Step 3: Form I-485 Adjustment of Status to Permanent Residency

With an approved I-140, the beneficiary may then submit a Form I-485 Application to Adjust Status to that of a permanent resident of the United States.   The Form I-485 Application for Adjustment of Status is the designation of an immigrant visa to the beneficiary.  To adjudicate an I-485, USCIS examines the beneficiary as an individual to determine whether he or she is worthy of permanent status in the United States.  The Form I-485 examines the beneficiary’s prior immigration history, any criminal history, and any other reason that the beneficiary might be inadmissible as a permanent resident.  USCIS will take the beneficiary’s fingerprints, mandate a medical examination, and conduct a background check.  In some cases, the beneficiary may be called into USCIS’s local office in Hartford, Connecticut, for an in-person interview.  Because the I-485 is a personal examination into the background of the beneficiary, UConn and OGC cannot assist the beneficiary in filing the I-485.  The beneficiary is responsible for completing, funding, and filing the I-485 on his or her own.  At this stage, the beneficiary can also file I-485 applications for any foreign spouse and minor children as derivative family members.  The beneficiary and any derivative family members will receive green cards upon approval of the I-485.  UConn will give the beneficiary the original I-140 approval notice to facilitate the filing of the I-485.

The U.S. Congress has set limits on the number of immigrant visas that can be granted each year, which is further broken down by each EB classification and by country of birth.  As a result, there is a limit on the number of I-485 applications that can be filed and approved each year.  There is no limit, however, on the number of I-140 applications that may be filed annually.  Not surprisingly, backlogs have developed in certain EB classifications, and the backlogs vary further by countries of birth for categories in which immigrant visas are currently in high demand.  When there is no backlog in the beneficiary’s preference category for his or her country of birth, Steps 2 and 3 can be filed “concurrently,” or simultaneously.  Currently, individuals from most countries who fall into the EB-2 classification can file the I-140 and the I-485 concurrently, but individuals born in mainland China and in India within the EB-2 classification face a backlog wait before they can file an I-485, and all individuals in the EB-3 classification currently face a backlog wait.  This information is live and is subject to change.  OGC will initially assess any backlog applicable to the beneficiary and the expected wait time to receive the green card.  If the beneficiary faces a backlog, UConn will work to continue his or her current nonimmigrant visa status and employment authorization until the beneficiary can file the I-485 Application to Adjust Status.

For budgeting purposes, the beneficiary should be aware that the filing fees for the I-485 as of November 23, 2010, are $1,070 per application for each adult and $635 for each child under the age of 14.  In addition, each I-485 requires a medical examination from a “civil surgeon” registered with USCIS, and thus the beneficiary should budget for the cost of these medical examinations for each I-485 applicant.  As the I-485 is a legal matter that affects the beneficiary’s whole future, is governed by ever-changing regulations, and requires a multitude of forms and information that can be confusing, beneficiaries are encouraged to seek advice and representation from an attorney experienced in immigration law.  Most attorneys require fees for their services, and the beneficiary must make the best decision regarding whether to hire an attorney to assist with the I-485 application based upon his or her own circumstances.  As a state agency, the University cannot recommend an attorney for the beneficiary’s private use or guarantee the services of any private attorney.   For the beneficiary’s reference, however, UConn’s Immigration Services has compiled a list of private attorneys specializing in immigration law within a designated geographic region of UConn’s campuses.  The University cannot assist the beneficiary in paying the I-485 filing fees, associated costs or attorney’s fees.

While the beneficiary and any derivative beneficiaries may apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) as part of the I-485 application, UConn prefers eligible H-1B employees to remain in H-1B status during the pendency of the I-485 application to continue valid nonimmigrant status in case a problem is encountered with the beneficiary’s I-485.