We’re answering some of the most common questions about filing the I-140, I-485, priority dates and the green card process
The green card filing process can be long and complicated. Luckily, Envoy Global and Global Immigration Associates (GIA) are here to provide answers to the most frequently asked questions we get from employers and foreign nationals. Please remember to speak with your immigration attorney for additional questions or more information on the topics discussed.
Global Immigration Associates answers 12 common questions about the I-485, priority dates and more
1. What is Form I-140?
Form I-140 is used to petition for a foreign national employee to become a permanent resident in the U.S., according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
2. What is Form I-485?
Individuals in the U.S. use Form I-485 to apply for lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. The form’s full name is Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
3. When can I file my I-485 Adjustment of Status?
This is a common question many human resources professionals receive from their foreign national employees.
Foreign national employees can file the I-485 Adjustment of Status (even simultaneously with the I-140 petition) as long as his or her I-485 priority date is current.
4. What is a priority date?
For employment-based (EB) petitions, the priority date is the date the labor certification was filed with the U.S. Department of Labor (EB-2 and EB-3) or the date the I-140 immigrant petition was filed with USCIS if a Labor Certification was not needed (e.g., EB-1).
If the I-485 priority date is before the date indicated on the visa bulletin for the EB category and an employee’s country of birth, they can file during the month when the priority date is current. There is one exception: Foreign nationals can adopt their spouse’s country of birth under the doctrine of cross-chargeability.
- An employee born in India is applying for an EB-3. Their priority date is August 8, 2002: They are not current.
- An employee born in China is applying for an EB-2. Their priority date is December 31, 2008: They are current.
- An employee born in China is applying for an EB-2. They are married and their spouse was born in Canada. Their priority date is January 1, 2009: They are current.
5. Can I file I-140 and I-485 concurrently?
Yes, for some cases, USCIS does allow for the concurrent filing of Form I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker and Form I-485 Adjustment of Status application for employment-based green card preference categories, including EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3. That includes forms for the employee and dependents. More so, Form I-485 can be filed while a Form I-140 is still pending in some cases. However, you cannot file concurrently unless your priority date is “current” and your PERM has been approved.
A priority date is the date the PERM was filed, and you can see if that date is current on the USCIS visa bulletin. Only applicants with current priority dates are eligible to file form I-485. If the priority date is not current, the application will be rejected.
6. What are the benefits of concurrent filing?
Thanks to concurrent filing, which became available in 2002, foreign national employees can now submit the Form I-485 concurrently with the Form I-140, assuming their priority date is current, which could help expedite the green card application process. Before 2002, employees had to wait for the I-140 to be approved before filing Form I-485.
By filing concurrently, employees are eligible to file for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) at the same time as the I-485. In addition, when filing the I-485, they can file for Advance Parole, which allows more freedom to travel into and out of the U.S. while the I-485 is pending.
Of course, these benefits don’t apply to all cases. It’s important to check with your attorney to see if filing concurrently will benefit the case.
7. Do I have to file I-140 and I-485 concurrently?
No, even though you can file these two critical forms together, don’t feel obligated to file them at the same time. The I-485 will be approved only after the I-140 has been adjudicated by USCIS. However, this is an important strategic discussion that must be discussed with your employer and your immigrant attorney.
8. If I do not know my EB category and priority date, where can I find it?
A foreign national’s priority date can be found on the I-797 issued by USCIS that approves their I-130 petition. EB categories are on the I-140 Approval Notice.
If you are an Envoy Global customer, please post any questions to the Communication Center in the platform. We are happy to provide employees with their EB category and priority date.
9. If my I-485 priority date is current, let’s say during the month of January 2021, does it matter whether I file on the first or the 31st?
The only requirement is that your I-485 is received within the month that you are current.
10. If my I-485 priority date is current, let’s say during the month of January 2021, is the deadline to file January 31, 2012?
Not necessarily. If the following month’s visa bulletin shows that your priority date is still current, then the deadline to file is to ensure that the I-485 is received by USCIS on or before the last business day of the month.
11. Will my family members automatically get their green cards when I get mine?
No. Each family member who wants a green card must file his or her own I-485, as well as I-131 (Application for a Travel Document (Advance Parole)) and I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization (EAD)) if he or she wants work and travel permits while the I-485 is pending.
If you are an Envoy customer and do not see the forms for your dependents in your account, please reach out to the GIA legal team using the Communication Center.
12. What happens after I file my I-485?
In approximately to six weeks, you will get I-485 (I-131 and I-765 if filed) Receipt Notices. In approximately four to eight weeks, you will be issued a biometrics appointment, which will explain where and when to visit a local Application Support Center (ASC) to submit your photo and fingerprints for a security check. If you cannot make the appointment, please follow the instructions on the Appointment Notice by making the change request in writing.
Please note that rescheduling this appointment may delay the processing of the I-485. If you filed the I-131 and I-765 with the I-485, you should get your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card and advance parole within approximately six to eight months. USCIS should adjudicate your green card application in approximately twelve to eighteen months, assuming your priority date becomes current. If approved, you will receive your green card in the mail about 30 days after approval. If USCIS issues an adjustment interview notice, you must appear at the interview at a local USCIS office. The USCIS Officer overseeing will then adjudicate your green card application.
If emergency travel is required, it may be possible to obtain an “expedite” on the advance parole, though proof of the emergency should be submitted. Weddings abroad are not generally considered emergencies.
These are just a handful of common questions you or a foreign national employee at your organization may have before and during the green card process. For more information check our green card resources.
Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Sara Herbek, who is the Managing Partner at Global Immigration Associates, P.C. (www.giafirm.com), Envoy’s affiliated law firm.
Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.