check the USCIS website to confirm the correct filing fee before filing an application.  Otherwise, submitting the incorrect filing fee will result in the application being rejected.

For those 13 or younger whose form is filed in the same envelope as a parent, the fee is $750.00.

There are filing fee waivers in certain instances.

Before sending in your adjustment of status package to USCIS, always confirm that you are using the current version of all necessary forms, that any fees you are sending are the most up-to-date required by law, and that you are sending it to the correct address by checking www.uscis.gov under FORMS.

I-485 Checklist

This blog provides a very general overview, but an important item on your I-485 checklist should always be hiring a Board Certified immigration attorney. Immigration law is incredibly complex, and retaining the services of a dedicated and skilled Board Certified immigration lawyer to prepare and file all of your paperwork is crucial to success.   This attorney should also prepare you for the interview and represent you at the interview. This will give you the best chance of success for you and any family members who may be accompanying you.

The I-485 Update: Explaining the New Form

The federal government updated the I-485 form midway through 2017. As of now, USCIS will no longer accept the earlier versions of the form. It will only take the one issued on June 26, 2017, along with Supplements A and J.

The change came about in an effort to simplify the application for green cards. USCIS heard feedback from the public and decided to streamline the application process, in an attempt to make filling out the form easier. Included in the new form are clearer instructions and more straightforward navigation to different parts of the form. The hope is that these changes will also decrease the number of errors on applications people submit, as well as cut down on USCIS’s request for evidence.

Filing the form remains an important part of staying in the United States for those who come from abroad. You may have questions about the I-485 new form, so we have compiled some answers to help clear up your concerns.

I-485 Questions: What You Need to Know

If you are still wondering, “What is I-485?”, the answer to that question has not changed. It is the application for green card applicants looking to stay permanently in the United States. USCIS will make its decision on your application after conducting a criminal background check and fingerprinting you. Unless you fill out a special request, you still cannot leave the country while your I-485 form is being processed.

What Is Different About the New I-485?

The new I-485 form contains A LOT of changes from the previous version. Some of those changes are largely based on format. The application has been redesigned to add more white space, flow better and split into columns.

The process of filing the I-485 has also been made easier by adding a section about biographic information, which used to be filed on Form G-325A. Now applicants can skip the other form.

Immigrants must choose from 27 categories they may be applying for immigration under. They also must answer a new list of questions related to eligibility and admission to the country, giving UCSIS more background information to make its decision.

New Questions on Form I-485

Among the many changes that were made to Form I-485 are additional questions immigrants must answer, complete with an updated list of instructions. Many of the new questions are intended to uncover grounds of inadmissibility under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).  Though the grounds of inadmissibility have existed for a long time, questions about such inadmissibility were commonly ignored because they were not included on the application.  It is very important to consult with a Board Certified immigration attorney so you know what the potential legal consequences may be if you file an adjustment of status application, but may be removable (deportable/inadmissible) to the United States for some reason.  Some of the new questions delve deeper into the past of the applicant, such as whether they have:

  • Committed a crime of ANY kind — even if they weren’t cited, arrested, charged or tried
  • Claimed to be a U.S. citizen
  • Worked in the United States without permission
  • Violated their visa status
  • Used another date of birth
  • And more

The new form even requires applicants to tell the government a bit more about their parents as well, including whether they have ever:

  • Used another name
  • Committed a crime
  • Given the applicant money that came from criminal activity
  • And more

Adjustment of Status Interview/Examination

It is imperative that the information on the adjustment of status application is accurate and truthful.  At the beginning of the examination, you will be placed under oath and you will swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth.  You will then be asked all of the questions on the adjustment of status application to verify the accuracy and truthfulness of the information provided.  If your answers are not accurate and/or truthful, the USCIS may allege that you committed fraud on the application.  The USCIS has announced that it will be interviewing a lot more adjustment of status applicants than it has previously waived, particularly in the employment-based categories.

How Long Is the New I-485 Form?

It is 18 pages (the previous version was only 6 page), with 42 pages of instructions.

What Is the Same About the New I-485?

The process for filing the I-485 remains the same as the old form. Paper applications still must be turned in at the same places as before. This goes for Supplement A and Supplement J as well.

Need assistance with the new I-485? Trust Shane, Shane & Brauwerman, the firm that has helped thousands of immigrants navigate this difficult path. Contact us today.

Learn more about naturalization and family based immigration.

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