Green Card in the USA: step by step instructions for filling out Form I-485
Form I-485, officially known as the "Application for Registration of Permanent Residence or Change of Status". Find out more about who is eligible to fill out Form I-485, the list of required documents, the Green Card application procedure, and other important details
All immigrants who are already in the United States and wish to change their status, i.e. obtain a green card, must fill out Form I-485, which is known as the "Application for Registration of Permanent Residence or Change of Status."
In order to get a positive answer, you need to enter all the data correctly. This is very important, because the application is considered for 30 months, and the fee for processing the I-485 is $1,140.
What are the rules for submitting form I-485? In our material, we will consider the content of I-485, who has the right to submit an application and a list of documents for obtaining a permit.
What is the I-485 form?
Form I-485 is one of the documents used to adjust the immigration status of an expat. That is, foreigners who have a temporary residence permit in the USA fill out the I-485 application in order to obtain a permanent residence permit or a "Green Card".
The application form has 20 pages, in the questionnaire it is necessary to indicate:
● personal information of a foreigner;
● work history;
● immigration history;
● grounds for obtaining a green card;
● address in the USA;
● criminal record data;
● family information, etc.
The main purpose of the I-485 application is to provide the state with detailed information about the alien and confirm the expat's right to obtain a residence permit in the United States.
Who has the right to fill out the I-485 form?
In order to obtain the right to fill out the I-485 form, foreigners must fulfill 2 conditions:
1. It is impossible to stay in the USA and submit an application from abroad.
2. Enter the USA on the basis of an immigrant visa issued for:
- family reunification - when a relative of a foreigner has the status of a permanent resident or citizen of the United States, it is possible to apply for an IR or F visa;
- marriage - those foreigners who plan to marry US citizens receive a K-1 visa, which is a non-immigrant visa. After the marriage is registered, the permit will be changed to a CR-1 visa and only after that you can fill out the I-485 form;
- highly qualified workers - foreigners who want to work in the USA and have a sufficient level of qualification, can get a category E visa and move to the country;
- investments in business - investors who will make a significant contribution to one of the American companies receive an EB-5 immigration visa.
Importantly! Foreign nationals who arrived in the USA on the basis of a non-immigrant visa: a B-1 or B-2 tourist visa, an H-B1 work visa, or a J-1, J-2 student visa do not have the right to submit an I-485 application.
The USA is the world leader in terms of the number of migrants living in the country. Now 45 million foreigners live here, which is 14% of the total population of the country. Most expats are citizens of Mexico, India and China.
List of documents for submitting the I-485 application
Along with the I-485 form, the applicant must provide several supporting documents:
- Two passport-size photos. Photo requirements and examples can be found on the US State Department website.
- A valid passport or other identity document.
- Birth certificate.
- A document that will confirm your immigrant status: an immigration petition or a copy of Form I-797.
- Confirmation of sufficient financial means to stay in the USA (form I-864).
- Document on health status and availability of vaccinations.
- Information about criminal charges, arrests or criminal records. There is no need to report motoring offenses where the punishment was only a fine or points on your driver's license.
- Proof that you arrived in the US legally - a copy of the passport page with the admission stamp or Form I-94 Arrival-Departure.
If you do not have any of the documents, USCIS usually allows you to provide alternative ones.
Procedure for applying for a Green Card using Form I-485
1. Apply for a U.S. immigrant visa in your country of origin. The visa will allow you to move to the USA for a long time and get a "green card".
2. Fill out an immigrant petition, such as I-130 for family reunification or I-140 for foreign workers.
3. Get a visa and come to the USA, because you can only fill out the I-485 form while in the USA.
4. Complete the I-485 and mail it to the nearest local USCIS office. You can find the address by following the link.
5. Provide biometric data - after certain processing of your data, you will receive an invitation to an appointment where you will provide your biometric data - fingerprints.
6. Attend an interview to have USCIS verify the information provided on your application.
7. Receive a decision on the issuance of a "Green Card" - if your application is approved, you will receive a "green card" by mail.
What is the cost of filing an I-485 application?
Two fees are required to file an I-485:
● The application fee is $1,140 for applicants over 14 years old and $750 for children.
● Pay for biometric services - $85 for adults, children - free.
Deadline for consideration of an application for a Green Card in the USA?
Usually, the relevant services consider an application for a "green card" within 8 to 30 months. The duration depends on the state in which the Form I-485 was filed and the category of migrant. For example, an application for employment in New York is considered within 21 months.
How to immigrate to the USA with your family?
Together with the main applicant, spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 can obtain a residence permit in the USA. Form I-485 must be completed with the applicant or after approval of the applicant's authorization. Each relative must fill out a separate application, with the exception of children under the age of 14 - the application for them is filled out and signed by their parents.
Additional documents for family members of the main applicant:
- a copy of the marriage certificate and other documents confirming family ties;
- confirmation of the status of the main migrant - notification of approval of the application for obtaining a Green Card (form I-797) or a copy of the "Green Card" (form I-551).
How to avoid delays when applying for a Green Card - useful tips
1. Submit the medical examination report and vaccination information (form I-693) along with form I-485.
2. Check the availability of all necessary evidence and supporting documentation.
3. When filling out, use only the current edition of the I-485 form.
You can fill out the document yourself or seek help from a highly qualified lawyer. Consulting a specialist will help avoid possible mistakes and speed up the process of obtaining a permit.
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