If you have moved to the USA as an immigrant and want to settle down, getting an employment-based green card or adjustment status will benefit you a lot.
It allows the immigrants to get legal permanent residence in the US and all the rights associated with permanent residence. However, the process can be time taking.
Many people do not know exactly what to do to get approved for employment-based adjustment of status in the US.
In today’s article, we will guide you on filing for employment-based adjustment of status, processing time, what to expect, fees, and a lot more. So let’s get into it.
What is Adjustment Of Status?
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services agency defines the adjustment of status as a process that the immigrants must undergo to become a lawful permanent resident(LPR) in the country.
The good thing about Adjustment of Status is that immigrants can apply for the process while staying in the US.
The immigration agency has classified immigrants into different categories which are eligible to apply for adjustment of status. The following classifications of immigrants are eligible for adjustment of status:
- Employment-based (EB)
- Religious workers
Since we will be talking about employment-based adjustment, it is essential to know that Section 245 of the Immigration and Nationality Act governs the complete process.
What Is EB I-485 Form?
When you want to get lawful residence in the US based on your employment, you will need to file EB I-485, the application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust your Status.
The application form is used for applying for an EB visa to the US. However, the applicant seeking the EB visa must be sponsored by a US employer.
The employer will file Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. However, if you have selected a specific category, Form I-485 and I-140 are filed simultaneously.
The applicant(alien) can also go for self-petition in limited cases. The applicant’s spouse and children are also covered under the EB application based on their family relationship.
How To Apply For I-485?
Here are the complete details of filing your EB I-485.
When you want an EB in the US, the principal applicants and dependants will file Form I-485 individually. However, in the case of EB families who apply together, the principal applicant will be the first to file Form I-485 with USCIS.
Once the principal applicant is approved and adjusted, the dependants become eligible to apply for adjustment of status.
When it comes to the method of applying, you can leverage USCIS lockbox facilities. USCIS’s lockbox facility provides services like opening and stamping mail, processing fees, scanning documents, issuing receipt notices, and resolving unsigned or bounced items.
Besides Lockbox, you can also leverage TCS and NSC for EB adjustment applications.
Benefits of EB Adjustment Of Status?
The US legal immigrants get entitled to several benefits by getting the EB adjustment of status. The main benefits of the EB adjustment are as follows:
- Once you get your employment-based adjustment of status, you become eligible to get a green card for residence in the US.
- You also become eligible to apply for advance parole, allowing re-entry into the US without an immigrant/nonimmigrant visa after traveling overseas.
- You can also file for your Employment Authorization Document based on employment-based adjustment of status. the EAD permits you to work legally in the US temporarily.
- When your employer has sponsored your I-485, you can also change the employer six months after filing the adjustment of status.
What Is Processing Time For I-485?
Once you file the form I-485, the most important concern is how much time it will take to finalize the case. So what is the processing time for I-485?
Here is what you need to know about the processing time for the application filed for employment-based adjustment of status:
- Once the department receives the immigrants’ applications, they proceed in the order of receiving them.
- In general, the agency will update the status of your application on the 15th of each month. It includes the progress of all previous months.
- According to the applicants who have applied with USCIS in the past, the category of employment-based adjustment is usually between 8 to 14 months.
What Happens After You File Form I-485?
Here is what you need to know about the timeline after you file form I-485:
Receipt Of Application
After you file the form I-485 for employment-based adjustment of status, the first milestone is receiving the receipt of the application from USCIS.
It will take around 2 to 3 weeks after filing when USCIS will respond to you with a receipt notice via your mailing address.
The formal name of the correspondence from USCIS is called Form I-797C, Notice of Action. It contains a 10-digit receipt number that can be used for application tracking or case inquiries.
If the applicant didn’t file the form properly, he would receive a Notice of Rejection or Request for Evidence depending on the circumstances.
Appointment Notice For Biometrics
After 3 to 5 weeks of filing your application, the applicant will receive the appointment notice assigning your biometrics appointment, date, time, and location.
The applicants are required to visit the nearest USCIS Application Support Center for fingerprinting for security clearance and criminal background checks.
You are intimated about the biometrics appointment in a correspondence that also contains the date of the appointment. The biometrics appointment date is generally 5 to 8 weeks from application filing.
The appointment is usually 30 minutes or more, during which the USCIS collects your photograph, fingerprints, and signature.
You will need to present the government-issued ID documents that contain your photograph. A driver’s license, state-issued photo ID card, military photo identification, or passport is generally accepted by USCIS.
EAD Card Receiving
After 12 to 16 weeks after filing for Adjustment of Status via EB I-485, you will receive your EAD card.
However, you will only receive your Employment Authorization Document if you also submit Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, and Adjustment of Status.
Notice Of Interview
Within 4 to 10 months of filing, the applicants will receive a notice from the USCIS to attend the interview for Adjustment of Status. You will receive Form I-797, Notice of Action from USCIS, at your mailing address.
Interviews are part of the normal processing by the USCIS. Depending on the details and specific circumstances of a case, the authorities might decide to conduct the interview.
You should not be afraid of your interview at USCIS and be well-prepared with all the necessary documentation you might need to present.
Adjustment Of Status Interview
When you have to appear for the Adjustment of Status, prepare well. Review your form I-485 and other accompanying forms so that you know what answers you are supposed to give.
Also, take your updated information like address, and employer, if any, on your interview date. The interview date is fixed at 6 to 12 months from the application filing date.
You will need to produce some documentation on the date of the interview. It includes a copy of your immigrant petition and adjustment of status application.
You will also take your original documents(marriage certificates, birth certificates, etc.), advance parole documents or EAD cards, and your passport.
If you are successful in the interview, the authorities might grant you permanent residence right at the end of the interview. However, in other cases, the applicants are intimidated via mail. You will receive their green card via mail within 8 to 14 months of application filing. However, if the authorities of USCIS deny your application, you will receive the mail with reasons for the denial.
Who Will Apply For EB Adjustment?
If you want to know if you are eligible to apply for EB Adjustment of Status, you need to know the principal applicants allowed for EB visa categories.
Here are the EB and special immigrant visa categories eligible to file EB I-485:
- Multinational executives or managers (EB13)
- Individuals possessing extraordinary abilities in sciences, education, art, business, and athletics(E11)
- Advanced degree professionals or exceptional abilities in certain fields (E21)
- Special immigrants like religious workers (SR-1, SD-1)
- Professors and researchers with extraordinary capabilities (E12)
- Professional, skilled, and other workers (E31, E21, EW3)
We have discussed everything regarding the processing time of EB I-485. If you fall among one of the eligible categories and are considering applying for an adjustment of status, the article contains all the information you need.
You know what to expect and how long the process can take. Therefore, you can easily plan your application filing with USCIS.