Form I-485 Instructions

Form I-485 Instructions

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What is Form I-485 used for?

  • Form I-485, is an immigration form officially known as the “Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status” 
  • It is used by individuals located in the U.S. who are seeking to become lawful permanent residents (green card holders)
  • This form is filed by individuals who are already in the U.S. on a temporary basis (nonimmigrant visas), and wish to adjust their status to that of a lawful permanent resident
  • Depending on the category, Form I-485 can be filed:
    • After an immigrant petition (such as Form I-130 or Form I-140) has been approved, or 
    • Concurrently (for example, Form I-130 + I-485 at the same time) – if eligible

How do you qualify for Form I-485?

To qualify for Form I-485, an individual needs to meet certain eligibility criteria. 

The specific requirements vary based on the immigrant category under which they are applying for permanent residency. 

Here are some common eligibility criteria:

  • Approved Immigrant Petition: 
    • Generally, the applicant must have an approved immigrant petition (such as Form I-130 for family-based immigration or Form I-140 for employment-based immigration)
    • Some categories of immigrants are eligible to file immigrant petition and Form I-485 concurrently (at the same time), without waiting for the immigrant petition to be approved
  • Priority Date Current: 
    • The applicant’s priority date (the date their immigrant petition was filed) must be current according to the USCIS Adjustment of Status Filing Charts from the Visa Bulletin
    • Exception: Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens (spouses, unmarried children under 21 and parents) are not subject to the priority date wait time. Their visa number is always current
  • Eligibility Category: The applicant must qualify under one of the eligible immigrant categories, such as:
  • Admissibility: The applicant must be admissible to the United States. This means they cannot be inadmissible due to:
    • Certain criminal convictions
    • Immigration violations
    • Health-related issues
    • Security concerns (terrorism), etc.
  • Physical Presence in the U.S.: The applicant must be physically present in the U.S. at the time of filing Form I-485
  • Lawful Entry: The applicants must prove their lawful entry into the U.S. (for example, entry on a valid visa)
  • Maintenance of Status: Applicants must have maintained lawful nonimmigrant status while in the U.S., unless they are eligible to certain exceptions available for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens
  • 90-Day Rule: Most applicants must comply with the so-called “90-Day Rule” prior to filing Form I-485 (exceptions: H, L, O, P, E-1, E-2, K-1 visa holders)
  • Completion of Medical Examination: Applicants are required to undergo a medical examination by a designated civil surgeon and submit Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, along with Form I-485
  • Biometrics: Applicants are required to attend a biometrics appointment to provide fingerprints, photographs, and signatures as part of the background check process

Learn more about Form I-485 eligibility: Adjustment of Status (AOS)

What are the steps in the Form I-485 process?

The process of filing Form I-485 involves the following steps:

Step 1. Eligibility Determination: 

Step 2. Gather Required Documents: 

  • Collect all necessary documents, including applicant’s long-form birth certificate, I-94, U.S. visa, passport, medical examination, etc.
  • See the full checklist of Form I-485 documents required 

Step 3. File Immigrant petition & Wait for Priority Date

  • Some applicants will need to have an immigrant petition (for example, Form I-130 or I-140) to be filed on their behalf first
  • Some applicants are eligible for concurrently filing (for example, immediate relatives of US citizens)
  • If eligible for concurrent filing, an immigrant petition and Form I-485 can be filed together
  • If not eligible for concurrent filing, the applicant must wait until their priority date becomes current, before they can file Form I-485
  • You can check if your priority date is current on the USCIS website: Adjustment of Status Filing Charts from the Visa Bulletin

Step 4. File Form I-485: 

Step 5. Receipt Notice: 

  • USCIS will mail a receipt notice confirming the acceptance of Form I-485 application
  • This notice contains a receipt number, which can be used to track the status of the application online

Step 6. Biometrics Appointment: 

  • USCIS will send a notice with the biometrics appointment date and location
  • Attend a biometrics appointment at a USCIS Application Support Center (ASC) to provide fingerprints, photographs, and signatures for background checks

Step 7. Request for Evidence (RFE) (if applicable): 

  • If additional documentation is required by USCIS, they will issue a Request for Evidence (RFE)
  • Respond to the RFE within the specified deadline with the requested document(s)

Step 8. Interview (if applicable): 

  • Some applicants (such as marriage-based) may be required to attend an interview at a USCIS office
  • The interview is typically conducted to verify the information provided in the application and assess the applicant’s eligibility for adjustment of status
  • Some applicants are not required to attend an interview (for example, parents of US citizens)

Step 9. Decision: 

  • USCIS will adjudicate the Form I-485 application and issue a decision approving or denying permanent residency
  • If approved, the applicant will receive a notice of approval (Form I-797) 
  • A permanent resident card (green card) will be mailed to the applicant’s address

Step 10. Appeal or Motion (if applicable): 

  • If the Form I-485 application is denied, the applicant may have an option to file a motion to reopen or reconsider the case (Form I-290B)
  • Typically, there is no appeal of the Form I-485 denial notice

Step 11. Conditional Permanent Residency (if applicable): 

  • In certain cases, such as marriage-based immigration and immigrant investors, the permanent residency granted may be conditional
  • Conditional green cards are valid for 2 years only (vs. regular green cards that are issued for 10 years)
  • Conditional permanent residents must file a petition to remove conditions 90 days before the conditional green card’s expiration date:
    • Form I-751 for marriage-based cases, or
    • Form I-829 for immigrant investors (EB-5)

How to fill out Form I-485

See our step-by-step instructions on completing Form I-485: How to Fill Out Form I-485

Documents to submit with Form I-485

See the full checklist of documents to submit with Form I-485: Form I-485 Checklist of Required Documents

Form I-485 filing fees

Important: USCIS will increase Form I-485 filing fees on April 01, 2024, see more.

The filing fee for Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, varies depending on the applicant’s age:

Age Form I-485 fee Biometrics fee Total fee per 1 applicant
Under 14 and filing with the Form I-485

application of at least 1 parent

$750 $0 $750
Under 14 and not filing with the Form I-485 application of at least one parent $1,140 $0 $1,140
Age 14–78 $1,140 $85 $1,225
Age 79 or older $1,140 $0 $1,140
Based on refugee status $0 $0 $0

Fee waiver:

  • Some applicants may be eligible for a fee waiver
  • If your fee waiver is approved, you do not need to pay the Form I-485 filing fee
  • Learn more: Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver

How long does it take for Form I-485 to be approved?

The processing time for Form I-485 can vary depending on several factors such as:

  • Workload of the USCIS office
  • Applicant’s category (immediate relatives’ applications can be processed faster)
  • Completeness of the application
  • Requests for additional evidence (RFEs)

Source: USCIS Processing Times

Family-Based Form I-485 Processing Time

Application center Processing time
Agana GU 8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Albany NY 8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Albuquerque NM 8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Anchorage AK 8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Atlanta GA 9 Months to 29 Months
Baltimore MD 13.5 Months to 38.5 Months
Boise ID 8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Boston MA 7 Months to 21.5 Months
Brooklyn NY 12.5 Months to 31.5 Months
Buffalo NY 8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Charleston SC 10 Months to 31 Months
Charlotte Amalie VI 8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Charlotte NC 8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Chicago IL 6 Months to 28.5 Months
Christiansted VI 8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Cincinnati OH 8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Cleveland OH 8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Columbus OH 8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Dallas TX 8 Months to 23 Months
Denver CO 7.5 Months to 23 Months
Des Moines IA 8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Detroit MI 6.5 Months to 12.5 Months
El Paso TX 5.5 Months to 11.5 Months
Fort Myers FL 8.5 Months to 27 Months
Fort Smith AR 8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Fresno CA 6 Months to 10.5 Months
Greer SC 8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Harlingen TX 6.5 Months to 16 Months
Hartford CT 10.5 Months to 22.5 Months
Helena MT 8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Hialeah FL 8.5 Months to 23 Months
Honolulu HI 8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Houston TX 12.5 Months to 31.5 Months
Imperial CA 8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Indianapolis IN 9 Months to 27.5 Months
Jacksonville FL 8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Kansas City MO 6.5 Months to 23.5 Months
Kendall FL 10 Months to 31.5 Months
Las Vegas NV 8 Months to 22.5 Months
Lawrence MA 7.5 Months to 29 Months
Long Island NY 7.5 Months to 27 Months
Los Angeles CA 7 Months to 23 Months
Los Angeles County CA 8.5 Months to 23 Months
Louisville KY 8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Manchester NH 8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Memphis Tennessee 6 Months to 11 Months
Miami FL 21.5 Months to 40.5 Months
Milwaukee WI 8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Minneapolis-St. Paul MN 8 Months to 21.5 Months
Montgomery AL 7 Months to 17.5 Months
Mount Laurel NJ 8 Months to 22 Months
Nashville TN 8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Newark NJ 11 Months to 22.5 Months
New Orleans LA 8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
New York City NY 12.5 Months to 32 Months
Norfolk VA 7 Months to 18.5 Months
Oakland Park FL 12.5 Months to 34 Months
Oklahoma City OK 8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Omaha NE 8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Orlando FL 9.5 Months to 23 Months
Philadelphia PA 8 Months to 25.5 Months
Phoenix AZ 9 Months to 29 Months
Pittsburgh PA 8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Portland ME 8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Portland OR 8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Providence RI 8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Queens NY 10 Months to 26.5 Months
Raleigh NC 7 Months to 27 Months
Reno NV 8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Sacramento CA 11.5 Months to 22.5 Months
Saint Albans VT 8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Saint Louis MO 8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Salt Lake City UT 8.5 Months to 21 Months
San Antonio TX 7.5 Months to 15 Months
San Bernardino CA 6 Months to 14 Months
San Diego CA 7 Months to 15.5 Months
San Fernando Valley CA 7 Months to 19 Months
San Francisco CA 11 Months to 25 Months
San Jose CA 11.5 Months to 21 Months
San Juan PR 8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Santa Ana CA 9.5 Months to 20.5 Months
Seattle WA 17.5 Months to 26.5 Months
Spokane WA 8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Tampa FL 8 Months to 19 Months
Tucson AZ 8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Washington DC 12 Months to 21.5 Months
West Palm Beach FL 10 Months to 32 Months
Wichita KS 8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Yakima WA 8.5 Months to 25.5 Months

Employment-Based Form I-485 Processing Time

Application center Processing time
All application centers 8.5 Months to 27.5 Months

Asylum-Based Form I-485 Processing Time

Application center Processing time
Nebraska Service Center 7 Months to 31 Months
Texas Service Center 7 Months to 31 Months

Refugee-Based Form I-485 Processing Times

Application center Processing time
Nebraska Service Center 9.5 Months to 13.5 Months

Under HRIFA, Indochinese Adjustment Act, Legal Immigration and Family Equity Act, or NACARA Form I-485 Processing Times

Application center Processing time
Nebraska Service Center 14.5 Months to 64 Months

Based on an approved T Visa Form I-485 Processing Times

Application center Processing time
Vermont Service Center 34.5 Months

Based on an approved U Visa Form I-485 Processing Times

Application center Processing time
Nebraska 22 Months
Vermont Service Center 28 Months

To check the most current processing times for Form I-485:

Keep in mind that processing times are general estimates, and individual cases may take less or more time to complete.

Additionally, USCIS may issue Requests for Evidence (RFEs) during the processing of your application, which can add to the overall processing time. 

It’s crucial to respond promptly and thoroughly if you receive an RFE to avoid delays.

If your case is outside the normal processing time, you place an Outside Normal Processing Time e-Request or request assistance from your local congressman’s office.

Form I-485 EAD processing time

The processing time for Form I-485-based Employment Authorization Document (EAD), can vary depending on factors such as:

  • Workload of the USCIS office
  • Your EAD category
  • Completeness of the application
  • Requests for additional evidence (RFEs) 

Form I-765 (EAD) Processing Time

Category USCIS Service Center Average processing time
Based on a pending I-485 Adjustment of Status (c)(9) California Service Center
  • 5.5 months
National Benefits Center
  • 7.5 months
Nebraska Service Center
  • 3.5 months
Texas Service Center
  • 10 months
Vermont Service Center
  • 9.5 months

What happens if Form I-485 is denied?

  • If Form I-485 is denied by USCIS the applicant will be informed of the reasons
  • There is no appeal of a Form I-485 denial
  • Applicant can file a motion to reopen or reconsider with USCIS (Form I-290B)
  • If the applicant is placed in removal (deportation) proceedings, applicants can reapply for Adjustment of Status before an immigration judge

Related Links:

How to Fill Out Form I-485

Form I-485 Checklist of Required Documents

Adjustment of Status (AOS)

The 90 Day Rule and Adjustment of Status