Form I-485 is the primary application used by immigrants adjusting status (applying for lawful permanent residence, or a green card) in the United States. It collects basic information about the applicant's identity and checks for grounds of inadmissibility. The information on this form all refers to the immigrating beneficiary, which we will assume is you, the reader.
Form I-485 is available for free download on the Form I-485 page of the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov. Note: Our instructions below cover only how to fill out the form itself. For broader information on whether you are eligible for a green card and the various steps involved in the application process, see the articles under "How to Get a Green Card."
Family name is your last name, or surname. Give your real address, not a mailing address. The c/o line is for people who have asked others to receive mail for them (unless you’ve asked someone to do so, leave this line blank). As with Form I-130, the questions regarding your arrival refer to your most recent entry to the United States. Your "I-94#" refers to the number listed on your Form I-94 issued by Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Your Current USCIS Status is the type of visa you are currently on, such as F-2 (student), “overstay” if the expiration date on your visa or permitted stay has passed (in which case you may not be eligible to adjust status unless you are the immediate relative of a U.S. citizen; see a lawyer to be sure), or “EWI” (entry without inspection) if you crossed the border illegally but somehow became eligible to use the adjustment of status procedure (unlikely; see a lawyer).
Put an “X” in the box that applies to you. For example, you would choose box a if you are applying through family and are either an immediate relative or a preference relative with a current Priority Date and a right to use the adjustment of status procedure); or box c if you entered on a K-1 fiancé visa and are applying for your green card based on having married this fiancé in the United States.
Most of this part should be self-explanatory. In Section “B,” you list information about your spouse and all of your children (including adult children and step-children). List everyone, even if they are not immigrating at this time -- especially important if they wish to immigrate later, because failure to have mentioned them will create doubt as to whether they exist at all. Part of the purpose of Question C is to weed out terrorists. If you have been connected to an organization that has a violent wing or advocates violence, even if you were only in its nonviolent subgroup, consult a lawyer. Incidentally, you can improve the USCIS officer’s opinion of you by listing organizations that you have volunteered with, such as religious organizations, to show that you are a moral person.
For the rest of the questions in “Part 3” -- one through 18 -- hopefully your answers are all “no.” If the true answer to any of them is "yes," do not lie (which is not only unethical, but could, if discovered, destroy any hope you have of immigrating to the U.S.). Instead, see a lawyer for a full analysis of the situation.
If you need special accommodations for your interview because of a disability or impairment -- such as a sign language interpreter or to have a caregiver allowed to accompany you to your green card interview -- explain what you need in this section.
This is where you, the beneficiary, sign. There is also a place for an interpreter to sign, if you relied on an interpreter to answer the questions.