作者: 新未名律师事务所 蔡律师
1. Why do I need to file I-485
I-485 is “adjustment of status” and is the final step for your green card application. After your I-140 (or I-130, etc.) is approved you are eligible for green card, but still need the I-485 step to adjust your status to U.S. permanent resident.
2. Can I file I-485 while outside of the U.S.?
No. You have to be in the U.S. to apply I-485. If you are outside of the U.S. you can choose to apply Consular Processing (CP), which usually takes longer time than I-485; or you can come to the U.S. with visa first and then apply I-485.
3. Can my family members apply I-485 together with me?
Yes. Your spouse and children under 21 years of age can file I-485 together with you.
4. Can I apply EAD and Advance Parole together with I-485?
Yes. You can file I-765 (for EAD) and I-131 (for Advance Parole) together with I-485. With EAD you can work for any employer. With Advance Parole you can travel abroad without visa. You don’t have to apply I-765/I-131 together with I-485, but when filed with I-485 the USCIS charges no additional fee for the I-765/I-131 applications; if filed later you will need to pay separate fees for I-765/I-131.
5. Can I apply I-485 concurrently with I-140 or when I-140 is pending (before I-140 approval)?
It depends. If your I-140 is in EB-1 category, or if your I-140 is in EB-2 (including NIW) category AND you or your spouse were born outside of mainland China and India, you can apply I-485 together with I-140 or at any time after I-140 is filed (however, if you file I-485 before I-140 approval, and if the I-140 is later denied by USCIS, the I-485 will also be invalid, and the USCIS will not return application fee).
Otherwise you need to wait for visa numbers to become available, see Visa Bulletin
6. Can I apply I-485 while I am in J-1 status?
Yes. You need to have the J-1 waiver, but you do not have to change to other status (such as H-1B) before applying I-485.
7. Can I apply I-485 while I am in F-1 status?
8. Can I apply I-485 while I am in B-1/B-2 status?
9. After I file I-485, can I stay legally in the U.S. without any other visa status?
Yes. You will be in AOS (Adjustment of Status) status. If you also have other valid visa status (such as H-1B, F-1, J-1, B-2), you will have dual status.
10. I have been out of status for some time. Can I still apply I-485?
It depends. For employment-based application (EB-1, EB-2, EB-3), it is generally OK if you were outside status for less than 180 days. For immediate relative of U.S. citizen, it is OK as long as you entered the U.S. legally.
11. I got married right before I-485 submission (or after I-485 submission), can my spouse file I-485?
Yes. As long as you get married before I-485 APPROVAL, your spouse can file I-485 either together with you or afterwards, even after you receive your green card. If your spouse/children is outside of the U.S., they can either come to the U.S. first and then file I-485, or apply through Consular Processing abroad.
12. Can I file I-485 and then leave the U.S.?
Yes. If you hold H-1B visa, you can leave the U.S. at any time and then come back (may need to apply new visa if your current visa has expired). If you hold F-1, J-1, or B-1/B-2 status, you need to wait until the Advance Parole (I-131) is approved. Otherwise your I-485 application will be considered abandoned.
13. After I file I-485, can I still obtain U.S. visa abroad?
It depends. You may apply new H-1B visa abroad. Applying new F-1, J-1, or B-1/B-2 visa may have problem.
14. What kind of documents do I need for I-485 submission?
Typically your I-140 (or I-130) receipt (or approval notice, or filing concurrently if applicable), copy of your passport, visa, I-94, I-20 or DS-2019, copy of your birth certificate, copy of your marriage certificate (if applying as spouse), passport-style photos, medical exam results, etc.
15. What if I don’t have a birth certificate/marriage certificate in English?
You may get one from your home country, with the help of your friend/relative, who can scan and email a copy to you. Or you can have your document translated by a certified translation company.
16. How do I schedule the medical exam?
You can file a USCIS certified physician at https://egov.uscis.gov/crisgwi/go?action=offices.type&OfficeLocator.office_type=CIV . Call the physician’s office and schedule an appointment. You may need to visit the physician’s office twice – the first time to fill form and get immunization shots, the second time to have TB test result checked and pick up the medical exam result in a sealed envelope.
17. What is my A Number for I-485/I-765/I-131/G-325A form?
If you are the main applicant, you can find A# on your I-140 (or I-130) approval notice (or receipt). If you file I-485 concurrently with I-140, you do not have an A# yet. If you file as derivative applicant (spouse/children of main applicant) you do not need to enter an A#. You may have other A# in the past (for example, on your OPT EAD card), which you do NOT need to enter to I-485 and related forms.
18. Who needs to fill the G-325A form?
Every applicant of I-485 between the age of 14 and 79 needs to provide biographic information.
19. How much is the I-485 fee?
$1,070 per person for adults; $635 for children under 14; you can use personal check (or Cashier’s check, or money order) payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
20. How do I sign the I-485 form for my child?
You can sign your child’s name and write “signed by XX, parent of XX”.
21. What if there’s not enough space for me to write my information, such as my addresses in the past 5 years?
You can write “see separate page” and enter information to a separate page.
22. Do I need to fill all pages of the I-131 form?
No. If you are applying Advance Parole together with I-485, you can skip from the bottom of page 2 (the end of part 2) to part 7 in page 4.
23. How do I enter the “Date of Intended Departure” and “Expected Length of Trip”?
Use your best estimate. This is not binding.
24. Can I work for other employers using my EAD? Will this affect my I-485?
Yes you can work for other employers using your EAD and this generally should not affect your I-485.
25. What if I am unemployed? Will this affect my I-485?
This usually should not affect your I-485. If you are in the EB-1A/NIW category and unemployed at time of I-485 submission, you may consider submitting a Research Plan together with I-485 to show you plan to continue work in your field of expertise.
26. I am the main applicant for I-485 and have my employment verification letter. Does my spouse (who is the derivative applicant) need to submit his/her employment letter?
27. We are recently married. What documents can we use to demonstrate marriage relationship?
Photos showing both of you together, common assets, joint home ownership/lease, joint insurance policy, etc.
28. I was a member of a political organization, how do I deal with this issue?
You need to mention this in Part 3 of your I-485 form, and consider attach a separate statement for explanation.
29. What happens after I submit the I-485 form?
After about 2 weeks you will receive I-485 receipt in mail, and I-765, I-131 receipts if you also filed those applications. Then, after 1-3 weeks you should receive fingerprinting notice, for fingerprinting appointment arranged 2-3 weeks after that.
If you filed I-765 (for EAD) and I-131 (for Advance Parole), you may receive the EAD/AP combo card 2-3 months after submission of the application.
You may receive I-485 approval notice and your green card in mail 3 to 5 months after submission of your I-485 application.
30. Can I “walk-in” to get my fingerprinting done earlier?
You may try that. Sometimes the USCIS facility will allow you to get fingerprinting done earlier than scheduled time.
31. I have moved after I-485 submission. Can I have fingerprinting done near my new address, instead of the address specified on the fingerprinting notice?
32. My spouse and I live in different states that belong to different USCIS service centers. Where should we mail our I-485 applications?
Both of you can mail applications to the same service center (lockbox) based on the address of the main applicant, see http://www.uscis.gov/i-485-addresses
33. I submitted my I-140 form to one of USCIS service centers. Now I have moved to a state that belongs to another USCIS service center. Where should I submit my I-485?
You should submit to the service center (lockbox) based on your address when you submit I-485, see http://www.uscis.gov/i-485-addresses
34. I have been arrested in the past, how do I deal with this issue?
You need to mention this in Part 3 of your I-485 form, and consider attach a separate statement for explanation.
35. I will move soon after I-485 submission, what should I do?
When you file I-485 you should use your current address. After you move you can call the USCIS at 1-800-375-5283, to update your address. You also need to fill/submit the AR-11 form online.
36. Will I be required to attend an interview before my I-485 approval?
For employment-based applications, usually not. Occasionally, and for most family-based applications, the USCIS will schedule an interview at your local USCIS office.
37. Do I need to submit original copy of documents?
No. You can use photocopies. Except the original signed forms, medical exam result (in sealed envelope), photos, and check for payment, all the other files can be photocopies.
38. I have multiple I-20 forms (or DS-2019 forms), do I need to submit all of them?
Yes. You should submit copies of all your I-20 (or DS-2019) forms.
39. Is there “premium processing” for I-485?
40. My I-485 has been pending longer than normal processing time. What can I do?
You can contact the USCIS for “service request” or “infopass”. You can also ask for help from local congressman’s office.
41. I need to get EAD soon in order to work; or I need to receive Advance Parole documents soon for international travel; what should I do?
You may contact the USCIS, state the valid reason (such as avoid severe financial loss, family/medical emergency, etc.), and ask for expedited processing.
42. My I-485 has been pending for a long time and my EAD/AP will expire soon, what should I do?
You can renew your EAD/AP, and the USCIS will not charge a fee.
43. I have EB-2 (including NIW) I-140 application pending (or approved), and I recently got married to someone who was born outside of mainland China/India, can we submit I-485 now?
Yes. Both of you can file I-485 under cross-chargeability.
44. My fiance entered the U.S. recently using B visa (or F visa), after we get married, can she file I-485 together with me (or after my I-485)?
45. What document do I need to show for the termination of past marriage relationship?
Certified English translation of court/governmental ruling/certificate.
46. Do I need to submit copy of past tax return record, W-2 form, and recent paystubs?
These are not required but preferred (for the main applicant). You do not need to submit the schedules (only the 2 pages of 1040 form), and do not need to submit state tax return forms.
47. My medical exam shows positive result for TB skin test. What can I do?
You can get an X-ray to clarify whether you have active TB.
48. I have received immunization shots in the past, can I use that record for medical exam? Can my insurance pay the medical exam?
You need to discuss with the USCIS certified physician.
49. I am pregnant and may not be able to take some immunization shots required. What should I do?
Consult the USCIS certified physician, who may fill the I-693 form and explain the reason to USCIS. You may need to receive the immunization shots later after childbirth.
50. I have received my green card and now I need to stay out of the U.S. for one year or longer, what should I do?
You can apply Reentry Permit, which allows you to stay outside of the U.S. for 2 years, without losing your green card. After that you may apply new reentry permit, if needed.