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J1 Visa to Green Card | Steps for Filing I-485

Updated: Dec 21, 2022

J1 visa and adjustment of status, form I-485 is to adjust your status to permanent resident and once I-485 is approved you should get the green card. This is step 2, the final step of getting a permanent resident from a J1 visa.

Please note that it is a choice if you want to retain the attorney for the I-485 filing or not. Usually, most of the attorneys will provide you with a package if you have hired them for an I-140 petition filing. The package has all the steps and documents list needed to apply for I-485.

Related post: How to get a J1 waiver

The majority of people choose to do this step by themselves but everyone is in a different scenario so you can decide for your case. Although one can file I-140 and I-485 concurrently. I filed for I-485 after the approval of the I-140 as I did not want to lose money in case my I-140 petition is denied. Basically, the money I would spend on I-485.

I decided to hire a lawyer for the I-485 step too since I had some doubts about certain documents and was a bit worried. I had already gotten the 212e waiver (2-year home residency requirement) before I started the I-485 application.

Below are the forms you will need to fill out for the primary applicant and each derivative. In my case attorney filled out these forms for me

  1. I-485:

  2. I-765:

  3. I-131:

  4. I-163:

  5. G-1145:

  • I-485 is the adjustment of status to green card; I-765 is for employment authorization documents in case you wish to work with pending I-1485; I-131 is an advance parole form in case you need to travel outside the US with the pending I-140 application. Obviously one can choose whether to file I-765 or I-131 with the I-485 application or not and there is no separate fee for those forms if you file them together with I-485. G-1145 form you can use to request an electronic notification from the USCIS.

Related post: How to apply for an OCI card
  • I-485, I-765, I-131, and G-1145 forms were filled by the attorney and uploaded in the portal for us (me and my husband) to review and sign.

  • I-693 is a medical examination and vaccination record form and you don't need to fill that form. There are doctors affiliated with USCIS who will do this for you. You need to make an appointment with them and here is the link to check the closest one available in your zip code.

These doctors are not covered through your primary insurance and each one has a separate fee. When you call them to make an appointment please ask them for their fees and how long it will take to give you the results back.
I chose the cheapest and closest doctor with a good online rating. Once you visit them they will do all the tests necessary for you and will also ask you to provide your vaccination record based on that they will decide if you need more vaccination or not. If you do not have a vaccination record you can go to their primary care and get an antibody test done.
Even the USCIS doctors can give you the vaccination in case you don't have one but they will charge you an additional fee. Each age group has certain vaccination requirements and you can even ask the USCIS doctors clinic on the phone what vaccination you need to have in order to get them done before you visit the clinic. My personal recommendation is to start the process as soon as you get the I-140 approval since this step might take a lot more time.

  • Once the results are ready the doctor's clinic will call you back and give you a sealed envelope having your I-639 form this sealed envelope is for USCIS to open (DO NOT OPEN THAT IS IS FOR USCIS). Please don't worry the doctors will also give you a copy of the I-639 form and you can see it.

  • In the end, you need to draft a cover letter mentioning your application and what you are submitting. Also, draft a personal statement of roughly one page about what you are doing right now and what are your future plans in terms of work in the USA.

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  • Once everything is ready, along with the supporting documents you can send it to USCIS. After you submit your I-485 application they will notify you and send you the receipt number for all three cases.

  • Biometrics appointment: Probably in 1-3 months the USCIS will notify you when and where to go for biometrics. At biometrics, the USCIS will collect your fingerprints, take your photo, and have you sign your name for electronic capture.

Sometimes USCIS will also send a notice with the interview date & time. But when I was undergoing this process during COVID they were exempting some cases from the interview and I was lucky to be one.

Even if you get to do an interview it will be pretty simple and the officer will most likely be asking about your work etc.

Supplementary documents
  1. Copies of all DS-2019

  2. Copies of passport

  3. J1 waiver approval notice

  4. Last 4 paystub

  5. Birth certificate

  6. All visas issued ever

  7. Employment letter

  8. I-94

  9. All filled forms

  10. I-140 approval notice

  11. Marriage certificate

  12. Personal statement

Please drop me a comment if you have any doubt. Happy to help!! 😊

Next: Expedite GC

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