Frequently Asked Questions of I-485 Adjustment of Status

What is Form I-485 for?

Form I-485 is the application for adjusting immigration status. Foreign nationals who are in the U.S. with certain types of temporary visas, and wish to change to a different visa classification, can file an application of I-485 for change of nonimmigrant status.

When should I-485 be filed?

All I-485 applications are filed when I-140 is concurrently-filed, pending, or approved. Note that the foreign national must file I-485 prior to the expiration of Form I-94.

What is the filing fee of I-485?

The filing fee for the I-485 is $1,440, except for children under 14 filing with a parent, for whom it will be $950.

What vaccination proof must be submitted at the time of medical examination?

During the required medical examination, the alien must present proof of vaccination against the following diseases: mumps, measles, rubella, polio, tetanus and diphtheria toxoids, pertussis, influenza type B, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, varicella (chickenpox), hemophilic influenza type B, rotavirus, meningococcal, and pneumococcal vaccines. If the applicant's records show that he or she has not received a complete series of each vaccine and there is no other evidence of immunity, the civil surgeon will administer a single dose of each missing vaccine at the time of the medical examination and certify the alien's eligibility for a “not medically appropriate“ waiver if the dose administered during the examination does not complete the vaccine series.

How long is my medical examination result be valid?

A completed Form I-693 submitted to USCIS on or after November 1, 2018 retains its evidentiary value to support a finding that an applicant is not inadmissible based on health-related grounds if it meets any of the following scenarios:

  • The civil surgeon signs Form I-693 no more than 60 days before the applicant files the underlying benefit application with USCIS; and USCIS issues a decision on the underlying benefit application no more than 2 years after the date of the civil surgeon’s signature.
  • The civil surgeon signs the Form I-693, and the applicant submits Form I-693, after the applicant files the benefit application with USCIS; and USCIS issues a decision on the underlying benefit application no more than 2 years after the date of the civil surgeon’s signature.

In all cases, a Form I-693 signed by a civil surgeon more than 60 days before the applicant files the underlying benefit application is insufficient for evidentiary purposes as of the time of its submission to USCIS. The table below illustrates these scenarios.

What will I need to do after filing I-485?

Legislation enacted in 1997 requires that all fingerprints for adjustment purposes be conducted by the USCIS or by a designated state or local law enforcement agency (LEA).

Where is fingerprinting done? And what should I bring when I have my fingerprint done?

Actual fingerprinting in most cases is conducted at fingerprinting centers known as Application Support Centers (ASCs). The applicant should bring the appointment notice and a valid piece of identification (alien registration receipt card or alternate photo identification, for example, a state-issued driver's license) to the scheduled appointment. After fingerprinting is conducted, the USCIS will submit the fingerprint card to the FBI for a background check. An affirmative response must be received from the FBI before an adjustment application can be adjudicated.

How long does it take for the FBI clearance to be issued to the USCIS after my fingerprint is taken?

Once fingerprints are taken, it generally takes thirty days for the FBI clearances to appear in the USCIS's system.

For how long is the clearance valid?

Once a fingerprint and clearance are in the system, the clearances are valid for fifteen months from that date. Applicants will need to be re-fingerprinted once the clearances have expired.

Can I file Employment Authorization Document (EAD) or Advance Parole (AP) simultaneously with I-485?

If the applicant requires employment authorization or advance parole, those applications can be filed with the service center simultaneously as part of the adjustment of status application package. An application for employment authorization is filed on USCIS Form I-765 and an advance parole application is filed on USCIS Form I-131. You may file these forms together. If you choose to file the I-765 and/or I-131 separately after July 30, 2007, you must also submit a copy of your I-797C, Notice of Action, receipt as evidence of the filing of an I-485.

Is additional fee apply if I file EAD and /or AP simultaneously with I-485?

If you file Form I-485 to adjust your status as a permanent resident, no additional fee is required to also file an application for employment authorization on Form I-765 and/or advance parole on Form I-131.

What is the processing procedure for I-485?

Initial processing of the application takes place at a USCIS Lockbox Facility or a service center. After the application has been filed, the applicant will next hear from the USCIS when a fingerprinting notice is sent. The applicant will either be scheduled for a fingerprinting at a local application support center (ASC) or be told to schedule an interview with the local ASC. The fingerprints will be submitted to the FBI for fingerprint checks through law enforcement databases. The applicant may also hear from the USCIS if documents in the file are missing or unclear (for example, if the documents establishing the relationship are not clear). In this case, a request for further evidence (RFE) will be issued. RFEs must be answered within twelve weeks of the request. RFEs will not be issued for medical exam results; such results may be submitted at the time of the adjustment interview.

What checks are conducted by the USCIS concerning an I-485 application?

USCIS conducts several checks in determination of I-485 application:

  1. A filed petition is checked against a USCIS fraudulent petition index in which a record is kept of prior petitions filed in which some element of fraud was involved.
  2. Background (name) checks are conducted against a multi-agency database containing lookout information on persons who have a history of past immigration problems or may pose security threats.
  3. Concurrently filed petitions may also be checked against files already in existence for the petitioner and/or beneficiary to determine whether the information in the petition is consistent with previous statements made by either party in papers already on file.
  4. The USCIS may also conduct a check of the authenticity of supporting documents against DOS descriptions contained in that agency's Foreign Affairs Manual. If there are any doubts regarding these documents, the USCIS may request the original documents.
  5. With regard to applications for ancillary benefits, the USCIS will conduct prima facie review of all I-140s concurrently filed with I-485s prior to adjudication of employment authorization applications (Form I-765's) or applications for advance parole (filed on Form I-131).

Is an interview required for I-485 Adjustment of Status?

After March 6, 2017, all adjustment of status applicants must be interviewed by an officer unless the interview is waived by USCIS. The decision to waive the interview should be made on a case-by-case basis. The interview enables USCIS to verify important information about the applicant to determine eligibility for adjustment.

What should I bring to an interview?

Once the papers have been filed and the fingerprinting has been completed, applicants for whom an interview is required will receive in the mail a notice of the interview appointment. This notice will give the time and place of the interview and tell the applicant to bring certain documents to the interview.

If an interview is scheduled, the applicant should be prepared to bring the following to the interview:

  1. Results of the required medical examination on Form I-693 (if such results were not submitted with the original adjustment application);
  2. His or her passport;
  3. His or her Form I-94;
  4. All original documents;
  5. An up-to-date letter of employment from the alien's employer, documenting continued employment at a specified salary; and
  6. All documents pertaining to the petition in cases in which the petition was filed together with the adjustment application.
  7. The appointment notice

How is an interview performed? What questions are usually asked in an interview?

After putting the applicant under oath, the USCIS examiner will review the biographical information on For I-485 for accuracy and will correct any mistakes.

Here are some questions a USCIS examiner may ask:

  1. He or she will ask the alien the questions that appear on the form, regarding the bases for inadmissibility.
  2. He or she may ask the applicant about the basis for permanent residence, particularly about the offer of employment if the case is a job-offer type of case.
  3. If the alien has not been employed but has been in the United States for a prolonged period, the examiner is sure to look closely at the alien's means of support to make certain that he or she has not engaged in unauthorized employment.

What if my application does not get approved at the interview?

If the application cannot be approved at the interview because the alien must provide additional information or because the proper clearances have not yet been received, the alien must await the resolution of these issues before the approval notice will be sent to the alien.

When will I received an approval notice? Can I travel abroad or start to work after I receive an approval notice?

The foreign national will be sent an approval notice, Form I-797, once the DOS has assigned the visa number. The USCIS will also process the applicant for issuance of a Permanent Resident Card, Form I-551. The approval notice, Form I-797, is not adequate evidence of the alien's permanent residence for purposes of traveling outside the United States and being readmitted as a resident, or for purposes of demonstrating employment authorization. The alien must return to the USCIS office after receiving the approval notice to receive temporary evidence of permanent residence. Temporary evidence is usually in the form of a stamp in the new resident's passport. With this stamp, the alien may travel abroad and be readmitted to the United States and may also document employment authorization.

What if my spouse and children are still in my home country? Will their visas be approved?

Yes. If you have adjusted status, your spouse or unmarried children under 21 will obtain immigrant visas at a U.S. consulate in your home country. This procedure is called “following to join“ the principal alien. You must request that the U.S. consulate where visa processing will take place be notified that your status has been adjusted to permanent residence.

What if my child ages over 21 during the period of adjusting status?

It is okay. New law provides for continued classification of certain aliens as children in cases where the aliens “age out“ while awaiting immigration processing.

Can I change employers when my I-485 is pending? Will it influence the validity of my I-140 approval?

The new law provides that individuals who have filed for adjustment of status and whose cases have been pending for more than 180 days may now change jobs or employers, without affecting the validity of the underlying I-140 or labor certification, as long as the new job is in the same or a similar occupational classification.

What if I want to go back to my own country when my I-485 is pending? Can I adjust my status at my home country after filing I-485?

Yes. If you decide that you would now prefer to visa process abroad after the adjustment application is filed, you will need to take further steps in order to have your case processed abroad. Specifically, you must file Form I-824 with the USCIS office that approved the initial petition to request that the consulate be notified of the petition approval.

What if my application gets denied? Can I appeal the USCIS's decision?

When a decision is made to deny an application for adjustment of status, the applicant must be provided with a written decision setting forth the reasons for the denial. If your nonimmigrant visa is still valid, you may continue to stay in the U.S. based on the unexpired nonimmigrant visa. Otherwise, you may face deportation after the denial of I-485 application. No appeal can be taken from the denial of an application by the USCIS. However, you may present a Motion to Reopen and Reconsider to the USCIS office based upon an argument of law or upon supplementary factual information that was not available at the time that the decision was made and that has a bearing on the reasons for the denial.