What Is Adjustment Of Status?
If you arrived in the U.S. on a K-1 visa (other types of temporary visas), you will be required to adjust your status once you have met the requirements to receive a green card (for K-1 visa you must marry within 90 days of entry).
After your case is initially processed, it will be referred to your local USCIS office where you will be interviewed for your permanent residency or be transferred to one of the service centers (California or Vermont) if an interview is not required.
Prior to this, you will receive communications requesting you to go to a biometrics appointment where your photo and fingerprints will be taken.
Assembling The I-485 Package
Payment: Use a personal check or money order. Make check payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Fee $1,140.00 + 85.00 Biometrics = $1,225)
Note: children included on the I-485 under age 14 the fee is $750 each. Children under 14 that are no filing with a parent, fee is $1140.
Cover Sheet [download]
I-485 Petition for Alien Relative [download]
Copy of the non US Citizen Spouses Passport [all pages]
Copy of the non US Citizen Spouses K-1 or K-3 Visa from Passport [if applicable]
A copy of your marriage certificate
Two passport-type photos
A copy of your government-issued identity document with photograph
A copy of your birth certificate. If it is unavailable or does not exist, submit other acceptable evidence of birth such as church, school, or medical records, and proof of unavailability or nonexistence.
Documentation of immigrant category, such as a copy of Form I-797, Approval or Receipt Notice, for the Form I-130 filed on your behalf (unless you are filing your Form I-485 with the Form I-130 filed on your behalf)
Form I-864, Affidavit of Support or I-864W (if applicable)
Certified police and court records of all criminal charges, arrests, or convictions regardless of final disposition (if applicable)
I-765, Application for Employment Authorization [download]
I-131, Application for Travel Document [download]
Where To Send Your I-485 Petition
You are required to mail applications to a national mailbox (Chicago).
U.S. Postal Service (USPS) deliveries:
P.O. Box 5757
Chicago, IL 60680-5757
Express mail and courier deliveries:
ATTN: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
131 S. Dearborn – 3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60603-5517
Be sure to mail the package with return receipt requested/delivery confirmation.
All Forms that you submit must be originals with original signatures. You cannot use photocopies of the forms. Supporting evidence that you submit may be photocopies.
Retain ALL original supporting evidence because the USCIS has the right to check them by issuing an RFE (Request for Evidence).
If you receive an RFE, follow the directions on the letter exactly, and make two copies of the evidence you send back to them.
You should also bring the original supporting evidence with you to any interview that is scheduled by USCIS.
Make TWO copies of the entire package before you send it in. This includes the money orders too. You want to have a perfect replica of the package you are sending in.
What Happens After You File I-485 (AOS)
After Filing: What Happens?
Adjudications of I-485 petitions can take anywhere from several months to several years to be approved depending on where you live (every local office has a different waiting period).
This delay often leaves the petitioner feeling completely hopeless of ever receiving approval. But don’t give up, your petition will eventually be processed.
In the mean time make sure your Employement Authorization Document (EAD) for employment is valid (renew it if it gets close to expiring) and that you have an Advanced Parole (AP) for any necessary travel.
Related Post: EP15: How To Expedite EAD Request (Sample Letter)
Listed below are the main steps that will take place why the beneficiary’s I-485 is being processed.
Employment Authorization and Advance Parole Processing
If you filed for Employment Authorization and/or Advance Parole petitions are generally processed within 90 days of filing.
During this waiting period the beneficiary (non-US Citizen Spouse) will be sent a notice in the mail to schedule an appointment at the nearest USCIS biometrics office to have their fingerprints and photos taken.
It is important to follow the instructions in this notice letter and to schedule the biometrics appointment in a timely fashion if it isn’t already scheduled on the letter.
- Advance Parole can be obtained quickly by scheduling an Info-Pass appointment at your local USCIS office.
- You must show proof (doctors note, etc) that the travel is a true emergency (such as to see a critically ill relative or other true emergency) and file an I-131 (AP) in person.
- If approved the AP is likely be issued the same day. Do not attempt to leave the country without an AP as this can result in the beneficiary’s I-485 being considered “abandoned” and will require a new Visa to enter the US (and refiling of the I-485).
The beneficiary (non-US Citizen Spouse) will be required to have their biometrics taken as part of the I-485 processing (fingerprints and photos).
The beneficiary will be sent a notice in the mail with a date and time of their appointment at the nearest USCIS biometrics office to have their fingerprints and photos taken.
This can typically precede the interview date by up to 15 months, however it is usually much closer (like 2-4 months).
Adjustment of Status Interview
Most people will receive a letter from the USCIS informing them of their interview date. It will include instructions on what to bring to the interview and any required items you may need to complete beforehand.
One of the most critical items requested will be “evidence of the relationship” which proves that your marriage is true and faithful (i.e. photos, joint checking account, joint lease, joint mortgage, and birth certificates of children if any, etc.).
It is also important to bring the current passport of the beneficiary to the interview. The interview is fairly painless and may be video recorded and lasts between 15-30 minutes.
If approved you will be mailed your “green card” shortly after the interview date (within a few weeks). Many couples are told after the interview is over if they have been approved.
- In some cases, a beneficiary’s Adjustment of Status case may be transferred to the California Service Center (possibly another location) where the USCIS will attempt to complete processing without requiring an “in person” interview.
- There is no particular way to know if this will happen in your case, however, if this does happen then you will not be required to attend an interview in person.
- If the I-485 is approved the beneficiary’s green card will simply be mailed to them.
Permanent Resident Status:
- At your interview a tardy namecheck or FBI clearance may hold up a final “approval” of the I-485 after the interview.
- Permanent Resident status does not start until the date your AOS is approved.
- If the beneficiary and petitioner have been married less than two years when the I-485 is approved, then the beneficiary will receive a “conditional” legal permanent residence (2 year green card).