What to Expect for the I-485 Process

An I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status is the application that is used to obtain a Green Card in the United States. This post will help you understand the basic procedures involved in filing the I-485 application for adjustment of status to permanent residence. Whether you are eligible to apply for your green card based on an I-140 worker petition, or you are a family based beneficiary of an I-130 petition for alien relative, below are the steps to help you know what to expect. There are also other circumstances when an I-485 application can be used such as with an I-360 petition for special immigrant or by a person who has been granted asylum. Those circumstances will not be discussed in this post.

It is also possible to adjust status by attending a consular processing interview to obtain an immigrant visa at a U.S. consular post outside the U.S This option will be discussed in a later post.

In order to file an I-485application, you must be in the United States and have entered lawfully. 


Your eligibility to file is based on your priority date being current. How do you know if your priority date is current? The Department of State publishes current immigration availability information in a monthly Visa Bulletin. This bulletin indicates when statutorily limited visas are available to prospective immigrants based on their individual priority date.

  • In an I-140 employment based case, the priority date is generally established either on the date the labor certification was filed or the date the I-140 petition was filed, if labor certification was not required.
  • In a family-based preference case, the priority date is established on the date the I-130 was filed by the applicant’s relative. 

If your employment-based priority date is already current because there is no visa limitation for your country, is possible to file the I-485 application concurrently with an I-140 application 

Also, immediate relatives of U.S. citizens (i.e. spouse, parent, unmarried child under 21) do not have to wait for a current priority date. Here, the I-130 petition and I-485 application may be filed together, if all other requirements are met.

Once it is determined that you are ready to file the I-485, several documents must be included with the filing:

  • A medical exam submitted on Form I-693 must be conducted by a USCIS-approved civil surgeon. USCIS provides a list of approved civil surgeons online at
  • A copy of your passport or of a government issued ID
  • A copy of your original birth certificate as well as a translated copy if necessary
  • Educational documents (for employer based)
  • W-2 and Tax Return (for Employer based)
  • For family based preference cases:
  • A copy of your marriage certificate if it is a family based preference case. This is needed for spouse of a U.S. citizen and children as well.
  • Proof of termination of previous marriages
  • Passport size photos (2 required for all; 4 required if also seeking EAD)
  • Completed I-864 Affidavit of Support along with the specifically required supporting documents (for family based preference cases)
  • I-94 and all previous approvals

If you are filing the I-485 concurrently with either the I-140 or the I-130 additional documents must also be included.

Filing Fees

I-140 $700.00

I-130 $535.00

I-485 $1,225.00 which includes an $85 biometrics fee)

Biometrics and Interview:

After the I-485 is filed, USCIS schedules a biometric appointment and then an interview which you must attend.

Processing times:

The USCIS provides processing times. These processing times are not guaranteed. There can be variations in how long any particular case takes for processing. 

Additionally, if one wants to work in the United States and have the ability to travel while their I-485 is pending, you can also apply for an Employment Authorization Documentation (EAD) and Advance Parole.

Employment Authorization Documentation (EAD):


In order to work legally in the United States you must have valid work authorization. A person who files an I-485 generally may obtain an EAD, which confers work authorization. Such an individual must have the valid EAD in hand in order to use it to work legally. One who is in H1B or L-1 status may choose to use the H1B or L-1 to work in the U.S. in lieu of the EAD, even if s/he has a pending I-485. Individuals who do not plan to work do not need an EAD.

Permission to Travel (Advance Parole):

In order to be able to travel abroad while an I-485 is pending, you must have an Advance Parole. The Advance Parole is required for travel by those with pending I-485s, unless they hold H1B, H-4, L-1, or L-2 status. Individuals with H1B, H-4, L-1, or L-2 status may choose to reenter the U.S. using a valid visa for his/her status rather than using the Advance Parole. Not all persons who file the I-485 should apply for Advance Parole or use it to travel abroad, even if it has been issued. One who has been unlawfully present for 180 days or more prior to filing the I-485 should not travel outside the U.S. while the I-485 is pending or s/he will be subject to the 3- or 10-year bar following departure.

The Law offices of Luke Bowman – top immigration attorneys in USA would be happy to consult and/or represent you with you regarding your I-485 or any U.S. immigration matters.