Frequently Asked Questions on Form I-485 Adjustment of Status (Updated 2019)

What is adjustment of status?

Adjustment of status is a process meant for nonimmigrants in the U.S. to apply for legal permanent resident status. Eligible nonimmigrants can adjust their status to immigrant status and get a green card while in the U.S. without having to get back to their home country. To qualify, the individual has to meet all the requirements for a green card and must belong to an eligible immigrant preference category.

What is Form I-485 for?

What is Form I-485, Adjustment of Status?Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status is used to apply for adjustment of status in the U.S. Foreign nationals who came to the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa and who have an approved immigrant petition filed on their behalf, can file Form I-485 to adjust their status and change their status to that of a legal permanent resident.

What is the filing fee of I-485?

All I-485 applications must include the required form filing fee and the biometrics fee. $1,140 is the Form I-485 filing fees.

Filing fee for children age 13 or younger is $750 if they are filing with their parent’s form. Children age 13 or younger will need to pay $1,140 if they are filing without their parent’s form.

The form filing fee should include a biometrics service fee of $85. This applies to all applicants between 14 and 79 years of age. Though applicants below age 13 and above age 79 are not required to pay the biometrics fees, they will have to appear for the scheduled appointment.

Refugees and applicants who qualify for a fee waiver need not pay the fees.  Applicants can use a check or a money order to pay the fee.

Which edition of the form is currently being accepted?

Form edition date can be found at the bottom of the I-485 form instructions page. 12/13/17 edition is the one that is currently being accepted. 

Is an interview required for adjustment of status?

Adjustment of status interviews are conducted by USCIS but in certain cases, these interviews are waived. Immigration officers use these interviews to obtain important information about the applicants and to make sure they are eligible for a U.S. green card. Both the petitioner and the beneficiary are required to appear for interviews in family based cases.

During the interview, applicants are given an opportunity to revise any answer that they might have completed incorrectly or answer to unanswered questions.

Can adjustment of status applicants travel abroad while their applications are pending?

Yes, they can travel abroad. But they will need to get an advance parole document before they travel. They will need to make sure that their I-485 applications are not considered to be abandoned.

To avoid that, they must get a travel document, commonly known as advance parole before they depart the U.S. Those in the U.S. on H or L visas, can travel abroad if their visas are still valid. However, it is a good idea to get an advance parole document to travel abroad.

What happens at the biometrics appointment and what documents need to be brought?

USCIS will likely schedule a biometrics appointment in around 4 to 8 weeks from the time of receiving the I-485 application. This notice will have the date, time and location of the Application Support Center (ASC) the applicants will need to visit to submit their fingerprints. While it is recommended to attend the scheduled appointment, applicants can reschedule their appointment, if they believe they cannot make it. They can contact the ASC and reschedule their appointment.

Photographs, fingerprints and signatures of the applicants will be taken during this appointment. Information collected will be used to conduct background checks and to process the adjustment of status application.

Applicants must take with them a government-issued photo ID, for example, a passport or a driver’s license, to the appointment. They also need to take their appointment notice with them.

What if an adjustment application is denied?

USCIS may deny the application if the agency believes that the applicant is ineligible to adjust status and become a legal resident. Applicants are allowed to appeal the decision or ask for reconsideration. If they believe that the reason USCIS provided for denial is not justifiable, they can request the agency to reconsider their case.

What is the difference between an immigration petition and adjustment of status?

An immigrant petition, Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative is the application that is used by a U.S. citizen or a green card holder to petition for their eligible family member to come to the U.S. and get a green card. This is the first step in the process of obtaining permanent residence in the U.S.

Adjustment of status application is filed to change the status of a nonimmigrant to that of an immigrant while in the U.S. Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens can file the adjustment of status application concurrently with the immigrant petition but other categories of immigrants can cannot file this application until an immigrant visa number is available.

What is the difference between consular processing and adjustment of status?

Consular processing is for the beneficiaries of immigrant petitions who are outside the U.S. This is the process of applying for an immigrant visa in an overseas U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Adjustment of status, on the other hand, is meant for nonimmigrants in the U.S. who are beneficiaries of immigrant petitions. These immigrants going through adjustment of status need not get an immigrant visa but can change their status while in the U.S. and get a green card.

Is an attorney’s assistance required to file for adjustment of status?

An attorney’s assistance is generally not required to file the I-485 application. Applicants can easily file Form I-485 online with our form navigator and step by step instructions. However, applicants can seek the help of an attorney if they believe that there are problems in their cases.