Form I-485 is the application form to register permanent residence or change status. An individual or non-US citizen files this to obtain permanent resident status in the United States. Form I-485 is for non-US citizens who are in the United States and who are eligible to apply for the green card based on sponsorship by a family member, employer, or based on their refugee status/asylum.

Form I-485 is the application needed to be filed by anyone who wants to register existing permanent residence or adjust their current status. It can take eight to fourteen months, depending on the reason stated and how well you follow the steps.

What is Form I-485 (Adjustment of Status)?

Filing for I-485 or Adjustment of Status is complex and must be followed according to USCIS guidelines. This process is the final step to obtaining a green card. Once this step is completed, the individual becomes a lawful permanent resident.

A person has two options for applying for immigration status. If the applicant resides in the United States, he/she can apply using Form I-485, and if he/she is outside the United States, he/she can apply to the United States consular office in the country of origin.

Who Can File Form I-485?

An applicant (relative or husband or wife getting their green card) can file an I-485 based on seven broad categories: family, employment, special immigrant, asylum or refugee, a victim of human trafficking, or victim of a crime, special programs, and additional options.

Who Cannot File Form I-485?

First, parents or spouses who are not physically present in the United States cannot file the I-485. Second, even when physically present in the United States, certain eligibility exclusions prevent an I-485 petition from being filed.

You generally cannot file an I-485 if:

  • You entered the United States as a team member;
  • You entered the United States for transit (i.e., en route to another country);
  • You have been admitted to the United States as a witness or informant;
  • Where you are “deportable” because you were involved in terrorist activity or involved in a terrorist group.

In addition to the eligibility exclusions above, “inadmissible” grounds may prevent you from filing an I-485. This means you are disqualified from receiving a green card based on certain factors unique to you. These disqualifying categories include:

  • Health-related reasons
  • Criminal motives
  • Security reasons
  • Violations of immigration law or procedure
  • Public paid land

Depending on the family relationship or green card category, “waivers” may be available to address some of the above disqualification grounds.

The Documents that USCIS Requires

USCIS recommends that the applicant review this checklist before completing and submitting Form I-485. The following documents are examples of items that USCIS recommends applicants include when submitting Form I-485:

  • Two recent color passport-style photos of yourself.
  • A government-issued photo ID to confirm your identity, such as a passport, driver’s license, or military ID.
  • Birth certificate or, if there is none, other documents confirming your date and place of birth or written statements from parents.
  • Copies of documents proving that you have been legally admitted to the United States, such as a stamped passport page or an I-94 arrival-departure record.
  • Documents showing that you qualify for the immigrant class you are using to file your petition, such as your immigrant petition that you filed along with your Form I-485 or your Notice of Approval for a Filed Petition previously.

Form I-485 Processing Time

You can expect the total processing time for the I-485 to be at least 8-14 months. It may take four to six weeks for USCIS to accept your request and send you an acknowledgment of receipt. You will then receive a notice of your biometric appointment, which you must attend.

Family-Based Form I-485 Processing Time

Form I-485 processing time for family petitions is between 12 and 22 months. Form I-485 processing times vary depending on your adjustment category and the USCIS field office processing the request.

Employment-Based Form I-485 Processing Time

It can take about six months to approve a foreign worker’s application. However, if the application requires PERM labor certification, it may take up to 2 years to receive certification. The good news is that you can speed up the process with fee processing and reduce the processing time to 15 calendar days.

Asylum-Based Form I-485 Processing Time

Processing time was from 3 to 7 months, then 7-23 months, then 15-46 months. Now it’s 25-52 months and more.

Refugee-Based Form I-485 Processing Times

The only additional documentation that must be submitted with Form I-485 is a document that proves you have been granted asylums, such as a USCIS Notice of Approval or an order from an immigration judge. It takes about 14-22 months to process Form I-485.

You must submit documentation that proves you have been granted refugee status, such as Form I-94 or Form I-571, Refugee Travel Document.

The Steps to Follow Next After Filing Form I-485

After submitting Form I-485 and all other required forms, there are still a few steps to take to become a permanent resident of the United States. This guide will help you understand each of these steps.

Your Application is Received

Once USCIS receives your request, it must send you a receipt within 30 days. If you attach Form G-1145 Electronic Notice of Acceptance of Claim/Petition to your Form I-485, you will also receive a confirmation email or text within 24 hours of acceptance of your claim.

Both the physical and electronic receipts will have a receipt number. You can use this number to check the status of your file and see where your file is in the application process.

Your Biometrics Appointment is Scheduled

Once your I-485 is filed, you will receive a notification by mail of your Biometrics Services appointment at your local Application Support Center (ASC). The notice will include the date, time, and place of your appointment. During this appointment, you will provide your fingerprints, photo, and/or signature, which will be used to verify your identity and conduct a background check.

You Attend Your Biometrics Appointment

A biometric appointment, also known as a biometric screening, is usually a short appointment so that USCIS can collect your fingerprints, photo, and signature. Your appointment notice will tell you what to bring to your appointment. USCIS can accept identification documents such as:

  • Passport photograph issued by your country
  • Driver’s license
  • A military identity document with a photo
  • A state-issued identity card with a photo

You Receive Your EAD Card

If you also filed Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, as part of your adjustment of status case, you will receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Many people call this a work permit. If you have applied for both, the EAD and Early Parole travel documents are usually combined into one card.

You Receive Your Notice of Interview

Next, in the I-485 timeline, you and the applicant will likely receive a summons to attend an adjustment of status interview. However, your interview may be canceled, or USCIS may not require your petitioner to be present. Interviews are not to be feared; they are part of the normal process. The nature of your case will affect the interview decision, but submitting a well-prepared case with all necessary documentation increases your chances.

You Attend Your Adjustment of Status Interview

If you plan to attend an adjustment of status interview, it’s a good idea to prepare. Start by going through your Form I-485 and related forms. Make sure you know the answers well. If something is outdated, bring the updated information to the interview.

You Receive Permanent Residence

After the interview, USCIS will send you a written notice of its decision. If approved, you will receive your green card shortly thereafter. If your application is rejected, the decision mail will explain why. It also tells you whether you can appeal the decision. You can still request a review even if it says the decision cannot be appealed. To file an appeal or motion, you must use Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion.

Form I-485 Processing Time Summary

After you submit Form I-485, Application for Adjustment of Status, and related forms, your I-485 may take 8-14 months to process. An important factor will be the basis of your adjustment of status (e.g., family, employment, asylum, etc.). This is an approximation. It may be shorter or longer, depending on each individual.

Form I-485 Processing Time FAQ

1# How soon after filing your I-485 did you receive your green card?

You can expect Form I-485 handing out time to be at least 8-14 months. It may take four to six weeks for USCIS to accept your request and send you an acknowledgment of receipt.

2# How long does it take for NBC to process I-485?

In cases where a visa has been revoked, applicants must submit a written transfer request to move their I-485 from one category to another. EB cases referred to NBC will be forwarded to field offices for a final decision, which may include an interview

3# How long does it take for I-485 to be approved?

Form I-485 processing time for family petitions is between 12 and 22 months. Form I-485 processing times vary depending on your adjustment category and the USCIS field office processing the request.

4# How long does it take for biometrics after getting an I-485 approved?

You can expect Form I-485 processing time to be at least 8-14 months. You will then receive a biometric appointment notification that you must attend.

5# What happens after notice of acceptance from USCIS?

Official notice of receipt from USCIS will be issued and mailed within 1-3 weeks, depending on the case. The service desk will then review the request with possible outcomes: approval, request for evidence (RFE), or, in rare cases, denial.

6# What is contained in the USCIS for the I-140 notice sent?

It is possible to receive a Notice of Intent to Withdraw (NOIR), which usually expresses an intention to withdraw approval based on something newly discovered (perhaps the petitioner’s claim was false, or circumstances changed before approval, and USCIS was unaware).

7# Do I need to file Supplement A to Form I-485 with Form I-485?

You must use Appendix A to adjust your status under Section 245 of the INA. You cannot adjust the status based solely on the submission of Schedule A. You must also file Form I-485 and be eligible for a visa under the family immigrant, employment, special immigrant, or diversity visa category.

8# What is the time frame for a USCIS to send a work permit?

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) generally takes approximately 150-210 days (5-7 months) to process Form I-765. Previously, USCIS processed work permit applications within 90 days, but the growing backlog has led to further delays.

9# Can I file I-130 and I-485 together?

If you and your relative are filing Form I-130 and Form I-485 together, you can still file Form I-130 online, but you must physically mail Form I-485 to the appropriate USCIS service center.

10# How long does it take for my status adjustment to be approved?

Obtaining a green card through AOS can be a slow process, and the exact time for adjustment of status will depend on your situation. Spousal green card AOS processing time currently takes 12-22 months for the spouse of a US citizen and 12-22 months for the spouse of a US green card holder.

Let Herman Legal Group Be Your Assistant Throughout the Complex Legal Procedure of the I-485

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