What is Form I-485 for Adjustment of Status?
Form I-485 is used by marriage-based Green Card applicants who reside in the United States to adjust their status within the U.S. Filing I-485 for Adjustment of Status is a straightforward process, but there are important rules and regulations to keep in mind, such as the 90-day rule for certain cases. Let’s look into the details and the general processing time of I-485.
I. What is an Adjustment of Status?
When applying for a marriage-based Green Card while living in the United States, you will file Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status). This process is often referred to as Adjustment of Status.
II. Who can apply Green Cards using Adjustment of Status?
There are several ways that an individual may be able to obtain a Green Card through Form I-485. Primarily, in the case for marriage-based Green Card applications, it will be through the sponsorship of the applicant’s spouse: a U.S. citizen or U.S. Green Card holder.
An adjustment of status can also be utilized by individuals who may be eligible for an employment-based Green Card (EB-1 visa) through the sponsorship of an employer, or other grounds of humanitarian reasons, or other special cases.
III. Do you require a valid visa for the Adjustment of Status?
In general, to be able to apply for a Green Card using an adjustment of status, Green Card applicants must hold valid visas or must have obtained a visa waiver for the most recent entry into the United States.
However, in the case of marriage-based Green Card applicants, should they be married to a U.S. citizen, then they may be eligible for adjustment of status even if their current visa has expired, as long as the marriage-based Green Card applicant had lawfully entered into the United states with a valid visa or a visa waiver program.
IV. Does Adjustment of Status have a waiting period?
Before submitting Form I-485, marriage-based Green Card applicants using the adjustment of status will need to wait to file until a Green Card is available. Although marriage-based Green Card applicants who marry U.S. citizens will not have a wait time, in all other cases, there generally is a wait time depending on the priority of the class and the availability of a Green Card. In order to determine the wait time, the marriage-based Green Card applicant must check the monthly published Visa Bulletin.
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V. Will the 90-day rule apply to Adjustment of Status applicants?
Yes. In most cases where the marriage-based Green Card applicant is eligible for a Green Card, but holds a temporary single intent visa, then the 90-day rule will still apply. As mentioned in our 90-day rule section, this rule is a guideline for USCIS to determine whether or not a nonimmigrant of lawful status may have misrepresented their intentions when applying for their temporary visa. Some temporary visas are a single intent visa, which cannot be used to permanently immigrate and relocate to the United States. If the marriage-based Green Card applicant possesses a temporary visa that does not have dual intent, allowing for immigration to the United States, then the applicant should closely pay attention to the 90-day rule.
VI. What is the process for Adjustment of Status?
Although the Adjustment of Status can be straightforward, there are specific wait times and important procedures to keep in mind.
- Check if the marriage-based Green Card applicant is qualified and eligible to apply for a Green Card
- The main sponsor will file the appropriate sponsorship form
- For marriage-based Green Card applicants, the main sponsor will file Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative)
- For employment-based Green Card applicants, Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers) should be used
- For humanitarian-based Green Card applicants, Form I-730 (Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition) should be used
- Must wait for the availability of Green Card, depending on the home country of the Green Card applicant, current circumstances, and Green Card category
- File Form I-485
- File Form I-131 (Application for Travel Document), should the Green Card applicant wish to travel during the Green Card application
- Must wait for acceptance of Form I-485. Fingerprinting appointment, and sometimes additional biometric appointment, will be mailed to you
- Must attend Green Card interview
- Receive either approval letter, denial letter, or request for additional information through Request for Evidence (RFE)
VII. How long will the Adjustment of Status take?
There can be many factors that will affect the approval time using the adjustment of status. The factors that will affect the time frame will be whether the main sponsor is a U.S. citizen or a U.S. Green Card holder, where the Green Card applicant resides, and the availability of a Green Card depending on your immigration status.
In general, the following times can be expected for marriage-based Green Card applicants:
- If the marriage-based Green Card applicant is married to a U.S. citizen – ten to 13 (10-13) months
- If the marriage-based Green Card applicant is married to a U.S. Green Card holder – twenty-nine to thirty-eight (29-38) months
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VIII. Where can I check the status of my Adjustment of Status?
After submitting your Form I-485, it can be a long wait time waiting for updates from the USCIS. In order to make this process easier, the Green Card applicant may check the status of the application on the USCIS website.
Furthermore, Lawfully USCIS Case Tracker app will also give you real-time updates and statuses on your application. Try Lawfully USCIS Case Tracker app for the intelligent Green Card process.