One of the most common questions I get is what forms are needed to file for a green card? The answer depends on the basis for the green card (lawful permanent residence) basis, any applicable bars of inadmissibility, prior immigration history, criminal history and if a person needs to restore their I-94 number, for example. While the basis will vary, the form for adjustment of status, I 485 will always be the same. At times, it will need supplements, depending on the situation. All Immigration forms can be found at US Immigration website: www.uscis.gov.
Family Based Petition
Let’s start with one of the most popular bases for adjustment of status: green card based on marriage, be that a marriage to a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident, green cardholder.
In this case, the basis for the green card will be the form I 130, a petition for a family member. The same form will be used if a parent is sponsoring a child, or a child is sponsoring a parent. In case of US citizen parents sponsoring married sons and daughter, the process will start with stand-alone I 130, because it is not possible to file for adjustment of status at the same time as the form I 130 for certain categories of family relationships, including parents-adult sons/daughter, parents-married sons/daughter/, siblings. To learn who can submit the forms simultaneously, one will need to read the Visa Bulletin and determine if he is subject to any wait time.
When a spouse is filing for a spouse, a form I 130A will also be needed.
Form I 129F will be used for adjustment by US citizen fiancés who are filing their packages within 90 days of entry.
Employment Based Petition
If it is an employer that is sponsoring one for immigration to the US, a form I 140 will have to be filed. In many cases of employment base sponsorship, before a company can submit I140, they have to file other forms, like forms for prevailing age determination (it is done online nowadays), and labor certification.
Extraordinary Ability Applicants
Applicants who can really sponsor themselves into the US, as talented persons in arts, business, science or sports, will also use the form I 140! You can read more about who can sponsor themselves here.
For EB5 investors, the form that will be filed as a basis for the green card, is I526, one of the most expensive forms in US Immigration!
For -360. Now, this one is used by many, many filers: from special immigrant juvenile and VAWA applicants to religious workers, and certain other groups of filers.
Cancellation of Removal For Non-permanent Residents
This one is tricky! There is no separate basis vs. adjustment form here. It is filed in court on form EOIR 42B and the same form is the petition and the adjustment.
(!) Interesting fact: no medical exam is needed for the cancellation of removal applicants! Learn more about the cancellation of removal here.
There is also VAWA cancellation of removal, NACARA relief, and for a limited time, relief for Liberian nationals that would give one a “green card” if successful!
So, these are the most common forms used as a basis for adjustment of status in the United States.
Forms That Usually Accompany I-485
With adjustment of status application, a person will also need to file form I 864 for those who are subject to public charge requirements, or form I 864W for those who are not, or can establish that they have worked in the United States long enough to earn necessary credits. See our video blog to learn when to file which form.
Also, one may want to file form I 765, application for work authorization.
(!) Interesting fact: those who are asylum holders, do not need to file this form (they have an employment authorization already: they are authorized to work in the US automatically once they got the status).
For I 131: a form for advance parole for those who need to travel outside the US while their adjustment of status application is pending.
(!) Interesting fact: the same form is used for asylum beneficiaries to apply for Travel document, by the green card holder to apply for a Re-Entry Permit, for those seeking parole in place, and for those seeking humanitarian parole.
In certain situations, those who apply for adjustment of status based on 245(i) exception that forgives entry without inspection and admission, and unlawful presence, may also need to file Supplement A to the form.
If one has to address issues of inadmissibility, he may have to file waivers using a form I 601 together with their adjustment package. The most common reasons to file for waivers would be criminal grounds of inadmissibility and fraud/misrepresentation at the time of entry. For some violations for certain applicants, a waiver is not needed. For example, immediate relatives of US citizens are automatically forgiven for working in the United States without authorization and for staying in the United States without status (usually, however, an initial legal entry is a must). INA 245K forgives certain violations for employment-based applicants for adjustment: working in the US without authorization for no more than 180 days or staying in the United States without lawful status for no more than 180 days. For VAWA and Special Immigrant juveniles, it is not necessary to prove legal entry, and a waiver is not needed!
Medical Exam Form
You will most likely not see the medical exam form unless your doctor would give you a copy of it after your medical examination. This form is a “secret”. It is submitted to USCIS in a sealed enveloped, provided to you by your doctor. You will take that envelope, and without breaking the seal (opening it), you will attach it with your filing package. If you do not attach it to the filing package, it is not a big deal: currently, you can bring the medical results with you to the interview. Just make sure to review the rules and that the results be “fresh”.
The basis for the green car and the green card application forms are like links of the same chain: the links can be broken and will not connect if there is a preference category wait time, inadmissibility issues, entry without inspection issue for certain applicants, or some other issues preventing the “links to connect”. At times, with practice and skill, the chain can be repaired. At times, a person will have to qualify for a different solution.
If you have questions regarding the adjustment of status or green card in the US, please call us at 917-885-2261 to reserve an appointment, or use our online appointment form.
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