Next Steps for Filing Your I-485

Next Steps for Filing Your I-485

If you are current using the Dates for Filing chart, contact us immediately to get your case started.

  1. Request an engagement letter and invoice.
  2. Determine whether you need to request work and travel permits and note on engagement letter.
    If you depart the U.S. prior to receiving your travel approval, USCIS will determine you have abandoned your request to adjust status. 
  3. Once the invoice is paid, funds remain in your client trust account.
  4. You will be invited to our secure client portal.
  5. Don’t forget to schedule your Civil Surgeon Medical Exam. Find a USCIS doctor here
  6. The legal team will send you the appropriate checklists and questionnaires.
  7. Complete the questionnaires and upload the documents back to the portal.
  8. The attorney will guide you through the whole process and request any additional information to improve your filing.
  9. File before October 30, just in case the predictions for “rapid forward movement” don’t hold true due to the increased filings.

ATTORNEY TIP: If you are unable to secure a medical examination prior to filing, you may file without it and USCIS will request it later by issuing a Request for Evidence (RFE). However, some employment-based green cards are being approved without an interview. If you didn’t submit a medical exam, the subsequent RFE could delay your processing or even prevent an automatic approval.

Processing Times

Currently, the I-140 processing time is estimated to be between 5 and 32 months. The I-485 processing time is estimated to be between 7 and 32 months. This depends on the location where the form is processed and will also vary due to COVID protocols and application volumes.

Premium Processing is available for new I-140s, but not duplicate or subsequent filings. If available, Premium Processing guarantees adjudication or action on the case within 15 days. Read more on premium processing for I-140s when shifting visa categories: Should I shift from EB-2 to EB-3? 

Many applicants file Form I-131 to request permission to travel internationally, or “Advance Parole” (AP). If you depart the U.S. prior to receiving your AP approval, USCIS will determine you have abandoned your request to adjust status. Form I-131 is currently taking 5 to 7 months to process.

When filing your I-485, you may also request a work permit or Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Current EAD processing times vary by service center but range from 3 to 8 months.

Check USCIS Processing Times

Not quite current? Start gathering your documentation to prepare for the rapid forward movement. Send your country of birth and priority date to so we can notify you if you may be eligible for filing when the next Visa Bulletin is released.


International Travel: Please advise our office if you have planned or anticipate any international travel in the next twelve months.

If you have ever been arrested in the U.S. or another country, please disclose to our office immediately so that our office can best represent you.  

  • Copy of Foreign Passport (and expired passport if it includes immigration history)
  • Most recent I-94
  • Copy of all prior immigration documentation (I-797s, I-20s, DS-2019s, I-601 waiver, etc.)
  • Copy of Employment Authorization Document (EAD) work cards
  • Copy of Birth Certificate*
  • Copy of Marriage Certificate
  • For prior marriages, copy of marriage certificate and evidence of legal termination (divorce decree or death certificate)
  • Police Certificates – ONLY REQUIRED FOR CONSULAR PROCESSING (Must be obtained for any arrests in the U.S. or in another country.)
  • Documentation of any criminal arrests, convictions, etc. (REQUIRED IF APPLYING FROM U.S.)
  • Certificates of citizenship to other countries other than country of birth
  • Copy of any U.S. federal tax returns for three most recent years
  • Copy of any W-2 statements for three most recent years (or covering all years of employment for an employer-sponsored green card)
  • Copy of paystubs for six most recent months
  • Six (6) U.S. passport-style photos
  • Civil Surgeon Medical Exam – Form
    I-693 (sealed in an envelope with full name printed on the outside; must be submitted to USCIS within 60 days of physician’s signature)
  • I-485 Supplement J for employment-based cases (signed by original petitioning employer demonstrating continued offer of employment)
  • USCIS Filing Fee and Legal Fee

Any document not in English must be accompanied by a certified English translation.

* If your birth certificate is not available, you may have to provide secondary evidence. Read more: No Birth Certificate or Mismatched Information: How Can I Meet Green Card Requirements? 


A recent court ruling has allowed the “Public Charge” rule to go into effect, mandating Form I-944 for all I-485 filings. Explore what documents are required:

Additional Resources

Join us on Wednesdays for a live webinar at 12 PM ET on critical immigration updates

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Contact us at or 804-360-8482 to get your case started today.