Form I-485 is the primary application used by immigrants adjusting status (applying for lawful permanent residence—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 person who will get the green card, which we will assume is you, the reader. This form does not ask for any information about your petitioner or financial sponsor.
Form I-485 is available for free download on the Form I-485 page of the USCIS website. This article discusses the version of the form dated 12/23/2016, expiring 12/31/2018.
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 How to Get a Green Card.
You can fill in Form I-485 on your computer, and that’s the best way to do it. If you need to fill it in by hand, print legibly and use black ink. Signatures must be by hand, in ink—do not type your name or use a stamp where it asks for a signature.
You might come across a question on the form that doesn’t apply to you, or for which the answer is "none." For example, Part 1 asks for your middle name, and you might not have one. In situations like these, just leave the box blank, rather than entering “none” or “N/A.” There are some questions on the form, however, where you should enter “none” in the box if that’s the appropriate answer. The form tells you where, so read the questions carefully.
If you need extra space to provide a complete answer to any question, write or type the information on a separate piece of paper and attach it to the end of the form. On every extra sheet, type or print your name and Alien Registration number (if you have one) at the top. Indicate the I-485 page number, part number, and item number to which the information refers. Sign and date each extra page at the bottom.
Part 1 Information About You
Use the name that appears on your passport, unless you have changed it since getting the passport.
Give an address where USCIS can send mail to you. The c/o line is only for people who have asked others to receive mail for them—enter the name of the person who lives at the address if this is the case.
Date of last arrival refers to your most recent entry into the United States. You might find that date stamped in your passport.
Your I-94 Arrival/Departure Record Number was issued by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) when you entered the United States, if you did so legally (except if you are a Canadian who came by car). If you came before April 30, 2013, you will probably find a white I-94 card stapled in your passport. If you came after April 30, 2013 by sea or by air, you were most likely not given an I-94 card. You’ll have to get your I-94 number online at CBP’s I-94 retrieval website. Have your passport number ready.
Your Current USCIS Status could be the type of visa you are currently on, such as F-1 (student). You should use the visa designation if you know it (for example, “F-1”). Otherwise, or if you have no visa, describe your status with a term like “student” or “visitor” or “asylee.” If you have no legal status, you should indicate that by entering “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).
Expires on refers to the date your status in the U.S. will expire. This is almost always different from the date your visa expires, so don’t look at your visa for the answer to this question. You can find the date your status expires on your I-94. Some people, mostly students and exchange program visitors, have no exact expiration date—they are here for the “duration of status,” noted by “D/S” on the I-94. If this applies to you, enter “D/S” in the “Expires on” answer box.
Part 2 Application Type
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. If you’re filing the I-130 petition at the same time you’re filing your I-485 (see When an I-130 Can Be Filed at the Same Time as a Green Card Application), choose box a, even though technically the petition has not been approved yet.
Part 3 Processing Information
Most of this part should be self-explanatory. In section A, notice that USCIS wants only your mother's and father’s first name, not their full name. For Place of Last Entry into the United States, USCIS is looking for the place where you spoke to the CBP officer. (This would be the airport where you first landed, if you came by plane.) If you can’t remember, this information can be found by clicking the Get Travel History button on the I-94 website.
When answering In what status did you last enter?, you can use a descriptive word (like “student” or “visitor”), or you can use a visa designation (like “H-1B”) if you know yours. If you’ve changed your status since the last time you entered the U.S., enter the status you had when you entered, not the one you have now.
If this is not your first time filing an I-485, or if you have applied for an immigrant visa (for permanent residency) at a U.S. consulate overseas any time in the past, check the “yes” box where it asks Have you ever applied for permanent resident status in the U.S.? In the box below, say where and when you applied, and what happened. The date of filing is the filing date found on the receipt notice for your prior I-485, or the date you submitted the visa application form to the State Department if you were overseas. The place of filing is the city and state you were living in when you filed your previous I-485, or the city in which the U.S. consulate was located if you applied for an immigrant visa overseas. The final disposition is either approved or denied. There is no need to explain why on the form.
In section B, you list information about your spouse and all of your children (including adult children and stepchildren). List everyone, even if they are not immigrating at this time. This is especially important if they wish to immigrate later, because failure to mention them will create doubt as to whether they exist at all.
Part of the purpose of section 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—numbered 1 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.
You have to disclose arrests in Question 1.b., even if the arrest was a mistake and you were never charged with a crime. You can ignore tickets you got while driving except if drugs or alcohol was involved, or your fine was over $500. You will have to provide documentation showing what happened with every arrest, charge, conviction, or sentence.
Part 4 Accommodations for Individuals With Disabilities and/or Impairments
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.
Part 5 Signature
This is where you, the applicant for the green card, sign. There is also a place for an interpreter to sign, if you relied on an interpreter to answer the questions. If you don’t speak English well or at all, it’s best to get an interpreter to sign. You don’t have to speak English to get your green card, but if you need an interpreter at your green card interview, the officer is probably not going to approve your application if you didn't have an interpreter sign it.
Part 6 Signature of Person Preparing Form, If Other Than Above
If you filled out Form I-485 yourself, leave this part blank. Otherwise, this is where the person who filled out the form for you signs and provides his or her information.