The Form I-485
1. The Process of U.S. Permanent Residency (Green Card) Application
The following is the process for an alien applicant to seek U.S. permanent residency:
1) The alien applicant should first file Form I-140 application, Petition for Alien Worker, and also submit required evidence to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
2) Upon approval of Form I-140, the alien beneficiary should file Form I-485 application for adjustment of status, when an immigrant visa number is available for the alien beneficiary.
3) If the From I-485 application is approved by USCIS, the alien beneficiary is granted U.S. permanent resident status, and will receive a permanent resident card (Green Card) in mail.
2. Adjusting to United States Permanent Resident
After your I-140 petition approval, the Form I-485 is used to apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to adjust your status to U.S. permanent resident. You may apply to adjust your status if an immigrant visa number is immediately available to you, based on an approved I-140 Form. An adjustment of status application is filed by a beneficiary of an approved immigrant visa petition. The adjustment application is filed after the receipt of an immigrant visa approval notice from the USCIS.
When an immigrant visa number becomes available, you can file an I-485 Adjustment of Status application to adjust your status from non-immigrant status to U.S. permanent resident. You need to provide personal information and your dependent information to the USCIS, and USCIS will use the information to determine if there is any reason why permanent residence should not be granted.
When you send your I-485 application to USCIS, you may also submit the I-765 form for Employment Authorization Document (EAD) application, if you and your spouse want to work in the United States while your I-485 application is in process.
If you have applied for adjustment of status and want to travel abroad while the I-485 application is pending, you may need permission to return to the United States after traveling abroad. If you do not apply for Advance Parole before you leave the U.S. and your current status in U.S. is not H or L, you may be abandoning your I-485 application with the USCIS, and upon your return, you may be refused admission to the United States.
3. The General Requirements of I-485 Application and an Applicant's Prior Inspection
The I-485 application of adjustment of status refers to the procedure for becoming a lawful U.S. permanent resident without having to leave the United States. It should be distinguished from the traditional method of gaining permanent residence which involves applying for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consular abroad. Adjustment of status is discussed at §245 of the Immigration and Nationality Act ("INA"). According to INA §245(a), the status of an alien who was inspected and admitted or paroled into the United States may be adjusted.
An alien applicant can be lawfully adjusted as U.S. permanent residence if:
the alien makes an I-485 application for such adjustment;
the alien is eligible to receive an immigrant visa, and is admissible to the United States for permanent residence, and
an immigrant visa is immediately available to at the time that the I-485 application is filed.
An immigrant visa must be immediately available to the alien at the time his or her I-485 application for status adjustment is filed. The Department of State's Visa Bulletin shows the priority date for each immigrant category. If an adjustment application is properly filed at the time that the individual's visa priority date is current but the priority subsequently retrogresses before the case is adjudicated, the adjustment cannot be completed.
The basic eligibility for adjustment of status requires the applicant's prior inspection and admission or parole into the United States. The USCIS officer must have a "full and fair opportunity" to conduct the inspection before the alien is considered "inspected". An alien who enters U.S. based on an intentional false claim will not be considered as being "inspected."
The "admission" occurs when the inspecting officer informs the alien that he or she is admissible and is permitted to pass through the port of entry. Generally, the alien's I-94 or the USCIS stamp in the alien's passport are proof of inspection and admission. However, a sworn affidavit or a copy of the alien's airplane ticket may be used where an I-94 or admission stamp is not ordinarily issued to the alien, such as for visa-exempt aliens.
4. The I-485 Adjustment Applications for Dependent Children or Spouse
You must have a residential address in the United States to file an I-485 status adjustment application. The adjustment applications may be filed by dependent children or spouse in the United States with the principal immigrant visa beneficiary. The dependent family members may adjust at the same time as, or any time after, the principal immigrant adjustment. The dependent family members overseas must request a "following to join" immigrant visa processing through a U.S. embassy or a consulate.
If you have spouse or child in the United States, your spouse and child may file their Form I-485 adjustment of status applications concurrently with your Form I-485, or file the Form I-485 at anytime after your I-485 is filed, if a visa number is available. If your spouse or child is not in the United States, you should file the Form I-824, Application for Action on an Approved Application, concurrently with your adjustment of status application to allow your spouse or child to immigrate to the United States without delay.
You need to attach a copy of the I-140 approval notice, which makes a visa number immediately available to you and your family members. An I-485 filing fee is required for each applicant. A separate fee for fingerprinting may also be required when the applicant is present in the United States.
5. The Immigration Medical Examination for I-485 Status Adjustment Application
A medical examination is a general requirement for an alien immigrant. The main purpose of the immigration medical examination is to make sure that the alien immigrant is admissible for not having a significant physical diseases or mental disorder of public health. For example, the tuberculosis can be a problem for immigration examination, which could be communicable or not be cured for a short time. The doctor may also ask you some questions, take a chest X-ray, and draw blood.
USCIS Form I-693 is also called Medical Examination of Aliens Seeking Adjustment of Status. It is used for aliens to have medical examination in U.S., in order to receive a U.S. green card or lawful permanent residence, through the procedure known as Adjustment of Status. The Adjustment of Status is a process to complete the entire green card application in the United States with the USCIS, including the possible interview. The Form I-693 must be completed by a USCIS designated doctor inside U.S.
The alien applicant needs to fill the Part I of the Form I-693. The alien applicant only needs to file simple information in Part I, such as name, gender, U.S. address, date of birth, place and country of birth, alien registration number (A number) and the Social Security Number (SSN) if you have one. An alien may have the A number, if he or she has applied for other immigration benefits previously.
- There is a place for the alien applicant's signature at the bottom of Part 1. But you should not sign it before you see the USCIS designated doctor, and you should sign it only until the Doctor asks you to to so.
After the examination, the doctor should fill Form I-693 - Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, to document the results of your medical exam. The doctor should sign the Form I-693, and seal the form in an envelope. You must submit the sealed envelope to USCIS, together with your other I-485 application documents.
6. What Conditions Would Make an Alien Applicant Inadmissible on Medical Ground
Many U.S. green card applicants need to have an immigration medical examination, and pay an exam fee to get immigration medical examination results, using USCIS Form I-693 (Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record). The immigration medical examination must be done when applying for an U.S. immigrant visa from overseas, or applying to adjust status inside the U.S. The purpose of the medical exam is to determine if an alien applicant has any health conditions that need attention prior to immigrating.
The following conditions would make an alien applicant inadmissible on medical reasons:
1) Alien applicants who are found to have a communicable disease of public health significance, including, chancroid; gonorrhea; granuloma inguinale; HIV/AIDS; infectious leprosy; lymphogranuloma venereum; infectious state syphilis; and infectious tuberculosis.
2) Immigrant visa and adjustment of applicants who have not received all of the required vaccinations.
3) Alien applicants who have current physical or mental disorders, with harmful behavior associated with that disorder, or past physical or mental disorders, with associated harmful behavior that is likely to recur or lead to other harmful behavior.4) Alien applicants who are found to be drug abusers or drug addicts
There are other medical conditions, which can be categorized as Class B, and include physical or mental abnormalities, diseases, or serious/permanent disabilities. The waivers can be granted for Class B medical conditions. While it is natural to worry about the outcome of the exam, an alien applicant should be prepared to helping you relax.
There are a few exceptions, such as refugees and fiances adjusting status who are usually for situations where the person already had a medical exam overseas, as a condition of coming to the United States, and therefore does not need to repeat the exam for the next application. But the person might need to provide evidence of up-to-date vaccinations.
7. How to Find a Medical Doctor for the Form I-485 Medical Examination
When an alien immigrant applys for Green Card by using Form I-485 for adjustment of status, the alien applicant should have a medical examination. The medical examination can be done by a medical doctor who is authorized by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The authorized medical doctors are called also civil surgeons.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has launched an improved online application, called "Find a Doctor" (https://my.uscis.gov/findadoctor), to assist applicants for U.S. permanent residence (Green Card) find doctors authorized to provide the medical examination required for Form I-485 applications for adjustment of status. The website also provides useful information regarding the medical examination process in the immigration context.
Many I-485 applicants need to undergo a medical exam performed by a USCIS authorized civil surgeon. Upon completion of the exam, the medical doctor will complete the report of medical examination and vaccination record (Form I-693), places it in a sealed envelope, and provides it to the alien applicant. This sealed envelope must accompany the Form I-485. The USCIS also now issues Requests For Evidence (RFEs) on long-pending I-485s to ask for updated medical examinations.
The "Find a Doctor" web tool provides the names and contact information for authorized civil surgeons in the area based on the address or zip code provided by the individual. It also lists what documents applicants should bring to their respective appointments and briefly explains the medical tests conducted during the exams.
8. The Form I-485 Status Adjustment Application Process
The From I-485 adjustment process involves the investigation of an individual's identity, health, criminal background, and the ability to support him or herself in the United States. The employment-based adjustment applications must be filed at a USCIS Service Center.
The burden of Form I-485 status adjustment application approval rests with the petitioner. The petitioner should provide substantial evidence to meet the regulation requirements. If the alien beneficiary is qualified, then the success depends largely on the way the application is presented to USCIS.
Which USCIS Service Center with jurisdiction is determined by the applicant's residential address. The interviews are usually waived for employment-based immigrants, but can be required at the discretion of the USCIS. The interviews will probably be required for adjustment applicants who have failed to maintain a legal nonimmigrant status. There is a Form I-485 filing fee for anyone 14 years of age or over. For applicants under the age of 14, the fee is reduced.
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9. USCIS Form I-864 Affidavit of Support
If you have family members as your dependents to file Form I-485 applications after the employment-based Foprm I-140 approval, then you should file a Form I-864 as your financial support for your dependents.
The Form I-864 is legally required for many family-based and some employment based immigrants to show they will have adequate means of support after immigration to the U.S. Generally, the following intending immigrants need an Affidavit of Support:
1) Applicants for family-based immigrant visas;
2) Applicants for employment-based immigrant visas where a relative filed the immigrant visa petition.
USCIS Form I-864 Affidavit of Support is a contract between a sponsor and the U.S. Government. Completing and signing Form I-864 makes the sponsor, and show on this affidavit that the sponsor have enough income or assets to maintain the intending immigrant and the rest of sponsor's household at 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. By signing Form I-864, the sponsor agrees to use resources to support the intending immigrant named in the affidavit, if it becomes necessary.
An affidavit of support is a document an individual signs to accept financial responsibility for another person, usually a relative, who is coming to the United States to live permanently. The person who signs the affidavit of support becomes the sponsor of the relative coming to live in U.S. The sponsor is usually the petitioner of an immigrant petition for a family member. An affidavit of support is legally enforceable; the sponsor's responsibility usually lasts until the family member or other individual either becomes a U.S. citizen, or can be credited with 40 quarters of work - usually 10 years.
As the person completing Form I-864, you are the sponsor. By signing this form, you agree to financially support an immigrant who applies for adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident. In most cases, the sponsor must be the individual who filed the immigrant petition for the intending immigrant.
If the individual who filed the visa petitioner or a substitute sponsor signs this form, but is unable to meet the financial requirements, another individual must also sign a separate form as a joint sponsor to meet the financial requirements. Each sponsor needs to submit taxes and W2’s if he or she is not using an IRS printout, or provide a reason for not filing taxes.
The submission of this affidavit may make the sponsored immigrant ineligible for certain Federal, state, or local meanstested public benefits, because an agency that provides means-tested public benefits will consider the sponsor's resources and assets as available to the sponsored immigrant when determining his or her eligibility for the program.
If the immigrant sponsored in the affidavit does receive one of the designated Federal, state or local means-tested public benefits, the agency providing the benefit may request that the sponsor to repay the cost of those benefits. That agency can sue the sponsor if the cost of the benefits provided is not repaid.
A joint sponsor is someone who is willing to accept legal responsibility for supporting the family member with you. A joint sponsor must meet all the same requirements as you, except the joint sponsor does not need to be related to the immigrant. The joint sponsor, or the joint sponsor and his or her household, must reach the 125% income requirement alone. You cannot combine your income with that of a joint sponsor to meet the income requirement.
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