You must gather a few documents and pay a filing fee to start your application process.
The cost to apply for a permanent resident card under Form I-485 will depend on your age and other conditions. Here’s an overview:
- You’ll pay $750 if you are under 14 years old and working with the application of at least one parent. However, you may pay up to $1,140 if you’re not filing under these conditions.
- You’ll pay $1,225 if you’re 14-78 years old.
- You’ll pay $1,140 if you’re 79 years old (or older).
- People who were admitted to the U.S. as refugees won’t have to pay anything to process their I-485.
As you can see, the filing fee for most people will be $1,225. The price includes the filing form and the biometric services fees.
If you don’t know how much you have to pay for this form, ask our team. We’ll gladly guide you through the entire process to ensure you don’t get confused.
What Documents Does USCIS Ask for?
Most of the time, you’ll need a few “supporting documents” alongside your filing form. These documents will prove that you’re eligible for a green card. Moreover, they help prove that your sponsor (or applicant) has a valid permanent residency or citizenship status.
Here’s what the applicant will need before filing Form I-485:
- Proof that they had a valid visa when they entered the U.S. This includes a copy of the visa and an I-94 travel record.
- Proof of their nationality. They can attach a copy of their birth certificate and foreign passport.
- Proof of their ability to support the person applying for the green card. Here, the person may attach a copy of their recent federal income tax returns, as well as pay stubs. These are filed with an “Affidavit of Support.”
- Proof that they didn’t face any convictions (if they were ever arrested). They must attach a certified copy of the court record.
- Finally, the applicant will need to attach immigration medical examination results. The exam must be performed by a doctor approved by USCIS. Here’s a tool from the federal agency to help you find a doctor.
All of the documents are sent alongside Form I-485 to a lockbox facility, which will forward them to the USCIS Service Center. They’ll get processed there.
What Secondary Documents Can You Use?
If you, for any reason, don’t have some of the supporting documents mentioned above, you may file “alternative documents,” which are also called “secondary evidence.”
People who don’t have a birth certificate, for example, could ask for a statement from their local government agency that mentions that it can’t process their document at the moment. This may allow the person to send these documents instead:
- School Records
- Baptism Records
- Census Records
These files are meant to show the person’s date/place of birth, as well as their parent’s names.
Those who don’t have these supporting documents can also send written statements from people who were alive when they were born (at least two). The statement should explain how/why the person has knowledge about the immigrant’s birth.
Where Do You File Form I-485?
You must make a “package” that includes your:
- Supporting Documents
- Fee Payments
As for the form, you can file it online or by mail. Most of the time, the online process is the most efficient one. You must:
- Create a MyUSCIS account.
- File the forms.
You’ll get updates on your application from the website, which is why it’s important to keep your login credentials stored somewhere safe. Once you sign up, you’ll get an “A-Number,” which is a 7/9-digit code used by USCIS to identify applicants.
On the other hand, if you’re sending everything through the mail, you must find an appropriate lockbox based on where you live and choose a postal service to submit the documents.
What’s the Timeline After Filing Form I-485?
There isn’t a standard processing period for these forms. Most of the time, it will take a while, though.
The processing times will depend on the category you fall under and the USCIS office responsible for managing your application. You may receive your receipt notices within six weeks of processing your application.
Then, USCIS will set an appointment at a local Application Support Center to submit your biometrics. This includes photos and fingerprints.
If your priority date becomes “current,” you’ll get a response from USCIS surrounding your green card within 12-22 months. Keep in mind that USCIS may issue a green card interview notice before approving your request. The interview is the last step of your application.
The person responsible for the interview will use the meeting to verify all your information and determine if you’re eligible for the green card.
People who get their petition approved will receive their green card within 30 days of receiving their approval notice.
Considering the entire timeline can take from a few months to a couple of years, you could also file an application for either a travel document or employment authorization. If they’re approved, you could get the documents within a few months, depending on the case.
About Employment Authorization Requests
You may want to apply for an Employment Authorization Document if you want to work while your permanent resident status gets processed.
If this is your case, you must file Form I-765, which can get processed within 12 months. Your work permit will be valid for a year, so if your green card doesn’t get processed within that period, you may have to renew it.
Spouses or relatives who aren’t eligible to apply for a green card yet can’t request an Employment Authorization Document.
About Form I-485’s 2022 “Update”
The U.S. government released an update to Form I-485 back in 2022, which was meant to address if immigrants were likely to use public benefits.
Now, if you answer “yes” to likely being a “public charge” (which means you’re likely to become dependent on the government for subsistence), you must also answer extra questions surrounding:
- The size of your household and your annual household income
- The total value of your household assets and liabilities
- Your highest level of education completed or degree
You may also have to provide a list of certifications, licenses, and any applicable educational certificates. Finally, you will need to answer if you ever received assistance from the government or if you were institutionalized for over 30 days at the government’s expense.
That’s everything you should know about Form I-485. We know it’s a lot of information to take in, so if you want to get started with your application but are afraid you’ll make a mistake, you can count on us.
Working with the team behind Citizen Concierge ensures you avoid common mistakes when filing Form I-485. You’ll get real-time customer support/live feedback, so rest assured that we’ll be there for you every step of the way.
We believe that personalized guidance is the best way to get better results in the long run, so our immigration professionals will provide you with specific questions and feedback tailored to your goals.
Submitting any immigration form and request can easily get overwhelming and terrifying for anyone. Thankfully, you don’t have to go through that alone.
We hope you found the information on this page useful, and we can’t wait to help you get everything you need to start your I-485 application!