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I-485 Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I apply for I-485 outside the U.S.?

No. Form I-485 is used by a person in the United States to apply for lawful permanent resident status.

2. I am the principal applicant. When Should I File Form I-485?

In general, if you are filing as a beneficiary of an immigrant visa petition (such as Form I-130, Form I-140, or Form I-360), you may file an adjustment application only after USCIS has approved your petition and an immigrant visa number is immediately available.

There are, however, some immigrant categories that allow you to file Form I-485 before USCIS approves your petition (this is known as “concurrent filing”), provided that approval of the petition would make a visa number immediately available and you meet all other filing requirements.

3. Can I file concurrently?

Concurrent filing of Form I-485 is when an immigrant petition and the adjustment application (application for a Green Card, Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) are filed at the same time and mailed together with all the required filing fees and supporting documentation to the same filing location.

Concurrent filing is allowed in the following instances:

  • Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens living in the United States

  • Most employment based applicants and their eligible family members when a visa number is immediately available

  • Special immigrant juveniles if an EB-4 visa number is immediately available and USCIS has jurisdiction over the application to adjust status

  • Self petitioning battered spouse or child if the abusive spouse or parent is a U.S. citizen, or if an immigrant visa number is immediately available

  • Certain Armed Forces Members applying for a special immigrant visa under Section101(a)(27)(K) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)

  • Special Immigrant International Organization Employee or family member

4. I am the derivative applicant. When can I file I-485?

With the exception of U nonimmigrants, asylees, and refugees, USCIS cannot approve your Form I-485 as a derivative applicant until the principal applicant has been granted lawful permanent resident status.

If you are currently the spouse or child (unmarried and under 21 years of age) of a principal applicant, you may file Form I-485 if an immigrant visa is immediately available to you and you meet all the filing requirements.

You may file at any of the following times:

A. At the same time the principal applicant files Form I-485;

B. After the principal applicant filed a Form I-485 that remains pending a final decision by USCIS;

C. After USCIS approves the principal applicant’s Form I-485, if the principal applicant is still a lawful permanent resident and if, at the time of the principal applicant’s Form I-485 approval, you were the principal applicant’s spouse or child; or

D. After the principal applicant obtained an immigrant visa and entered the United States as a lawful permanent resident if the principal applicant is still a lawful permanent resident and, at the time of the principal applicant’s entry, you were the principal applicant’s spouse or child.

5. I am/was in J status. Do I need J Waiver?

If you previously held or currently hold J-1 (principal) or J-2 (dependent) nonimmigrant exchange visitor status, you must submit copies of all relevant Forms IAP-66 and/or Forms DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status, ever issued to you (if available).

You must also submit copies of all available J-1 or J-2 nonimmigrant visas issued to you, and copies of all available Form I-94 and passport pages with entry stamps showing your admission to the United States in J-1 or J-2 status.

In addition, if your J status made you subject to the 2-year foreign residence requirement of INA section 212(e), you must submit documentation to show that you complied with the foreign residence requirement, have been granted a waiver of the requirement before filing Form I-485, or were issued a favorable waiver recommendation letter from DOS before filing Form I-485. You can show you complied with the requirement by submitting evidence to prove you resided in the appropriate home country for at least two years since your exchange visitor program ended.

Resource: USCIS


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