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J1 Visa to Green Card: I-485 Application Process and Documents Checklist

The I-485 application process is the final step in transitioning from a J1 visa to a green card, a process known as Adjustment of Status. Once the I-485 is approved, you will receive your green card within 1-3 months, signifying the completion of the transition from a J1 visa to permanent residency.

Table of Contents: J1 Visa to Green Card

Deciding whether to engage an attorney for the I-485 filing is a personal choice. Typically, attorneys offering services for I-140 petition filing provide a comprehensive package, including all necessary steps and a document checklist for the I-485 application process. If you missed my previous blog, I would suggest you start from here:

While many individuals handle this step independently, the decision depends on individual circumstances. Although I-140 and I-485 can be filed concurrently, I opted to file I-485 after I-140 approval to avoid potential financial loss if the I-140 petition was denied.

Due to uncertainties and doubts about certain documents, I chose to retain a lawyer for the I-485 process. Before starting the I-485 application, I had already obtained the 212(e) waiver (2-year home residency requirement).

I-485 Checklist

Below is the I-485 checklist required for the primary J1 applicant and derivatives in the I-485 Adjustment of Status filing process, transitioning from J1 to the Green Card.

  • Adjustment of Status: I-485

  • Application for Employment Authorization: I-765

  • Advance Parole: I-131

  • Medical Examination and Vaccination Record: I-693

  • E-Notification: G-1145

I-485 signifies the adjustment of status to a green card, I-765 relates to employment authorization during pending I-485, and I-131 serves as an advance parole form for potential travel outside the US during pending I-140. The G-1145 form can be used to request electronic notifications from USCIS.

The attorney filled out and uploaded the I-485, I-765, I-131, and G-1145 forms to the portal for review and signature by both myself and my husband.

I-485 Medical Exam

Regarding the I-485 medical examination and vaccination record, USCIS-affiliated doctors handle this, and you can locate the nearest one through this link.

These doctors charge separate fees, not covered by primary insurance. Some doctors may even ask you to print and fill out the form before visiting them. In my case, the doctor handled the entire process.

After the approval of I-140, I initiated the process by selecting the most affordable and conveniently located doctor. The doctors conduct necessary tests and, based on existing vaccination records or an antibody test, determine if additional vaccinations are required.

I-485 medical exam

Upon completion, the doctor's clinic provides a sealed envelope containing the I-639 form, exclusively for USCIS (DO NOT OPEN IT). A copy of the I-639 form is also given to the applicant.

Submit I-485 Application

To finalize the application, draft a cover letter outlining your submission and a one-page personal statement describing your current activities and plans in the USA. After assembling all documents, apply to USCIS. Upon submission, USCIS will notify you, providing a receipt number for all three cases.

After Submitting I-485

Expect a biometrics appointment in 1-3 months, where USCIS collects fingerprints, photos, and signatures for electronic capture. Some cases may receive interview notices, but exemptions may apply, as was the case during my process amid COVID-19. Even if an interview occurs, it's typically straightforward, with questions focusing on your work and related matters.

I-485 Document Required

Below are the documents required for the I-485 application in the J1 to green card transition process:

  • Copies of all DS-2019

  • Copies of passport

  • J1 waiver approval notice

  • Last 4 pay stubs

  • Birth certificate

  • All visas ever issued

  • Employment letter

  • I-94

  • All filled forms

  • I-140 approval notice

  • Marriage certificate

  • Personal statement

Feel free to drop a comment if you have any doubts—I'm happy to help!

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