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Form I-485: Your Path to Adjusting Status and Obtaining Permanent Residency

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What Is Form I-485?

Form I-485 is a crucial application form used to request an adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) of the United States. This form is typically filed by individuals who are already in the U.S. and are eligible to apply for permanent residency through family-sponsored, employment-based, refugee/asylee, or other qualifying categories.

By submitting Form I-485, applicants seek to transition from their current nonimmigrant or temporary status to permanent resident status. This can be a confusing process, so professional legal guidance is advised.

Reach out to us at Law Offices of Christopher Chaney for help with filling your Form I-485. We help our clients with their immigration needs, including work permit immigration.

Application Process for Form I-485

The USCIS process requires you to meet the eligibility criteria based on your immigration category. If you are applying for a Green Card through family, you must be an immediate relative of the petitioner, who filed a Form I-130 on your behalf.

Eligibility also involves being a direct beneficiary of the immigrant petition and selecting the appropriate immigrant category. This applies particularly if you are a foreign spouse or child of a principal applicant, often categorized as a derivative applicant. If you are from a specific country, such as Russia, consulting with a Russian immigration lawyer can provide tailored guidance.

To file Form I-485, ensure you’re eligible based on your visa status and immigration situation. Gather the required documents like identification, birth certificates, and marriage certificates if applicable. Complete the form accurately, pay the filing fee, and mail the application to USCIS.

Once received, you’ll be given a tracking number through a receipt notice. Attend a biometrics appointment for fingerprinting and photos, and if needed, attend an interview. After USCIS reviews your application, you’ll receive a decision notice. Follow any instructions provided, and if approved, you’ll proceed toward obtaining your Green Card.

Navigating the Application Process for Form I-485 requires careful attention to details such as the priority date and following the specific filing instructions. As you proceed, remember to keep track of your USCIS online account number and the receipt number provided upon submission. These elements play a crucial role in monitoring the progress of your application and staying informed about its status throughout the evaluation period.

Form I-485 Interview

You can work with your lawyer to practice responding to potential interview questions. Remember, it’s crucial not to skip the interview. If you absolutely need to, be sure to contact the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) field office near you in advance to arrange for a reschedule.

There are a few things to note in this step:

  • The USCIS requires the applicant and petitioner to attend the adjustment application interview.
  • This fact also applies to derivative applicants.
  • In case you are not fluent in English, you need an interpreter present. This also applies to people using sign language. It may require a sign language interpreter to be present. If the immigration officer is fluent in the applicant’s language, the interpreter is unnecessary.
  • For employers, it is not necessary to show up. Generally, most non-marriage-based applicants can attend the interview alone.
  • Marriage-based applicants should not expect a waiver in most cases. It only happens if there is undeniable evidence of the relationship.

Note that you need evidence when attending a status adjustment interview. Some are:

  • Government-issued ID. Alternatively, it could be an official document like a passport.
  • Birth, death, marriage, and/or divorce certificate.
  • Appointment notice or receipt.
  • Any other submitted form accompanying the form I-485.
  • Travel documents. A valid visa would also help.
  • Form I-693, indicating the required medical examination.
  • Any other document stated in the USCIS approval notice.

Form I-485 Processing Times

Each stage of the application process has varying timeframes for completion. Here’s a general estimate of what you can anticipate:

  • You can expect your receipt notice 2-3 weeks after application. This process could mean a request for evidence or a rejection of your application.
  • Expect a notice for your biometrics appointment if your request isn’t rejected. It should come within 5 weeks after filing for Adjust Status. The biometrics help in checking your legitimacy and criminal record.
  • You can submit the forms I-131 and I-765 along with the form I-485. You should expect your employment authorization document about 16 weeks after your application.
  • The notice for your biometrics appointment should be within 10 months after your application.
  • Your adjust status interview should be around 14 months after your application.
  • Your Green Card acceptance notice, wait for about 14 months after your application.

Seek legal counsel to understand better work permit immigration for a smoother process. Legal counsel will help during every Green Card process.

Register on the USCIS page with your updated mailing address. This way, you can keep tabs on your case and receive any notice from the USCIS. Additionally, they will use this info to mail you your immigrant visa, employment authorization documents, Green Card, and more.

What Happens if Your Form I-485 Is Denied?

Some situations may lead to the denial of your application. However, you can navigate this hurdle in several ways with the right legal representation. These include:


If you have the allowance to remain in the country despite the denial, you can plan for a refiling. Using your immigration attorney, ensure you build a more convincing case. You can provide new material during the reapplication if your evidence is lacking.


Appealing to the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) is another option. The AAO will hand over your case to another officer to reconsider your adjust status case. In case the AAO needs further investigation, it will initiate an appellate review.

Motion to Reconsider or Re-open

While these are two different motions, their processes are similar.

For a motion to reconsider, there is no need for new evidence. If you file for this, you have to work with your initial evidence. For the motion to re-open, there needs to be new evidence to confirm that USCIS made a mistake during decision-making.

Why Choose the Law Offices of Christopher Chaney for Your I-485 Application

Navigating the intricacies of Form I-485 can be a daunting task, demanding substantial time and dedication. If you’re aiming for improved prospects in your application, seeking assistance from an immigration lawyer is a smart move.

At the Law Offices of Christopher Chaney, our team is well-versed in guiding you through the entire I-485 application process. Reach out to us today for answers to your questions and professional guidance on your Green Card application. Moreover, you can rely on us to provide exceptional immigration services in Los Angeles for all your immigration-related needs. immigration lawyer in Los Angeles

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Regardless of your circumstance, you are not alone in your fight. We are ready to stand by your side and fight for your rights, freedom, and reputation. Contact us today to schedule a free remote or in-person consultation, and let us assist you in finding a solution to your problem.