Posts Tagged ‘Form I-485’

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was formed to provide relief to abused and battered women a chance to petition for an adjustment of status. Recently the USCIS provided guidance for adjudicating Adjustment of Status (Form I-485) by self-petitioners who were neither inspected, admitted or paroled.

This Act allows abused immigrants to petition for legal status in the U.S without relying on parents or children to sponsor their Adjustment of Status. This is so because many victims are threatened by family to withhold legal immigration sponsorship by way of abuse. This Act allows the victims to independently seek immigration status and may file form I-360 and once the petition is approved can directly apply for Adjustment of Status ( I-485)

Generally, an alien who seeks Adjustment of Status under section 245(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act must have been inspected at a port of entry to be admissible as an immigrant. However, in October 2000, section 345 (a) was amended so that the inspection and admission does not apply to a self-petitioner under VAWA. If the applicant had been denied Adjustment of Status, he or she may file a Motion to Reopen or Reconsider form (I-290B).

Also, as a battered spouse, child or parent one may file an immigrant visa petition under VAWA, which allows for filing the petition without the knowledge of the abuser. This allows the petitioner both safety and independence from the abuser. VAWA applies equally to men and women petitioners. Help is also available through hot lines where assistance is provided to these women.

Those who are eligible to file

  1. A spouse of a U.S citizen or permanent resident who was subject to abuse may file including the names of children under 21.

  2. If you are married to an abuser who is a U.S citizen or permanent card holder.

  3. If your marriage was terminated by death or divorce

  4. If your spouse lost his permanent card status within two years due to domestic violence

  5. A parent of a U.S citizen who was subject to abuse can file including the names of children if any who have not filed for themselves.

  6. If you are an abused child, under 21 and unmarried

  7. If you are an individual having good moral character.

Filing process

Form I- 360 must be completed and filed along with all the supporting documents with the Vermont Service Center. If all the filing requirements are met, you will receive a notice valid for 150 days. This can be presented to government agencies that provide benefits to victims of domestic violence. If form I-360 is approved and if you do not have legal immigration status, you may be placed in deferred action and you may continue to remain in the U.S. You are also eligible to apply to work in the U.S. However, you may have to file Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization with the Vermont Service Center. Your children too may apply for this. If you have an approved I-360, you may also apply for a green card.


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USCIS will change the filing locations for Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. From Jan. 1, 2012, petitioners have to mail their stand-alone I-130 applications to either the Chicago Lockbox or the Phoenix Lockbox, depending on where they stay in the US. The USCIS will inform about the new filing locations on Jan.1 on their website. This effort is to ensure more efficient and effective processing of Form I-130.

However, note that there will be no change in filing locations when an individual is submitting Form I-130 along with Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. Such petitioners can continue to mail them to the Chicago Lockbox facility.

Petitioners filing from outside the US in countries without USCIS offices will also continue to file at the Chicago Lockbox facility. If there is a USCIS office abroad, petitioners may send their I-130 forms to the Chicago Lockbox, or they may file their Forms I-130 at the international USCIS office. Petitioners should make sure they are filing at the proper location because submitting Form I-130 packages to the incorrect Lockbox location may experience a delay in processing.

In addition to this update, On Oct. 19, 2011, a USCIS announced processing improvements for certain naturalization and citizenship forms. It has centralized intake of Forms N-336, N-600 and N-600K to the Phoenix Lockbox facility. Form N-300 is handled by the Dallas Lockbox facility. This change is aimed at streamlining the way forms are processed, speeding up the collection and deposit of fees and improves the consistency of our intake process.

Forms that are received at local and district offices after Dec. 2, 2011, will no longer be forwarded to the appropriate USCIS Lockbox facility. Beginning Dec. 5, impacted forms received locally will be returned to the petitioners and they will also be informed on how to re-file at a designated USCIS Lockbox facility. Petitioners are advised to read form instructions carefully before filing their form to ensure that they are filing the correct form type and edition at the correct location.

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If you are in the US in a legal status and qualify to apply for a green card based on being sponsored by an employer or family member or holding asylee or refugee status, you are required to file Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status to Permanent Resident. This form has to be filed with the USCIS.

Who can apply?

To be eligible for filing this form, you should currently be in the US and have an approved immigrant petition. To put it in simple terms, adjustment of status is the process where a foreign national applies for a lawful permanent residence (green card) while being in the US. Unless you are applying in a visa category for which visa numbers are always available, you should have a “current” Priority Date in order to qualify. Priority date means the date you filed the immigrant petition. If you are applying because you are married to a US citizen, the parent or child will also be eligible to file this form to adjust status at the same time the immigrant petition is filed.

If you were in an asylee or refugee status for one year or more, you are eligible to adjust status to a green card holder. You cannot adjust status if you are outside the US. If you are abroad, you should apply for an immigrant visa at a US consulate there. Even Cuban nationals who want to change the date their permanent residence began in the US, also have to file Form I- 485.

Form I-485 has to be filed with the appropriate supporting documents and the submission fees with the USCIS service center that has jurisdiction over your area. Persons who are 79 years of age or older need not pay the biometric fee. There is no fee if you are filing this form based on being admitted to the US as a refugee. After reviewing your application, if it is rejected, the USCIS will inform you through a letter that will have the details as to why the application was rejected.

It is important to remember that if you are not in a legal status in the US, the process to remove you will start as soon as your application is rejected. So after your application is rejected, you can have an immigration judge review the rejection of your application during removal proceedings. Under such instances, immigration officials have to justify their decision and prove that the information on your I- 485 application were false and that your application was rejected for a reason. Even after this review, if the judge decides to remove you from the country, you can further appeal this decision. You have 33 days for the appeal after the immigration judge passed the judgment to get you removed from the country. Your appeal will be referred to the Board of Immigration Appeals after your appeal form and the required fee are processed.




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One of the main benefits of being a US citizen is that you can petition your loved ones for a green card which will help them come and live with you in the US. As a US citizen, you are eligible to to petition your spouse, parent and children for a legal permanent resident (green card) status. But if you a Legal Permanent Resident, you can sponsor only your spouse and unmarried children.

Green Card For Child Application Process :

The first step is the filing the “Immigrant Petition” that will establish a qualifying relationship between you, the sponsor and your child abroad. It is then followed by the green card application. If your child is in the US, you are allowed to file the immigrant petition and green card for child application at the same time. But, in cases of lawful permanent residents, your child must wait for the immigrant petition to be approved before you can file the the green card application.

The green card for child process starts by submitting Form I-130, the immigrant petition. If your child lives outside the US, the application for an immigrant visa has to be filed at a US consulate at your child’s place of residence.

If your child/children live in the US, you have to file Form I-485 to adjust status. If your child lives in the US and is both unmarried and under the age of 21, then you can submit Form I-130 and Form I-485 together. This is considered the fastest way to apply for a green card. If you are a Legal Permanent Resident and your child is married or over 21 or lives outside the US, then you will have to wait for the Form I-130 to be approved before going to the next step in the process.

As a US citizen, you are eligible to sponsor your married child for a green card. Married sons and daughters of US citizens come under the third-preference category. So they should wait for a priority date to become available before they can apply for a visa. Plainly, married sons and daughters have to wait longer than unmarried sons and daughters to apply for a green card. However, Legal Permanent Residents are not eligible to sponsor their married sons and daughters for a green card.

Unmarried children of US citizen parents, below the age of 21 are considered as “Immediate relatives”. It means they can directly apply for a green card without having to wait for a priority date to become current. Though as a US citizen, you are eligible to sponsor your children who are married or over the age of 21, such children will not qualify as immediate relatives. So these applicants should wait for their priority date to be current before they become eligible to apply for a green card.

The visa bulletin published monthly by the Department of State has details regarding when applicants Priority Date becomes current.

Another point to remember is that if you are bringing a relative to live permanently in the US, you have to accept legal responsibility for supporting your family member financially. You have to take this responsibility and you become your relative’s sponsor. For this you have to complete and sign a document called an affidavit of support. You have this responsibility until your relative gets American Citizenship or is credited with 40 quarters of work (normally 10 years.)

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USCIS announced that it is now issuing employment and travel authorization on a single card for certain applicants filing an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, Form I-485. This new card represents a significant improvement from the current practice of issuing paper Advance Parole documents.

The card looks similar to the current Employment Authorization Document (EAD) but will include text that reads, “Serves as I-512 Advance Parole.” A card with this text will serve as both an employment authorization and Advance Parole document. The new card is also more secure and more durable than the current paper Advance Parole document.

An applicant may receive this card when he or she files an Application for Employment Authorization, Form I-765, and an Application for Travel Document, Form I-131, concurrently with or after filing Form I-485. USCIS will continue to issue separate EAD and Advance Parole documents as warranted. Employers may accept the new card as a List A document when completing the Employment Eligibility Verification, Form I-9.

As with the current Advance Parole document, obtaining a combined Advance Parole and employment authorization card allows an applicant for adjustment of status to travel abroad and return to the U.S. without abandoning the pending adjustment application. Upon returning to the U.S., the individual who travels with the card must present the card to request parole through the port-of-entry. The decision to parole the individual is made at the port-of-entry. Individuals who have been unlawfully present in the U.S. and subsequently depart and seek re-entry through a grant of parole may be inadmissible and ineligible to adjust their status.

Source : http://www.uscis.gov

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