What is Form I-485?
Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, is a form used by individuals in the United States to apply for lawful permanent resident status, commonly known as a “green card.” The form is filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to request a change in immigration status from a nonimmigrant (temporary) status to permanent resident status.
Form I-485 is a crucial step for individuals who are already in the U.S. and are eligible to adjust their status to become permanent residents. This includes, but is not limited to, individuals who are married to U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, certain employment-based immigrants, and refugees or asylees.
Key points about Form I-485:
- Adjustment of Status: Form I-485 is used for adjustment of status, which allows eligible individuals to transition from their current immigration status to lawful permanent resident status without needing to leave the U.S.
- Eligibility Criteria: The eligibility criteria for filing Form I-485 can vary based on the immigrant category. For example, family-based, employment-based, and humanitarian-based applicants may have different requirements.
- Filing Categories: Different categories on Form I-485 correspond to the various pathways through which individuals are seeking permanent residency. Common categories include family-sponsored, employment-based, diversity visa (DV) lottery winners, and more.
- Biometric Services Appointment: After submitting Form I-485, applicants generally receive a notice for a biometric services appointment. During this appointment, USCIS collects fingerprints, photographs, and other biometric information for identity verification.
- Interview Requirement: In many cases, USCIS conducts an in-person interview as part of the green card application process. Both the applicant and, if applicable, their spouse may need to attend the interview.
- Required Documentation: Form I-485 requires applicants to provide extensive documentation, including supporting evidence, identity documents, medical examination results, and more.
- Application Fee: There is a filing fee associated with Form I-485. The fee can vary based on the age of the applicant and the category under which they are applying.
- Work and Travel Authorization: In some cases, applicants filing Form I-485 may also apply for a work permit (Form I-765) and a travel document (Form I-131) while their green card application is pending.
- Conditional Permanent Residence: In certain cases, such as marriage-based applications filed within the first two years of marriage, conditional permanent residency may be granted initially.
It’s important to note that Form I-485 is just one part of the process for obtaining a green card, and the eligibility criteria and requirements can vary based on individual circumstances and immigration categories. As immigration policies can change, it’s recommended to consult the official USCIS website or seek advice from an immigration attorney to ensure you have the most accurate and up-to-date information for your specific situation.
What is Form I-485 processing time?
The processing time for Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, can vary widely depending on several factors, including the USCIS office handling your application, the type of immigration category you are applying under, the volume of applications being processed, and any additional factors that might require further review.
USCIS does provide estimated processing times for Form I-485 on their website. However, these times are subject to change and can be impacted by various factors. The estimated processing times are usually given in a range of months and can vary significantly among different USCIS service centers and field offices.
Here are a few points to consider regarding Form I-485 processing times:
- USCIS Website: Visit the USCIS website’s “Check Case Processing Times” page to find estimated processing times for Form I-485 for your specific service center or field office. Keep in mind that these times are not set in stone and can change over time.
- Case Status: You can check the status of your Form I-485 application online using your case receipt number. This will give you updates on the progress of your case and any further action needed.
- Priority Dates: Some categories of applicants are subject to priority dates, which can impact the processing time. Priority dates are determined by the date USCIS received the Form I-130 petition (for family-sponsored applicants) or the date the labor certification was filed (for employment-based applicants).
- RFEs and Additional Evidence: If USCIS requires additional information or documentation, they will issue a Request for Evidence (RFE). The processing time can be extended if you need time to respond to the RFE.
- Interviews: Many applicants are required to attend an in-person interview as part of the application process. The scheduling of interviews can also impact the overall processing time.
- Delays and Backlogs: Sometimes, processing times can be delayed due to high application volumes, administrative backlogs, security clearances, or other factors.
- Premium Processing: While Form I-485 processing does not have an official “premium processing” option like some other USCIS forms, certain employment-based applicants may be able to use premium processing for Form I-140 petitions, which can indirectly impact the overall timeline.
It’s important to remain patient during the application process, as processing times can vary and there may be limited opportunities for expediting the process. If you believe that your Form I-485 application has been pending for an unusually long time or if you encounter any issues, you can consider contacting USCIS or seeking advice from an immigration attorney for assistance.
Form I-485 filing fee
The filing fees for Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, can vary based on the age of the applicant and the category under which they are applying. It’s important to note that USCIS filing fees are subject to change, so I recommend checking the official USCIS website for the most up-to-date fee information before submitting your application. Here are the general filing fee categories for Form I-485:
- Applicants 14 to 78 Years Old:
- Form I-485 filing fee: $1,140
- Biometric services fee (for fingerprinting and background check): $85
- Applicants Under 14 Years Old (filing with at least one parent):
- Form I-485 filing fee: $750
- Biometric services fee: $85 (only for applicants between 14 and 78 years old)
- Applicants 79 Years Old or Older:
- Form I-485 filing fee: $1,140
- Biometric services fee: $0 (no fee for biometric services)
USCIS accepts payment in the form of a check or money order payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security,” or you can pay by credit card if filing online or at a USCIS field office that accepts credit card payments.
Keep in mind that the Form I-485 filing fee covers the application for adjustment of status, and the biometric services fee covers the cost of fingerprinting and background checks. If you have specific questions about your eligibility, fees, or any other aspect of the Form I-485 application process, consider seeking advice from an immigration attorney or consultant, as immigration policies and fees can change over time.