Adjustment of Status is the process by which you change from a non-immigrant status (B-2 visa, undocumented, K-1, etc…) to that of a lawful permanent resident. Once you’ve determined that you qualify to adjust your status within the United States, you can then begin the process of applying for your lawful permanent residency. There are a group of five forms that you’ll file when applying for your lawful permanent residency.
I-485, Application to Adjust Status
The I-485 is the actual application for your residency. Through this application, immigration will check for grounds of inadmissibility, or things that would preclude you from getting your green card. A few common grounds of inadmissibility are certain criminal convictions, helping someone enter the United States without permission and prior deportation orders. You should speak with a knowledgeable immigration attorney before applying for adjustment of status.
I-864, Affidavit of Support
The Affidavit of support is used to preempt a ground of inadmissibility known as the ‘public charge.’ The I-864 is sort of like an insurance policy that there is someone in the United States who can economically support the intending immigrant until the intending immigrant can support themselves.
The person who filed the underlying I-130 (known as the petitioner) MUST be the primary economic sponsor. Generally speaking, the Petitioner has to show that they earn 125% of the poverty level. If they do not, you’ll need a joint sponsor, or in some instances you can use the intending immigrant’s income, a household member’s income, or personal assets. Please note that there are special income guidelines for active military, and those living in Alaska and Hawaii. Please consult the I-864p for the current poverty guidelines. The Affidavit of Support can be complicated, and you should consult an experienced attorney before filling it out.
I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
By filing form I-485, you are eligible to file form I-765, application for work authorization. This application will be processed independently from your I-485, and you should receive your work permit while your I-485 is pending. Authorization to work can be a huge benefit to an intending immigrant as with a work permit you can obtain a social security number, which may help you obtain a driver’s license (although in some states you do not need a SSN to obtain a driver’s license).
I-131, Application for a Travel Document
Once you file the I-485, you cannot leave the country or your application will be deemed abandoned. The I-131, Application for Advance Parole, is the application for permission to leave and return to the United States while your I-485 is pending. Even if the I-131 is granted, in certain situations, a person shouldn’t leave the country while their I-485 is pending. Please consult a knowledgeable attorney before filing for and leaving the country with advance parole.
I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record
An immigration certified doctor will conduct a medical exam and fill this form out on your behalf. Immigration wants to ensure that no applicant has a communicable disease and that all applicants are current on their vaccines. You can find a list of USCIS civil surgeons here.
Typically, when filing your adjustment of status application package, the applications will be filed concurrently (together). Always check the ‘edition date’ of a form, before submission, as USCIS periodically updates forms.
If you would like information about adjusting your status in the United States, please contact an immigration attorney who is trustworthy and knowledgeable! Our attorneys at Landerholm Immigration, APC, are experienced in family-based immigration cases. Please feel free to call us at (510) 491-0291 to see how we can help!