All EB1A, EB1B, and EB1C visa immigration applicants must file a Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status after their initial petition is approved. Some applicants may be able to file their I-140 applicantion currently with their Form I-485 petition.

Applicants generally can’t file the Form I-485 petition until a visa is available for their immigration category. Visa availability issues should be reviewed with an experienced immigrant lawyer. Form I-485 is used to change the status of someone already legally in the United States. There may be other requirements in addition to the filing of Form-I485 and the appropriate fees.

What happens after you file Form I-485

The applicant will be scheduled for a biometric services exam at a local Application Support Center. At the exam, you will need to provide your fingerprints, have a photograph taken, and provide your signature. The notice for the biometric exam will include the date, time, and location. The biometric exam is used to verify the applicant’s identity and to “conduct required background and security checks.“

The applicant may also be required to attend an interview. If an interview is requested, the applicant will need to “appear at a USCIS office to answer questions under oath or affirmation regarding Form I 485.” The USCIS will notify the applicant of the location, date and time of the interview. Experienced immigration attorneys can explain what questions are likely to be asked and how to conduct yourself at the interview.

If you are asked to come to the interview, your spouse and dependents (if they are seeking entry into the US) should also be prepared to attend the interview. Applicants will need to bring “originals of all documentation submitted with the Form I-485 application. This includes passports, official travel documents, and Form I-94, regardless if they are expired.”

Common interview questions require applicants to explain why they have extraordinary skills or other qualification criteria and their plans for obtaining work and living in the US if the application is approved.

Additional evidence requests

After Form I-485 is filed, the USCIS may ask for additional evidence if:

  • You did not submit all the required evidence
  • The evidence you submitted is no longer valid
  • The officer needs more information to determine your eligibility.

The USCIS will advise you what evidence is needed, where to send the evidence and the due date for sending the evidence. Applicants who don’t submit the evidence in a timely manner may find that their Form I-485 request for adjustment of status is denied. Not every applicant is required to submit additional evidence. It helps to be thorough when submitting the initial form and document information.

The USCIS decision

Applicants can check their status online or by calling the USCIS Contact Center. The USCIC will make a decision on your application for an adjustment of your immigration status and advise you through a written notice. If the application is approved, “you generally will receive an approval notice first and then receive your actual Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) a little later.”

If the application is denied, the written decision notice will explain the reasons for the denial and whether you can appeal the decision. In most cases, applicants cannot appeal a denial of an adjustment of status application – which is why applicants should work with experienced immigration lawyers to present a strong initial case.

While denials may not be allowed, applicants “may still be eligible to file a motion to reopen or reconsider.”

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