Form I-485 also known as the “Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status” is a way for individuals who are already residing in the United States to apply for a green card without needing to return to the home country. Because form I-485 is an adjustment of status, it can only be filed by individuals who are currently residing in the U.S.
Who Can File Form I-485
The application to adjust status is merely a way for non-citizens who currently are legally residing in the U.S (i.e. students, tourists, immediate family members of U.S. citizens) to remain in the U.S as their immigration status is adjusted to legal permanent resident.
Applicants filing Form I-485 are divided into two specific categories:
The principal applicant is an individual named as the beneficiary of the application; they are the primary applicant. Examples of this are single individuals, or a parent who will act as the primary applicant and their children will be considered derivatives.
A derivative applicant is the spouse and/or children of a principal applicant. Applicants who are the children of the principal applicant must be unmarried and younger than 21 years of age to be considered a derivative applicant.
For applicants who are unsure if they fit into either category, refer to this resource from the USCIS. If the previous resource is not sufficient enough, a competent lawyer will gladly assist applicants in their process to become a permanent resident.
How Much Will it Cost to Submit Form I-485?
The costs for filing form I-485 consist of a “form fee” which is merely the fee for your application and then a “biometric service fee” which covers items such as fingerprints and a background check. There is not a flat fee for all applications and ultimately the total cost is determined by the age of an applicant.
The USCIS divides the applicants into four categories with total costs differing in each category
- “Under 14 years old and filing with the I-485 application of at least one parent”
Those in this category will pay a $750 form fee and their biometric services are free.
- “Under 14 years old and not filing with the I-485 applications of at least one parent”
Those in this category will pay a $1,140 form fee and their biometric services are free.
- “Ages 14-78”: Applicants in this category will pay a form fee of $1,140 as well as $85 for their biometric services.
- “Age 79 or Older”: Applicants who are older than 79 will pay $1,140 for their form fee and their biometric services are free.
For applicants who have been admitted to live in the U.S. as refugees, your form and biometric service fees are waived and there is no money due when submitting an application.
What Do I Need to Submit With My Form I-485?
The USCIS recommends that applicant review this checklist before completion and submission of Form I-485. The following material are examples of items the USCIS recommends applicants include when submitting Form I-485:
- Two passport style photographs
- A copy of government-issued identity document with photograph
- A copy of your birth certificate
- Form I-864
These are only some of the required materials for submission of Form I-485. Applicants should visit the USCIS checklist and ensure that they have all the required materials before submitting their form; failure to submit the proper documents can cause costly delays and possibly a denial of application.
Form I-360 and I 485 are two separate and completely different applications. Form I-360 is for “special immigrants” who are not looking to adjust their residency status, but are instead desiring to legally remain in the United States.
The USCIS classifies “special immigrants” the following way:
- An Amerasian (Born after 12/31/1950 and before 10/23/1982);
- The widow(er) of a U.S. citizen;
- The abused spouse or child of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident;
- The abused parent of a U.S. citizen; or
- A special immigrant. A special immigrant is defined as one of the following:
- Religious Worker
- Panama Canal Company Employee, Canal Zone Government Employee, U.S. Government in the Canal Zone Employee;
- International Organization or NATO-6 Employee or Family Member;
- Juvenile Declared Dependent on a juvenile court;
- U.S. armed forces member;
- Afghan or Iraqi national who worked for or on behalf of the U.S. government as a translator;
- Iraqi national who worked for or on behalf of the U.S. government in Iraq or
- An Afghan national who worked for or on behalf of the U.S. government or the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.
If an applicant is considered to be a special immigrant they are allowed to file form I-360 and following its approval are allowed to remain in the United States if they applied while residing in the U.S.
Can I File I-360 and I-485 Together?
Forms I-360 and I-485 can be filed simultaneously depending on the location of where an applicant files. If the applicant lives outside of the U.S., they are ineligible to file both forms concurrently. If the applicant resides in the U.S. they may file both forms simultaneously.
Individuals residing outside of the U.S. who are considered to be special immigrants can file form I-360. Once form I-360 has been approved by the USCIS, an individual may apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate near them.
Can I Stay in the US While My I-485 is Being Processed?
While an application is being processed, so long as it was filed inside of the U.S. the applicant is allowed to stay. Applicants who are waiting for a decision are not yet considered permanent residents and their travels outside of the U.S. can cause their application to be denied.
Need Help Becoming a Legal Permanent Resident in Arizona?
The process of becoming a legal permanent resident can often be stressful due to the confusing amount of countless papers needing to be filed without error. Having an experienced attorney assist you throughout the application process can speed it up as well as prevent you from making costly mistakes.
America is a country that was founded by immigrants such as yourself. If you wish to be more than a legal permanent resident, legal services provided by an attorney will assist you on your path.
Call our Immigration team at(480) 626-2388 to discuss your case today.
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