This post shows a list of documents required for I-485 petition (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) and optional petitions I-765 (Employment Authorization Document) and I-131 (Advance Parole Document). This is easier part of National Interest Waiver green card process – very straightforward and quickly completed in opposite to I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker).
We did not file our I-485 petitions together with I-140 (non-concurrent filing). Instead of that we waited till our I-140 was approved. The reason for that are money. If we file concurrently, meaning I-140 together with I-485, we would risk losing all the fees (thousands of dollars) if the case is denied. On the other hand concurrent filing may save significant amount of time and allows for immediate filing for work and travel permit (I-765 and I-131).
Can I apply to adjust status (I-485)?
USCIS states that you may apply to adjust your status if an immigrant visa number is immediately available to you based on an approved immigrant petition. Read the Visa Bulletin “Employment – Based Preferences” at Department of State website to ensure your priority date is current before you file your application.
Following documents may be included in I-485 petition.
We added signed petition letters explaining what documents are in the package and how it is organized.
Form I-485 (Adjustment of Status)
Current version of the form I-485 must be properly filled and signed. I-485 application must be submitted with the required initial evidence described below.
Filing fee for form I-485 is currently $985 and additional biometrics fee is $85 (required for applicants ages 14 to 78), in total $1070 per person. Please check current fees at USCIS instructions. USCIS states that you may submit one check or money order for both the application and biometrics fees. Make the check or money order payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security (NOT just USDHS or DHS).
USCIS further informs: if you file Form I-485 to adjust your status as a permanent resident on or after July 30, 2007, no additional fee is required to also file an application for employment authorization on Form I-765 and/or advance parole on Form I-131.
Initial evidence – general tips
USCIS website says that unless specifically required, a legible photocopy may be submitted, originals will not automatically be returned. Please note that submitted evidence mentioned below are copies of documents not originals.
Any document containing a foreign language submitted to USCIS must be accompanied by a full English language translation which the translator has certified as complete and accurate, and by the translator’s certification that he or she is competent to translate from the foreign language into English.
Copies of following documents should be submitted:
- birth certificate with certified translation if necessary
- passport page with biometric data
Evidence of Eligibility
USCIS says: attach a copy of the approval notice for an immigrant petition that makes a visa number immediately available to you, or submit a complete relative petition that, if approved, will make a visa number immediately available to you.
Since we filed I-485 non-concurrently we have attached approval notice (I-797) of my husband’s I-140 (National Interest Waiver).
Documents regarding non-immigrant status
Applicant must prove that his / her non-immigrant status was properly maintained. We submitted copies of:
- approval notices I-797 of current and all previous non-immigrant statuses
- current and all previous I-94 forms (front and back)
- current and all previous visa stickers from passport
- paychecks from employer – we submitted all paychecks but we have read that sometimes people submit only recent paychecks
Two identical color photographs of applicant taken within 30 days of the filing of this application are required. These photos must meet following criteria:
- passport-style photos (2″ x 2″)
- head height should measure 1″ to 1 3/8″ from top of hair to bottom of chin
- eye height is between 1 1/8″ to 1 3/8″ from bottom of photo
- white to off-white background
- printed on thin paper with a glossy finish
- unmounted and unretouched
- lightly printed applicant’s name and Alien Registration Number (A-Number) on the back side
Form G-325A (Biographic Information)
Applicants between 14 and 79 years of age must submit filled and signed current version of form G-325A. After you have filed this application, USCIS will notify you in writing of the time and location where you must go to be fingerprinted.
We received written invitation in 2 weeks after sending our I-485 packages to USCIS and went for fingerprinting after another 2 weeks to USCIS field office close to the place we lived.
Form I-693 (Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record)
Only a doctor who is currently specially designated by USCIS as a civil surgeon may perform the medical exam and complete the form I-693. You can find civil surgeon by entering your ZIP code at USCIS locator website.
The applicant is responsible for paying all costs of the medical exam, including the cost of any follow-up tests or treatment that may be required. We paid $200 per person.
The whole procedure took us 2 days to get completed form I-693 but it might be longer depending on applicant’s results. Note that the results of the medical examination are generally valid for only 12 months.
Applicant must print current version of form I-693 and fill out (black ink) only Part 1 and identifying information at the top of each page (name and A-number if any) before he / she goes to medical exam.
USCIS further requires: do not sign the form until the civil surgeon tells you to sign. You must sign Form I-693 in the presence of the civil surgeon. The civil surgeon will ask you to verify your identity. Take a government-issued photo identification to your appointment – valid unexpired passport or driver’s license or birth certificate (with translation, if necessary) etc. Also take any vaccination records you may have to the appointment. Our civil surgeon accepted international vaccination record (in English) as a proof of earlier vaccinations from our home country.
The actual medical exam didn’t take more than one hour. They made a Tuberculin Skin Test (TST) first and then some usual steps like listening of deep breath etc.
Doctor also confirmed that we don’t need any other vaccination based on our international vaccination record. USCIS requires vaccinations to prevent following diseases:
- haemophilus influenzae type b
- hepatitis A
- hepatitis B
But several of these vaccinations are not recommended for adults and thus it is not required to have all of them. Civil surgeon will evaluate what vaccines are medically appropriate for you and can administer them to you.
Another medical conditions which are evaluated and may potentially affect the final qualification for immigration are:
- communicable diseases of public health significance (in addition to tuberculosis and syphilis) – chancroid, granuloma inguinale, gonorrhea, lymphogranuloma venereum, leprosy
- physical or mental disorders with harmful behavior
- drug abuse or addiction
Civil surgeon sent us to another facility to make syphilis blood test. Results were sent back to civil surgeon afterwards.
After two days we went to follow-up exam to civil surgeon’s office – they checked the reaction on TST made previously. The marks on our skin were within the limits so chest x-ray wasn’t required.
We proceeded to final paperwork. We were allowed to check everything in the form before they sealed it. Despite this fact we missed some minor mistakes – unfilled parts which should be filled, not appropriate marks on sealed envelopes etc. However those didn’t have any effect on final result of our Permanent Residency application.
Next time I would study official instructions more carefully and take them with me to show it to the staff if necessary (they should know them but it doesn’t prevent the paperwork from mistakes). Here are the most important points from USCIS instructions:
- civil surgeon will fill out Worksheet, summarize the results in Part 2 and include the results of any lab work
- civil surgeon will give a copy of the completed and signed Form I-693 and any supporting documentation to the applicant
- civil surgeon will place the original of the completed and signed Form I-693 and any supporting documentation into an envelope, and then seal the envelope; on the front of the envelope will write in capital letters: ” DO NOT OPEN. FOR USCIS USE ONLY.”; on the back of the envelope will write his / her initials across the seal where the flap of the envelope and the envelope meet; and will seal the entire flap with clear cellophane tape – USCIS will not accept Form I-693 if it is not in a sealed envelope
We submitted letter on employer’s letterhead that mentioned job title, institution, salary and duties (all information corresponded with data filled in all forms).
Documents regarding dependents
USCIS allows filing: based on derivative status as the spouse or child of another adjustment applicant.
Our both petitions (main applicant’s and dependent’s) included also documents showing our relationships: marriage certificate, birth certificate of our daughter (mentioned in the forms) etc.
Copies of documents showing the legal termination of all other marriages must be also included if applicable.
Form I-765 (Employment Authorization Document)
Applicant may submit this optional petition to get faster work permit. Properly filled and signed current version of the form I-765 must be accompanied by following documents:
- copy of applicant’s last EAD (front and back); if no prior EAD, applicant must submit a copy of a government-issued identity document showing applicant’s picture, name and date of birth (for example passport, visa, birth certificate with photo ID, national ID document with photo and/or fingerprint etc.)
- two identical color photographs of applicant taken within 30 days of the filing of this application (same requirements as in the case of I-485 petition already mentioned above)
Form I-131 (Advance Parole Document)
This optional petition serves for travel purposes outside of the United States. According to USCIS form instructions: if you are in the United States and have applied for adjustment of status to that of a lawful permanent resident, your application will be deemed abandoned if you leave the United States without first obtaining an Advance Parole Document.
Your application for adjustment of status generally will not be deemed abandoned, even if you do not apply for an Advance Parole Document before traveling abroad while an adjustment application is pending, if you currently are in one of the following nonimmigrant classifications, and remain eligible for and would be admissible in one of the following categories upon applying for admission at a port-of-entry:
- H-1 temporary worker, or H-4 spouse or child of an H-1
- L-1 intracompany transferee, or L-2 spouse or child of an L-1
- K-3 spouse, or K-4 child of a U.S. citizen
- V-1 spouse, or V-2/V-3 child of a lawful permanent resident
USCIS requires filled and signed current version of the form I-131 and following initial evidence:
- copy of an official photo identity document showing your photo, name, and date of birth (Employment Authorization Document, valid government-issued driver’s license, passport identity page etc.)
- copy of any document issued to you by USCIS showing your present status
- explanation or other evidence showing the circumstances that warrant issuance of an Advance Parole Document; or copy of a USCIS receipt as evidence that you filed the adjustment application
- two identical color photographs of you taken within 30 days of the filing of this application (same requirements as in the case of I-485 already mentioned above)
Please note, that this is not a complete list of documents which might be needed. USCIS requires to submit another documents for example arrest or conviction record, police clearances etc. However, these documents are usually not applicable for typical National Interest Waiver petitioners.
Any other tips? Please share your experience in comments.