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I-485 Form: Registering For Permanent Residence

The I-485 form is an application to register for permanent residence or to adjust your status from a nonimmigrant status to permanent resident status. All cases to obtain a green card for permanent legal residency while living in the United States require the filing of Form I-485. Permanent resident cases filed for those outside of the U.S. requires a different form called DS-260, which we have expertise in preparing and filing with our clients as well. The I-485 form is one of the first required steps to become a legal citizen.

Common Questions And Answers About Form I-485

Why does it take so long to get my employment-based green card?

Unfortunately, not everyone who wants a green card can get one immediately. There are about 140,000 employment-based green cards issued each year in five employment-based categories. How long you need to wait depends on the supply and demand for your card as well as your priority date and the country your visa gets charged to. Typically, the country that is charged is the one where you were born in. There is currently a rule limiting each country of chargeability to only 7% of the 140,000 employment-based green cards available per year. Depending on if you come from a high-population country with high-demand for employment-based green cards, like China, India, Mexico, or the Philippines, you may have to wait in line before an employment-based green card can be issued to you because of the 7% per country cap.

Why is there a long estimated wait time for some family-based green card cases?

While a U.S. citizen’s parents, spouse, and children under the age of 21 are not subject to green card caps and long wait times, some other family-based immigration categories are subject to a capped availability of green cards and the same 7% per country cap discussed above.

Specifically, unmarried sons and daughters (21 years of age and older) of U.S. citizens, married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens (if the U.S. citizen is 21 years of age and older), and spouses and unmarried children of lawful permanent residents, fall under family-based green card categories that typically experience longer wait times. These wait times vary based on the type of petitioner (U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident) and the green card beneficiary’s chargeability (typically their country of birth with more considerable wait times for individuals from China, India, Mexico and the Philippines).

We work with clients from around the country and world in navigating the family-based immigration process and we’d be happy to help you figure out your next steps and expected timelines for pursuing a family-based immigration case.

What information do I need to have to determine when I may be able to apply for and receive my green card, especially if I know the case will be subject to the wait times described above?

All you need to know is your priority date and your preference category to use the pending Form I-485 inventory reports provided in the Visa Bulletin.

The Visa Bulletin can be complex to understand, so we’d be happy to assist you in estimating when you become eligible for a new green card case and when it may eventually be issued.

Speak With Our Experienced Immigration Attorneys to Evaluate Your Case

If you have questions about obtaining a visa or US citizenship, call Fok Immigration Law at 408-606-8911. You can also contact us online. With our main office in San Jose, we serve clients throughout California.