An individual who holds a nonimmigrant visa status can file Form I-485 to change to an immigrant status in the United States. They must maintain their legal status and be free of inadmissibility factors, such as immigration violations or criminal records.
Family members of the principal applicant may be eligible to adjust their status as well. These are known as derivative applicants.
What is I-485?
The Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status is used by people who are seeking lawful permanent residency in the United States. Typically, this is for individuals who came to the US on a temporary visa such as an H-1B or L-1 and married a U.S citizen; individuals who were granted asylum in the US; or individuals who entered the United States on a K-1 fiance visa and got married before their 90-day fiance visa expired.
The first section on the form asks for basic information about the person filing the form, including their current legal name (nicknames and pseudonyms are not allowed), birth date, sex, and country of origin. It also requires the person to indicate which immigrant category they are applying for approval under.
The next part of the form requests personal and immigration-related information about family members. This includes spouses, children, and parents. A specific question asks about any memberships to organizations that could be seen as having terrorist links, although this may not always be relevant for all cases.
What is the I-485 application fee?
Generally, an individual will need to pay a filing fee when I-485 adjustment of status process. Typically, there is also a biometrics fee associated with the application, meaning that an individual will need to attend a USCIS appointment where they will be fingerprinted, photographed and have their signature taken. This data is used for background checks and the issuance of a green card.
Once all of the information is collected, individuals will be scheduled for an interview with a USCIS officer. At this interview, the officer will put the applicant under oath and ask questions about their immigration history and their eligibility for the adjustment of status.
The officer will then make a decision on the case. If denied, individuals will receive a written notice with the reasons why. In some cases, denials may be appealed. If denied, an individual will no longer be in lawful status and should consider leaving the United States as soon as possible.
What is the I-485 interview?
Once your application has been filed, you will receive a notice informing you of the time and place for your interview. The notice will also list all of the documents you must bring to the interview.
At the interview, a USCIS officer will ask you questions about the information in your application. The officer will also verify any necessary documents. It is important to remember that any answers you give may affect your case. Therefore, it is a good idea to talk to an immigration attorney before the interview.
In some cases, the officer may ask for supplementary evidence, such as birth certificates, financial documentation, or criminal records. It is also important to be truthful at the interview. Lying can create problems for you later on in the process, including denial of your application. For example, if you did not disclose arrests or convictions on your application forms, the USCIS officer might discover these during your interview and deny you permanent residence.
What is the I-485 denial process?
Immigration adjudicators may deny an application for green card benefits if it conflicts with earlier immigration records, such as visa overstays. Applicants should make sure they have all of the necessary documents and that they submit them in accordance with USCIS instructions. Immigration attorneys can help ensure that documents are properly filed.
Another common reason for I-485 denial is engaging in unauthorized employment. Nonimmigrants generally cannot lawfully work in the United States, but exceptions do exist. An attorney can help individuals prove that they do not engage in unauthorized employment.
Additionally, immigration adjudicators may deny an I-485 if they believe that the foreign national violated a term of his or her nonimmigrant visa status. For example, if someone visits the United States on a tourist visa and then works as a waitress, this could be viewed as a violation of the terms of his or her visa. An immigration lawyer can help the individual file a motion to reopen and reconsider the case.