In this article, we will discuss the various parts of Immigration form I-485, cover some of the individual questions, and attempt to summarize the lengthy portions of the document. This article is not meant to be an all-encompassing guide to form I-485, but rather a simplified and condensed summary. Obtaining permanent status in the United States is not an easy process, but it can be much less stressful with the help of a qualified attorney. If you have any questions about the topics covered in this article, or about immigration in general, don’t hesitate to call our office. For more information check out our article on Employment-Based Visas.
Immigrants interested in applying for lawful, permanent residence in the United States—a green card—will need to complete form I-485, which collects information about the applicant in order to determine his or her admissibility or denial. The information entered into this form should only refer to the person seeking the green card, and not the petitioner.
You can complete Form I-485 on paper or via the computer, which is the suggested way to do it, as it allows for easier corrections. It’s very important to read the document carefully. We suggest slowly reading through each line, more than once as needed, to confirm you have the directions for each line correct. Some lines will ask for information you don’t have, such as a middle name.
For these lines, it’s best to leave the answer blank, unless directed otherwise on the form. If an area is missed or requires additional information to proceed, and you are filing on a computer, the program will typically highlight the area missed. At times you may also need to include more information that can fit in the space provided. Have extra sheets of blank paper on hand and be sure each of these papers is attached to the physical form and contains your name, Alien Registration Number (if you have one), the page and part number to which the item refers and your signature.
Information About You (The person who is applying for permanent residence)
Application Type or Filing Category
Additional Information About You
Part 4 concerns information about your parents, including questions about demographics, for background purposes. Fill it out to the best of your knowledge and if one or more parents are deceased be sure to answer DECEASED in the appropriate boxes.
Here you will list whether you are single, married, divorced, etc. This section is of particular importance if you are immigrating for or based on marriage. Be as thorough as possible and if extra info is necessary, write it in Part 14. Note that if you are married to more than one person this could pose a problem and should be something to address with a qualified attorney prior to completing the application.
Indicate the total number of children, including step-children and adult children. Be sure to list all their names as accurately as possible and include all children and step-children whether they are immigrating now or not. If you fail to list any children and then attempt to immigrate them later you may run into problems.
The information you will enter into this section includes race, ethnicity and other physical information. This helps USCIS to confirm your identity. If you’re not sure which box you should indicate, USCIS has a guide on its website.
This section is long and can be intimidating. However, as long as you answer truthfully there should be no problem. This section is meant to weed out criminals, terrorists and those who may do harm after entry into the US. If you were involved in any group that can be linked backed to violence, even if it was a nonviolent subgroup of an organization, it’s best to seek the counsel of a qualified attorney. Conversely, if you are in or were in any support groups, religious groups, etc, you can list those here and the USCIS officer may look favorably upon your application.
You will also need to disclose any arrests, even if you were never charged, or you were proved innocent. It’s not necessary to list driving tickets as long as drugs and alcohol were not involved, and the office did not result in a fine over $500.
Again, it is very important to answer truthfully here. Even if the answer is yes to one or more inadmissibility questions you should still answer yes. These are not immediate denials based on inadmissibility, and a lawyer can help you better navigate this section, answer accordingly, and explain your options.
The rest of the application should be pretty straightforward. A few more items to note include:
Filling out form I-485 can be very intimidating and confusing. You don’t want to have your application denied due to a simple error or misunderstanding. A qualified immigration attorney can help ensure the greatest chance for your successful permanent immigration to the US. For any questions please call out office at (630) 624-6666.
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