What You Need to Know About Form I-485

Form I-485 is an important part of the process to secure permanent residency in the United States. It asks for a number of personal and immigration-related details. Completed correctly, the form will register an immigrant as a lawful permanent resident.

Be sure to read the questions carefully. Some require more information than others.

1. Legal Name

When filling out Form I-485, it is important to provide your legal name. This includes your current full legal name, maiden names, previous married names, family names at birth, and nicknames or aliases.

In Question 4, you should give your current immigration status, such as whether you are an immediate relative or a preference relative who has a current priority date, or you are a refugee or asylum seeker. You may also want to include your petitioner’s name, if applicable.

The questions concerning your prior immigration status are more complicated than in previous versions of the form. It’s best to consult a qualified attorney for help with these.

2. Date of Birth

In this part of the form, you must provide a detailed history of your family relationships. This information is used for background checks by the USCIS officer, so it’s important that it be correct.

If your birth certificate is unavailable, you must submit alternative evidence of your date of birth. This can include religious or school records, hospital or medical documents, census records or affidavits. Check the Department of State website to see if it lists acceptable documents for your country of origin.

A notarized affidavit is required from either of your parents or, if they are no longer alive, a close relative older than you who has personal knowledge of the facts of your birth.

3. Social Security Number

The examiner will use this number to verify that you are the person on whose petition you are filing. He or she will also need this information to schedule your interview, which will take place after the form has been filed and you have paid both the filing fee and the biometric services fee.

USCIS recently announced that applicants for lawful permanent resident status are now able to concurrently apply for an unrestricted Social Security card as part of their green-card application process. Previously, such individuals would have had to submit additional paperwork in person at a local Social Security office.

4. Address

The form asks for address information so that a background check can be conducted. For this reason, answers should be provided as completely and accurately as possible.

If you are applying for permanent residence based on marriage, consider consulting with an immigration lawyer about this section in particular. Providing inaccurate information here could lead to delays in processing your application, or even denial of your green card.

Depending on your situation you may need to enter more than one address in this section. For example, if you asked someone to receive your mail for you, include that address in the “In Care Of” line.

5. Contact Information

If you are applying to adjust your status and become a permanent resident while present in the United States, you will need to fill out Form I-485. This form requires a lot of information, and it is important that you fill it out correctly. Otherwise, USCIS may send your application back to you for corrections or deny your request.

This section asks you to provide a history of your physical addresses in the United States and abroad. It also asks for your birth date and other identifying information. You will also need to list any nicknames or pseudonyms you have used in the past.

6. Signature

It’s always important to be honest on all immigration forms. Lying on an application can be a serious problem and could make you inadmissible to the US.

Here, you will sign to indicate that you understand English and can read the questions on this form. You will also certify that you understand your responsibilities as a Green Card holder and stand by the authenticity of all the documents you submitted.

If you have already filed an immigrant visa petition for a family member or employer, you can enter the Priority Date from that case in question 1. You must also have proof of your identity and your address in order to submit your application.

Manolo Hilton
the authorManolo Hilton