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Kevin O'Flaherty

In this article, we discuss what documents and materials you should collect before sitting down to fill out Form I-485 for Adjustment of Status.

Form I-485 is the main USCIS application for immigrants who are eligible to apply for lawful permanent residence (US green card) and can also do so while living in the US and not having to leave the country for an overseas consular interview.

Individuals eligible to file Form I-485 will typically fall into one of four categories:

  1. Those who came to the US on a temporary work visa such as an H-1B and were sponsored by their employer for a green card
  2. Those who came to the US on a temporary visa, but married a US citizen
  3. Individuals who received asylum in the US
  4. The fiance of a US citizen who got married before their fiance visa expired

Filling Out Form I-485

Form I-485 can be an exercise in patience. It’s lengthy and ambiguous in some sections, but don’t stress, there are plenty of resources to help navigate the form’s various questions. For more information check out Immigration Form I-485 Explained. Below are some of the items you’ll need for the various parts.

  • Have your Social Security Number and/or Online Account Number. If you don’t have those just leave those sections blank;
  • If you have an Alien Number (A#), put it in the appropriate box. This is unlikely for a majority of individuals filing I-485 forms unless they have had a previous encounter with US immigration services, such as applying for immigration benefits or removal proceedings.
  • Make sure you have the correct “Date of Last Arrival,” which is the last time you arrived in the US after leaving the country, not necessarily the first time you arrived in the US unless they are the same date. 
  • Have your I-94 number ready as this helps prove you entered with a temporary visa or through the visa waiver program

Forms Needed When Filing the I-485

Each case is unique and depending on your situation you may need to attach forms different from the next person.  Below is a  list of the common forms and information you’ll need to include with the I-485. Not every form is required, but some are highly suggested to avoid future headaches and to cut down on costs associated with filing separately.

  • You’ll need proof of your eligibility for a green card. This could be anything from your notice of approval as in asylee, form I-130 and the associated marriage certificate, your USCIS petition notice and marriage certificate if you entered as the fiance of a US citizen, etc;
  • Your Medical Examination Sheet (Form I-693), which must be completed by a Civil Surgeon and placed into a sealed, unopened envelope by the Civil Surgeon;
  • Form I-131 allows you to receive “advanced parole,” which enables you to travel outside the US while your I-485 application is being reviewed and the adjustment process is still ongoing. If you do not file this form and travel outside the US while the adjustment process is still underway you risk having your green card application canceled;
  • Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization. This form is good to file with the I-485 even if you don’t plan to work. It gets some a photo ID and you won’t have to pay an extra fee if you file at the same time;
  • Form I-864 Affidavit of Support. This form is necessary if you’re riding in on a US family member. You need the supporting and financial tax documents associated with this form as proof of your support.

Documents Needed With Form I-485

  • Two color photos taken within the last 30 days (these should be passport-style);
  • Birth certificate (If not in English you must have it in a translated form, word for word);
  • A photocopy of the non-immigrant visa page of your passport;
  • Any previous criminal reports, convictions, etc (speak with an attorney if you do have any past arrests or convictions, even if they were overturned);
  • Fee for the application and fingerprinting.

Every immigration case is different. Having an attorney to bounce questions off of and to review your application can save you time, money and prevent your application from being denied due to an honest mistake. For more information call our office at 630-324-6666.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.


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