Adjustment of Status applications are one of the most common types of immigration petitions. When you visit our office to complete an Adjustment of Status (Form I-485) for yourself or a family member, we will work with you to complete the submission packet as quickly and efficiently as possible.
It is important to be aware of the steps required to file an Adjustment packet in order to create a realistic and satisfactory timeline. As such, we’d like to go over a few of the main requirements that have the potential to slow down the filing of an Adjustment of Status packet. These items are important to keep in mind in case you are up against a tight deadline or impending visa expiration.
The Medical Exam
Every Adjustment of Status applicant is required to attend a comprehensive medical examination from a USCIS-approved civil surgeon. The only exception to this is if you entered the US on a K1 fiancé(e) visa, in which case the medical exam is completed abroad before entering the US. While there are dozens of doctors who are certified to complete such exams in most areas, it usually takes a week or two to get the appointment scheduled and about a week to receive the results from the doctor’s office after the appointment.
In some cases, multiple vaccines may be needed in order to meet the requirements for immigration. This might require a follow up visit to the doctor. Applicants who are unsure about their vaccine history should factor this in when timing and preparing their Adjustment of Status packet.
In order to file for Adjustment of Status, the intending immigrant must submit a valid Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, from their petitioner and, in some cases, a joint sponsor. This form requires extensive supporting evidence, including complete tax returns or transcripts from the past three years (personal and business, if self-employed), W2s, 1099s, or other tax schedules, 3-6 months of pay stubs or bank statements, proof of assets (if applicable), and an employment verification letter.
In our experience, obtaining taxes and other financial documents has resulted in significant delays for many people. Anyone who is self-employed or owns a business or properties will likely need to contact their accountant to get access to all of the necessary documents. It may also take a week or longer to request an employment verification letter on company letterhead from your supervisor or human resources manager.
While coming up with your own financial documents can take a while, we often find that it can take much longer for joint sponsors to gather all of the necessary items and review and sign the required Affidavit of Support form. Joint sponsors on an immigration case are often parents, extended family members, or family friends. In many cases, they do not live in the same city or state as the applicant, and so coordinating document collection and check ins can be difficult. If your case requires a joint sponsor, we recommend getting them on board as early as possible so that they know what you need from them and when you need it.
Address and Employment History
Both the petitioner and the beneficiary on an Adjustment of Status application must list out their complete address and employment history from the past five years. While this task is easy for someone who hasn’t moved or changed jobs often, it can be very difficult for individuals who have moved frequently, lived abroad for work, or had many changes to employment.
Taking the time to record all of this history can slow down the completion of an I-485 form. We often advise clients to use resources such as their previous tax returns or W2s to easily track down the names, addresses, and phone numbers of their previous employers and old rental applications to find details of their address and rental history.
Letters of Support (in spousal cases only)
The final items that we have found to slow down completion of an Adjustment packet are letters of support from friends and family. While most people will have no problem agreeing to help out with this important process by providing a brief signed letter, oftentimes this person is not in as much of a rush as you are to get the submission completed. Therefore, they may take a week or more to draft and send a letter to you. This should be factored in when compiling your relationship evidence.