united states of america permanent residentApplying for a green card within the United States, known as adjustment of status, can be a complicated process with lots of required paperwork. One key to success is ensuring you have all the required documents ready before submitting your I-485 application. This allows everything to move smoothly once your application gets filed.

As you prepare to apply, here are the key documents and evidence you will need to prove your eligibility and support your adjustment of status case.

Confirming Your Identity

One of the first things you will need for your I-485 application is a set of documents that confirm your identity, including the following:

Passport-Style Photographs

You will need to submit two identical color passport photos taken within 30 days of filing showing your full face with a white background. Photos should be recent, clear, unretouched, and printed on thin paper with a glossy finish.

Government-Issued ID

This will usually be a copy of the biographic page of your valid passport showing your picture, date of birth, and other identifying details. If you don’t have a passport, submit a photocopy of another current government ID containing your photo and printed information, such as a driver’s license or national identity card.

Evidence of Birth

In most cases, you must provide an official certified copy of your birth certificate as issued by the appropriate civil authority from your country of birth. It must be the long-form type, listing at least one parent.

If no birth record exists, you can send alternate documents such as religious, hospital, or school certificates instead, along with an explanation of why the primary record is unavailable.

Proof of Immigration Status

Essential to any green card application is showing how you entered the country and maintained legal status. Key documents include:

Lawful Admission Evidence

Submit photocopies showing you were properly inspected by an immigration officer upon last entering the country. This can include pages from your passport with an admission or parole stamp, your Arrival/Departure Record (Form I-94), or other documentation verifying your inspection.

Continuous Status Documentation

Compile visa records, I-20 student documents, papers showing continual employment authorization, and any other forms demonstrating you have maintained lawful non-immigrant or parolee status in the U.S. continuously since arriving without any lapses. You may also have to provide signed letters explaining any gaps in status.

Confirming Eligibility Category

You must also provide paperwork confirming the specific green card category you are applying under, such as the following:

Approved Visa Petition

If your adjustment of status eligibility relies on a family, employment, or other immigrant visa petition, include copies of any I-130, I-140, or I-360 approval notices.

Marriage Certificates

couple holding handsSpouses looking to obtain green cards by marrying a United States citizen or permanent resident need to provide an official certified copy of their marriage certificate establishing that relationship.

If you were previously married, also submit documentation such as divorce decrees or death certificates proving any earlier marriages legally ended.

Job Offer Letter

For employment-based green cards, have your U.S. employer draft a formal support letter addressed to USCIS confirming they have a permanent, full-time job available for you that you are qualified for once approved.

The letter should detail your proposed job title, duties, salary, and minimum education/experience qualifications.

Financial Support Evidence

In addition, you must reassure USCIS that you can financially support yourself in the U.S. and will not become a drain on public resources. Documents to gather include:

Affidavit of Support

Depending on your green card category, you may need Form I-864 completed by a sponsor pledging to provide financial support to you at or above published federal poverty guidelines. This is mandatory for most family-based applicants. Sponsors must be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or certain employers.

Tax Documents

To back up promises of support, your sponsor also needs to give copies of recent tax returns, W-2s, business registration papers, bank account statements, or other proof verifying current sufficient income and/or assets to reasonably maintain your household in the U.S.

No Criminal History

One critical area USCIS examines is whether you have any past criminal history that could make you inadmissible for a green card. You want to pull together documents such as the following:

Police Certificates

For any country where you lived for more than six months during the past five years, obtain a formal police certificate from relevant authorities showing you do not have a criminal record. These certified background checks should specifically state you have no arrests or charges on file.

If any record does exist when you request checks from abroad, also secure court dispositions explaining the final outcome of any case that did not result in a formal conviction.

Overcoming Inadmissibility

In the event you are found deportable or inadmissible due to a past criminal matter or other basis for exclusion, you may proactively file Form I-601 to request a waiver if you can demonstrate extreme hardship if not granted admission to the U.S. as a green card holder.

Be sure to include credible evidence supporting your waiver arguments, such as family ties, medical needs, financial hardship, and other factors.

Preparing Medical Exams

close up view of fragment of permanent resident card (Green) card of USA on blurred backgroundWhile medical tests can come later, start locating doctors certified by USCIS to perform immigration examinations. Once approved, they’ll complete Form I-693, confirming you don’t have health conditions that make you inadmissible.

Once your application is filed, get this essential item wrapped up so your sealed results will be ready to submit when requested.

Feel Confident About Your Application Prep with Pride Immigration’s Help

If uncertainty over compiling documents for your green card application has been holding you back from filing your I-485 application, Pride Immigration is here to help guide you.

Contact us today at (703) 594-4040 or online to leverage our personalized assistance that has helped countless immigrants effectively navigate the adjustment of status process.

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Beeraj Patel, Esq.

Partner at KPPB Law
Beeraj Patel's philosophy is simple - make it easy for talented and ambitious individuals to have access to immigration materials so that they can make the choice which is right for them.
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