The I-485 is a form that USCIS (formerly INS) requires you to complete if you want to become a permanent resident in the United States of America (commonly referred to as a green card holder). You may be required to adjust other forms as well depending on your individual situation, but this is a common form to adjust your status even if it is not permanent. So get your immigration file and complete this form online, save often on your hard drive, and then simply print it on white paper. Always sign in black ink in the designated box.
Part 1. Information About You
Most of the boxes are simple and straightforward. Pay close attention to the Social Security number, I-94# and A#. Also copy the exact date of last arrival, expiration date, and and current USCIS status from your I-94 card and the passport. Now, if you took a road trip to Canada or Mexico or crossed by foot from either of these two countries, or maybe went on a cruise, if the US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officer did not stamp your passport and you never completed a new I94 form (if you enter Mexico or Canada, no one will take your I-94), then you must enter the actual date and not the one on the card that you have. Simply attach a separate sheet of paper of all the trips that you have taken along with date of departure, destination, date of entry, and place of entry. This is very common and there is nothing to fear.
Part 2. Application Type
Check one box depending on your situation. I am expecting that most likely you will need to pick from a to do choices because the rest of them are primarily related to Cubans. Remember that whatever box you check, you will need to have evidence of that category.
Part 3. Processing Information
A. I will only talk about the ones that are tricky. For occupation, if you do not work, write unemployed or homemaker or retired. Or, write something like nurse, engineer, etc. Again, as I said above, write down the place of last entry into the US, the status (now if you entered in one status and took short trips for vacation, your status does not change; so if you had a multiple entry H1B visa, you can go in and out as many times as you want, but your status will always be the same and that is what you should write here).
You must have been inspected by a US immigration officer and you should check Yes. The only ones who will check No are those aliens who crossed the border illegally and never formally interacted with an officer. Inspection by a United States Immigration Officer means that you arrived at a check point on a border crossing or airport, completed the forms, presented them with a passport to an agent, and after the officer approved your entry, you entered the country.
If you entered the United States legally, some of you will have a nonimmigrant visa. Those of you who entered from one of the visa waiver country may not have a visa in their passport and can leave this blank. If you have a visa, enter the embassy or consulate name from the visa page itself, along with the number and date.
Let us hope that this is your first time adjusting your status and you will answer No. If you have answered yes, write down why your application was rejected and provide date and place. People in this situation should complete their application with an attorney because it is clear that your case is complicated.
B. This is really simple as well and is basically information about your family.
C. This is a place to tell the USCIS about your military background. Other than that, if you have played tennis in a club, you do not have to mention it, nor do you have to mention a religious service that you attend, but if you are/were a paying member of an organization, then you must list it here. For example, if you were the treasurer of World Club Against Poverty, this is the place to list it.
Questions 1 to 18. Read all the questions and ask yourself if the 100% accurate answer to all of them is No. If the answer to any one of them is Yes, I encourage you to consult an attorney, because if it is not handled professionally, your application maybe in jeopardy. If the answer is Yes, it does not mean that your application will be definitely denied, but you must provide all the evidence. People who have broken any laws, have interacted with police/courts etc., have been in deportation proceedings, entered the United States illegally, stolen identities, worked without authorization, used fake papers like green card/Social Security number/driver's license/passport/visa, entered the US using another person's visa or passport, arrested from shoplifting, DUI, illegal drugs, domestic violence, guns, etc. will need to exercise extreme caution in completing this part, preferably with competent legal help. DO NOT think even for a moment that you can get away with lying or hiding any facts because you never know what the Government has on file about you. That is why it is absolutely critical to be honest and truthful because lying can not only result in rejection of the application, you maybe prosecuted and deported.
Part 4. Accommodation For Individuals With Disabilities and/or Impairments
Check the right box and indicate your need. This is relevant if you are called for an in-person interview for immigration purposes.
Part 5. Signature
You must read and understand what is written above the signature box. Notice that in addition to committing to letting USCIS know your correct address at all times and registering for Selective Service (if applicable), more importantly, you are declaring that you are telling the whole truth and if anything in the I485 form is found to be inaccurate, you will be deemed to have committed perjury, a serious offense in the United States. You are also allowing the USCIS to collect whatever information it wants from anyone, anywhere. In other words, the USCIS can not only access information about you in the United States but also elsewhere, and not just that in government files and databases but also in private databases like those of banks and universities. If you feel confident that you are all clear, then sign your name, print your full name, enter the date and a day time phone number which either you will answer or it has voicemail or someone responsible will take messages for you.