Basics for Adjustment of Status (I-485)

Are you planning to apply for U.S. permanent residency based on an Adjustment of Status? If so, below are some of the basics regarding the I-485 filing process.

An I-485 is an application to register permanent residence or adjust status in the United States. U.S. immigration law permits a temporary visitor to file this application status if the individual lawfully entered the United States and meets certain requirements. 

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Immigration matters in the US are governed and regulated by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and you must meet all of the requirements to successfully obtain your Green Card. 

 There are several categories through which one can become eligible to file and I-485.

  • Family-based

U.S. immigration law allows certain aliens who are family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to become lawful permanent residents (get a Green Card) based on specific family relationships. 

Other family members eligible to apply for a Green Card are described in the following family “preference immigrant” categories:

    • First preference (F1) – unmarried sons and daughters (21 years of age and older) of U.S. citizens;
    • Second preference (F2A) – Spouses and children (unmarried and under 21 years of age) of lawful permanent residents;
    • Second preference (F2B) – unmarried sons and daughters (21 years of age and older) of lawful permanent residents;
    • Third preference (F3) – married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens; and
    • Fourth preference (F4) – Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens (if the U.S. citizen is 21 years of age and older).
  • Employment-based

U.S. immigration law provides aliens with a variety of ways to become lawful permanent residents (get a Green Card) through employment in the United States. These employment-based (EB) “preference immigrant” categories include:

    • First preference (EB-1) – priority workers
      • Aliens with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics;
      • Outstanding professors and researchers; or
      • Certain multinational managers and executives.
    • Second preference (EB-2) – aliens who are members of the professions holding advanced degrees or who have exceptional ability (including requests for national interest waivers). 
    • Third preference (EB-3) – skilled workers, professionals, or other workers.
  • Asylum or refugee

This category includes people who are granted asylum or refugee status by the US government and they also must fulfill the eligibility requirements requested by the USCIS. 

  • Special immigrant

Cuban citizens who apply for permanent residency are categorized as special immigrants.

  • Human trafficking victim

This category includes victims of human trafficking their family members.

  • Special programs

People who lived in the United States science 1972 and who kept to the requirements throughout their stay can use Form I-485 under this category. 

Basic documents are required for the I-485 application.

  • The filing fee of $1.225 for applicants 14 years old and above; $750 for applicants 13 years old and younger
  • Form G28 confirming the attorney who will represent you in your I-485 filing
  • Form I-485 – The application to apply for the Green Card
  • Two passport size photos of the applicant
  • Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization 
  • Form I-131 Application for Travel Document 
  • A copy of the foreign birth certificate of the candidate 
  • Copy of your most recent I-94, passport, and previous I-797 approvals

There are several details and nuances associated with each of the above categories. We recommend that you seek guidance from an immigration attorney to help you handle your unique situation and ensure a successful outcome.