When your employment-based green card is finally approved by the United States Citizenship and Naturalization Service (USCIS), it is a wonderful day. However, it is not the end of the journey. The next step after approval of the Form I-140 petition is adjustment of status (AoS).
The steps in adjusting status to lawful permanent residency begin with filing more forms that have supporting evidence. Therefore, it can be helpful to have the assistance or advice of a skilled immigration attorney near you to make sure that all i’s are dotted and every t is crossed.
What is adjustment of status?
Adjustment of status, or AoS, can be used to apply for a green card if the foreign national is the United States. Those who are outside of the United States, must obtain the immigrant visa abroad through consular processing.
With an employment-based green card petition, some foreign nationals who are present in the USA prefer to file for AoS concurrently with their Form I-140 petition, so that they can remain in the country while it is being adjudicated by USCIS. This is done by filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, is a lengthy form that requires quite a bit of information. Status adjusters should be prepared to provide information about their addresses, present and former, their present and past employment, and facts about their parents and dependents.
The filing fee for Form I-485 is currently $1,140 for most foreign nationals, plus $85 for biometrics. Along with the form and the fees, an applicant for AoS will need to submit items that may include passport-sized photos, identification and civil documents, and proof of maintenance of status in the United States.
If a foreign national wants to travel outside the United States while the Form I-485 is pending, or if they need permission to work, there are two additional forms that might be filed. Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, and Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, may help to tide the status adjuster over until they officially receive their green card. A “combo card” might also be available to them that doubles as both an EAD card and a travel document.
What happens after you file Form I-485?
After USCIS receives your Form I-485, supporting documents, and any other related forms, you should receive a notice for a biometrics appointment. A biometrics appointment occurs at a local USCIS Application Support Center (ASC). On the date of the appointment a representative of USCIS will take fingerprints and a photograph and request that the foreign national sign documents.
If an adjustment of status interview is required, the foreign national will attend and should bring original copies of their documents. Occasionally, USCIS will issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) if certain items are still missing.
Consult with an immigration attorney near you
If you have already been approved for an employment-based green card, congratulations! You have overcome a large hurdle. But the process is not over yet, and you likely want to do everything right.
It may be beneficial to consult with a capable immigration lawyer about adjustment of status. Even if you decide to fill out the forms yourself, some law firms, such as Gallagher Domanski Professional Law Corporation, will be glad to check over your forms for a small fee.