Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485): Instructions for Filing (2023)

Home | Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485): Instructions for Filing

What Is Form I-485?

Form I-485, formally known as ‘Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status,’ is a USCIS form used by immigrants who entered the US on a temporary non-immigrant visa and who wish to obtain permanent resident status.

Form I-485, along with other immigration forms like Form I-130- Petition for Alien Relative, kick-starts the process for adjustment of status from non-immigrant to green card holder. There are strict filing instructions and procedures to follow when making this application, and any mistake puts the application at risk of being denied.

Therefore, before you begin your adjustment of status application, it is important to learn how to complete and file form I-485 correctly. This knowledge, along with the help of a competent immigration attorney, could help you avoid errors in your application and significantly increase your chances of becoming a lawful permanent resident.

What Can You Do With Form I-485?

Form I-485 is an integral part of the process of obtaining a green card for immigrants who are already in the United States.

It can help you convert to the status of a Lawful Permanent Resident from;

  • Non-immigrant status with a job offer
  • Asylee status
  • Refugee status
  • Immigrant (immediate or preference) relative of a US citizen.

Immigrant women in the US who are victims of abuse by a US citizen parent or spouse can also use Form I-485 in their application for a green card under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

Eligibility Requirements to File Form I-485

To file Form I-485, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • You must have entered the US legally and maintained legal status. This is not necessarily affected by an expired non-immigrant visa. Legal entrance means you were inspected by immigration officials and admitted or paroled into the US.
  • When petitioning, you should be physically present in the US.
  • There should be an immigrant visa available for you at the time of filing.
  • You must be admissible into the United States or entitled to a waiver of inadmissibility.
  • You should be eligible for a US immigrant visa.

Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485): Instructions for Filing (2)

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Filing Instructions for Form I-485

Before you file Form I-485 to adjust your immigration status, you need to first determine your eligibility for a green card. You can find theeligibility categorieson the USCIS website.

You would then need to file an immigrant petition depending on your green card category. For instance, if you intend to apply for a family-based green card, your sponsor needs to file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on your behalf. For a work-based green card, your employer needs to file Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker, on your behalf.

Once the immigration petition is approved, you can proceed to file Form I-485. Although in some instances, you may be allowed to file it at the same time as the immigration petition. An immigration attorney can help you determine if this concession applies to you.

Completing Form I-485: Information You’ll Need

Form I-485 is lengthy and is divided into fourteen parts. For your application to be successful, you’ll need to completely fill out the form by providing the information required in each section. Anything less is an express route to a denial.

To guide you, here’s a list of some of the information you require to complete the form. Do well to have those details handy before you start.

Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485): Instructions for Filing (3)

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The details you’ll need to fill out include the following:

  • Your current legal name (nicknames or pseudonyms are not allowed). If you’ve changed your name at any point, you’ll need to provide details of the previous name as well.
  • Your Alien Registration Number
  • Your date of birth and mailing address
  • Your recent immigration history and details of your travel passport
  • A history of everywhere you’ve lived in the last five years with dates, both in and outside the US.
  • Your employment history for the last five years, both in and outside the US, with dates
  • Information about your parents, including their full legal names, addresses, and date of birth
  • Information about your marital history, including prior marriages. Even if you’re separated, you still need to include those details
  • Information about each of your children, including their date and country of birth
  • Your biographical details, such as information about your ethnicity, race, height, weight, feet size, eye, and hair color
  • Information about your filing category and the type of immigration you’re applying for, whether family-based, employment-based, or asylum
  • Information about your criminal history and previous immigration violations (if any)
  • If you used an interpreter to understand the form’s contents, you’d need to include the interpreter’s contact information.

After completing theform, you’ll need to pay a filing fee of $1,140 and a biometric services fee of $85.

Supporting Documents for I-485 Form

Before you submit your form, remember to attach all the supporting documents required as evidence by the USCIS, including:

  • Birth certificate
  • Government-issued ID
  • Passport photographs
  • Proof of your marriage (if the principal applicant is the spouse of a citizen or green card holder)
  • Proof and information about your employment (required for employment-based green cards)
  • Documents certifying that you entered the United States legally
  • Proof that you have maintained a lawful status since you arrived in the US
  • Documents showing your relationship with the petitioner if you are a family-based visa applicant.

If you fail to provide the required documents, your application could be delayed as the USCIS may need to request additional information from you and wait for your response before your application can be processed.

What Happens After Filing Form I-485?

Biometrics Appointment

You will receive a notification of receipt after the USCIS gets your form. They might request additional evidence or notify you that your form is incomplete if you did not fill it out appropriately. A few weeks later, you will get notice of your biometric appointment at an Application Support Center. You will provide your fingerprint, photograph, and signature, which they will use to run background checks on you. Be sure to go with your valid ID card and notice of appointment.


A few months later, the USCIS may schedule you for an appointment to clarify a few things on your Form I-485. You are expected to attend this appointment with all the original copies of the documents you submitted with the form, even if they are past their expiration date. You may also be requested to come with your petitioning relative, passport, and other travel documents.

Lawful Permanent Residence

A while after the interview, the USCIS will mail a notice of their decision. If your application is successful, your green card will be mailed to you. Otherwise, you will receive a notice explaining why your application was denied and if you can appeal the decision.

Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485): Instructions for Filing (4)

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How a Lawyer Can Help With Form I-485

Form I-485 is a crucial document, albeit lengthy and complicated to complete. An immigration attorney can complete and file the form on your behalf. When you hire an attorney, you can rest easy knowing that you’ve taken positive steps to avoid any mistakes with your application and anI-485 denial.

So if you need help with your Form I-485, or you have any questions concerning your application to adjust your immigration status, contactAndrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law.We are a firm of experienced immigration attorneys, and we are here to help you resolve your immigration issues regardless of your location in the US.

Contact usto schedule a free consultation. We look forward to providing all the legal assistance you might need in your American immigration journey.

Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485): Instructions for Filing (5)

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Is adjustment of status same as I-485? ›

Form I-485 is officially called the “Adjustment of Status Application” and is the official green card application. Certain immigrants who are in the United States, including special immigrants like asylees, can submit an adjustment of status application to change their immigration status to a green card.

How long does it take to approve I-485? ›

After filing Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status, and related forms, your I-485 processing time can take anywhere from 8 to 14 months. The basis of your adjustment of status (e.g. family, employment, asylum, etc.) will be a significant factor.

What happens when I-485 is approved? ›

Upon approval, the applicant is mailed a Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card. The date the Form I-485 is approved becomes the date of adjustment, which in turn determines how soon the newly adjusted Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) may apply for U.S. citizenship. Permanent Resident Cards are valid for ten years.

What is the difference between I 130 and I-485? ›

What is the difference between Form I-485 and Form I-130? If you are helping a relative apply for a green card, Form I-485 (“Application for Adjustment of Status”) is the second step in the family-based green card process after submitting Form I-130 (“Petition for Alien Relative”).

How long does it take for I-485 to be approved 2022? ›

The Form I-485 processing time ends when you receive your permanent residence. This usually takes 8 to 14 months after filing. If your application is approved, USCIS will mail your green card to you shortly after your adjustment of status interview.

Is USCIS approving I-485 without interview? ›

It is highly unusual for USCIS or the US State Department to grant lawful permanent residency (a green card) without conducting a personal interview of the applicant. However, it does occasionally happen. To properly explain this, we must first clear up a common misconception.

How can I speed up my I-485? ›

You can generally request expedited processing by calling the USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833) or by asking Emma after you have obtained a receipt notice. (You can access Emma by clicking on the Ask Emma icon on the top right of this page).

Does I-485 require interview? ›

All adjustment of status applicants must be interviewed by an officer unless the interview is waived by USCIS. The decision to waive the interview should be made on a case-by-case basis. The interview enables USCIS to verify important information about the applicant to determine eligibility for adjustment.

Can I travel after I-485 is approved? ›

If the I-485 is approved while the applicant is outside the U.S., the first hurdle to overcome is usually presenting a valid document to the airline in order to board a U.S.-bound flight. This process normally is the same as it would have been if the I-485 were still pending.

What evidence must you submit with Form I 485? ›

A copy of the Form I-797, Approval or Receipt Notice, for the principal applicant's Form I 485 or a copy of the principal applicant's Green Card (if not filing together with the principal applicant's Form I-485).

How long does adjustment of status take 2022? ›

The entire adjustment process may take 8 to 14 months for most applicants. The most important thing you can do to ensure the best processing times is to submit a complete and thorough application package. You may not need a lawyer, but you need CitizenPath to help you get the best processing time on USCIS forms.

Does I 485 get rejected? ›

Most adjustment of status cases require that the foreign national maintain lawful immigration status until the date that the I-485, Application to Adjust Status is filed. If a foreign national has failed to maintain lawful immigration status, his/her application will be denied at the adjustment of status interview.

How long the I-485 green card is valid? ›

If you are eligible, file Form I-485 - Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status with USCIS, including all supporting documents and fees. USCIS will review your application and schedule an interview with you. Once issued, your Green Card will be valid for 10 years.

What are the benefits of filing I-485? ›

While the I-485 application is pending, an alien can enjoy several benefits such as entering the U.S. under Advance Parole (AP) and permission to work in the U.S. using Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

How much is the I-485 fee? ›

If You Are…Form FeeTotal
Under 14 and not filing with the Form I-485 application of at least one parent$1,140$1,140
Age 14–78$1,140$1,225
Age 79 or older$1,140$1,140
Filing Form I-485 based on having been admitted to the United States as a refugee$0$0
1 more row
7 days ago

How long does it take to schedule an interview for I 485? ›

The Interview

The appointment notice will come in the mail within 6 months or sooner after filing. USCIS will give the applicants a few weeks notice to get everything together before the big day.

Can I stay in the US while waiting for I 485? ›

If you have filed Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status, you generally are not confined by the restrictions on your non-immigrant visa. You have the right to remain in the United States while the application is pending.

Are I 485 interviews being waived in 2022? ›

In December, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) announced that in accordance with the Department of Homeland Security (DOH), the agency would be temporarily waiving in-person interview requirements for some non-immigrant visas through the end of 2022.

Who attends I 485 interview? ›

USCIS requires both the applicant and petitioner to attend the adjustment of status interview in some cases. This is most common in cases when the petitioner is a spouse but is possible for other categories as well. USCIS does not require employers to attend interviews for employment-based I-485 applications.

Can I travel while I 485 is pending? ›

If your current status is H1B or H-4

Adjustment applicants who are in valid H-1B status, and their dependents, can travel abroad and reenter the United States in H status while an I-485 is pending, without having to obtain advance parole.

Is it hard to get 485 visa? ›

Although, this may be the best option for international students, it is often hard for students to apply for, due to the complex and multifaceted nature of the visa application process. There are six common pitfalls that students make when applying for the Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa.

Can a lawyer speed up the green card process? ›

The immigration process can be intimidating and take a long time, but hiring an immigration attorney to support you with your case can speed up the process and help you meet your goals.

Do I need a lawyer for i 485? ›

Options for Preparing Form I-485

For individuals with complex situations, criminal offenses, or serious immigration violations, using an lawyer is the best option. But most people with straight-forward situations don't need a lawyer.

What should you not say in an immigration interview? ›

DON'T joke around with the USCIS officer. In particular, avoid joking or sarcasm related to drug dealing, communicable diseases, bigamy, or smuggling people into the country. DON'T argue with your spouse or other family members in the middle of an interview.

Can you fail a green card interview? ›

If you do not pass the green card interview, USCIS may investigate your case further. Additionally, USCIS may provide you with the opportunity to submit additional evidence. They may otherwise issue a Notice of Intent to Deny your Green Card application.

Can I leave us while waiting for green card? ›

If you leave the United States while your green card application is pending and you don't have a travel document, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will consider your green card application abandoned and will deny it.

Who is not eligible for adjustment of status? ›

An applicant may not be eligible to apply for adjustment of status if one or more bars to adjustment applies. The bars to adjustment of status may apply to applicants who either entered the United States in a particular status or manner, or committed a particular act or violation of immigration law.

Can I stay in the US while waiting for green card? ›

Any immigrant who entered the U.S. on some sort of temporary visa and then submitted a green card application (for U.S. lawful permanent or conditional residence) is allowed to remain in the United States while the application is "pending." In other words, they can wait until their application has been decided upon by ...

Can I travel while waiting for adjustment of status? ›

Can you travel during this period? Generally speaking, adjustment applications will need to obtain an advance parole document in order to travel outside the U.S. while their Form I-485 (the application for a Green Card, or adjustment of status) is pending.

Who pays for adjustment of status? ›

Typically the U.S. relative pays the fee for the petition. But your relative may expect you to pay for it. USCIS has a reduced fee for a child (under 14) if the application is filed with the I-485 of at least one parent.

How fast does USCIS process 2022? ›

There is a net trend from FY 2017 until FY 2021 of increasing processing times, with an average increase of 1-2 months until FY 2022, where processing times average 9.8 months.

Does USCIS check IRS records? ›

As part of the evidence, the USCIS will review your tax returns to confirm that they were filed jointly. Similarly, if you are filing a petition to convert your two-year residence to a 10 year residence, you must again establish the bona fides of your marriage.

How do you know if 485 is approved? ›

If you want a case status update about your application, you can:
  • Go to our Case Status Online page and use your Form I-485 receipt number to look up your case status.
  • Submit a case inquiry if you think your application is outside of our normal processing times.
  • Call our USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283.
31 Jan 2020

What disqualifies you from getting a green card? ›

Three types of convictions will make you inadmissible, meaning you can't get a green card: Conviction of an aggravated felony. Conviction of Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude. Conviction of a Controlled Substance Violation.

Can I file 485 by myself? ›

You file the I-485 form by yourself, no matter what grounds you file for, even if it applies to an employment-based green card. Still, as you could see through this article, the form is complex, and some might find it confusing. If not appropriately filed, an applicant can risk rejection or delay.

Can you file for adjustment of status without a lawyer? ›

You should work with an attorney throughout the adjustment of status or consular processing. Both of these processes can be complex and require knowledge of U.S. immigration laws.

What is adjustment of status I 485? ›

Adjustment of status is the process that you can use to apply for lawful permanent resident status (also known as applying for a Green Card) when you are present in the United States. This means that you may get a Green Card without having to return to your home country to complete visa processing.

Is adjustment of status same as green card? ›

What Is the Purpose of the Adjustment of Status? A green card allows you to work and live in the United States as a permanent resident. Adjustment of Status gives applicants the opportunity to obtain a green card by using the eligible visa they already have and without the need to go back to your home country.

Is adjustment of status and change of status the same? ›

It is essential because many people mistakenly believe their meaning to be the same while they are not. In simple words, Adjustment of Status (AOS) aims towards adjusting your status as a lawful permanent resident, while the change of status is changing your nonimmigrant status to another nonimmigrant status.

Can I stay in the US while adjustment of status? ›

What is Adjustment of Status? The process for applying for a green card from within the United States is called Adjustment of Status (AOS). When you use AOS, you'll be able to stay in the United States while your application is processed, even if your visa expires before your green card is approved.

What documents do I need to submit with I-485? ›

Checklist for Principal Applicants
  • Two passport-style photographs;
  • A copy of a government-issued identity document with photograph;
  • A copy of your birth certificate. ...
  • Inspection and admission, or inspection and parole documentation (unless applying for adjustment under INA 245(i)).
27 Oct 2022

How long does it take to get a green card through adjustment of status? ›

The longest processing time for a green card is often the wait for a priority date to become current. Once this is over, the adjustment of status processing time will usually take between 6 months and 12 months from the day you file your I-485 to the day you receive your approval (or denial) notice.

Is there an interview for adjustment of status? ›

All adjustment of status applicants must be interviewed by an officer unless the interview is waived by USCIS. The decision to waive the interview should be made on a case-by-case basis. The interview enables USCIS to verify important information about the applicant to determine eligibility for adjustment.

Who qualifies to adjust status? ›

Generally, to be eligible to file for adjustment of status within the United States, a foreign national must have an immigrant petition filed on their behalf either by a US citizen (USC) or Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) qualifying relative (USCIS Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative) or employer (USCIS Form I-140 ...

What happens if you don't file adjustment of status? ›

If you don't file your AOS before the medical expires you will need to have another medical exam. If you arrived on a K-1 visa you will not be able to get back into the U.S. should you leave the country for some reason until you have either your green card or the Advance Parole document.

What happens after you apply for adjustment of status? ›

If they approve your application, you'll get your physical green card document in the mail shortly after. For people who adjusted their status from a fiancé visa to a marriage green card, you may receive a conditional green card that you'll have to renew when it expires in two years.

How much is the fee for Form I 485? ›

If You Are…Form FeeBiometric Services Fee
Under 14 and not filing with the Form I-485 application of at least one parent$1,140$0
Age 14–78$1,140$85
Age 79 or older$1,140$0
Filing Form I-485 based on having been admitted to the United States as a refugee$0$0
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23 Nov 2022

Can I leave U.S. while waiting for permanent resident card? ›

If you need to leave the country while waiting on your green card, you can request a travel document from the USCIS. They may opt to issue you an Emergency Advance Parole document, which lets you leave the country and return without a visa.

Can you stay in U.S. after filing I-485? ›

If you have filed Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status, you generally are not confined by the restrictions on your non-immigrant visa. You have the right to remain in the United States while the application is pending. As an F-1 student, you could potentially drop out of school.

How long can I leave U.S. while waiting for green card? ›

You can't leave the country until you have your approved travel document in hand, so you should expect to spend the 3–5 months after submitting your green card application in the United States. Theoretically, you could be out of the United States for as long as you have a travel document (one year plus renewals).


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