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What is an I-485 Petition?

Form I-485, officially titled “Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status”, is used by EB-5 investors to convert their legal status to that of a green card upon approval, if they are already in the U.S. The I-485 can also help EB-5 applicants whowish to remain in the U.S. while their I-526 or I-526E Petition is processed. Here are some key aspects of Form I-485:

  1. Purpose: The primary function of Form I-485 is to allow individuals currently in the United States to apply for lawful permanent residency without having to return to their home country to complete visa processing.
  2. Eligibility: To file an I-485 Form, an individual must be eligible for a green card through various means such as family sponsorship, employment, refugee or asylee status, or other special programs like the EB-5 investor program.
  3. Requirements: Applicants must provide evidence of their eligibility for permanent residency. In the case of an EB-5 Investor, it will be their I-526 Standalone Investor Petition or I-526E Regional Center Investor Petition.
  4. Adjustment of Status: Filing this form is referred to as “adjusting status,” which is different from obtaining a green card through consular processing (done outside the U.S.). Only individuals who are physically present in the U.S. on an eligible visa can file Form I-485.
  5. Concurrent Filing: Concurrent filing, especially beneficial for EB-5 investors, refers to filing Form I-485 simultaneously with the I-526E Petition under the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022. This allows investors legally present in the U.S. to apply for adjustment of status alongside their EB-5 petitions, along with applying for work authorization (Form I-765) and a travel permit (Form I-131). This process can significantly expedite receiving employment authorization and travel permits, sometimes in as little as three months. Concurrent filing is particularly advantageous for visa holders on visas like H-1B, E-2, and F-1, enabling them to begin enjoying the benefits of permanent residency sooner at the same time as legally staying in the U.S. while their I-526 petition is processed. This option is more efficient than consular processing abroad and is crucial for those with expiring visas. However, it’s important to note that while holders of “dual intent” visas like H-1B or L-1 can file Form I-485 concurrently with their I-526 petition, those on “non-immigrant intent” visas should be cautious and consult with their immigration attorney before filing Form I-485.
  6. Processing Time and Interview: The processing time for Form I-485 can vary based on the individual case and the office handling it. The I-485 will not be processed until the EB-5 green card petition is approved.
  7. Result of Approval: Once approved, the applicant is granted lawful permanent resident status and will receive their green card, allowing them to live and work permanently in the United States.

Form I-485 is a vital step for EB-5 investors that would like to remain in the U.S. while their I-526 or I-526E Petition is processed.