On June 11, 2013, AILA NBC Liaison Committee released a practice pointer, specified procedures to follow in filling and renewing an Adjustment of Status (I-485) application. When you are actually applying, make sure you check with your local immigration courts and USCIS field offices to see if there are case-specific variations to the following general procedures.
I. Initial filings
An adjustment of status (Form I-485) application can be filed by those who are in removal proceedings and are eligible, or become eligible, to have their status adjusted in one or two ways. Usually, the immigration court will determine the option applicant must follow.
Some immigration judges require the Form I-485 application be filed before the termination of your removal proceeding. In this situation:
1) The original I-485 must be filed with the immigration court.
2) A copy of the application, along with the filing fees or a fee waiver granted by the immigration judge, and other documentation, should be sent to the Texas Service Center (TSC).
3) You will then receive a USCIS issued fee receipt notice showing that you have paid the application fee (unless waived) and the biometrics fee, assigned a receipt number, and scheduled for an initial biometrics appointment.
4) After receive the receipt notice from USCIS, you should file a copy of the receipt notice with the court along with a motion to terminate for adjustment of status with USCIS.
Once the immigration judge issued an order terminating removal proceedings, your file will be transferred to the local USCIS office for adjudication.
Other immigration judges will terminate proceedings without proof of filing the I-485. In this situation you may:
1) File a joint motion to terminate proceedings with ICE OCC;
2) Request termination at a master calendar hearing; or
3) File a motion to terminate proceedings.
If the immigration judge issues you an order terminating proceedings, you should file Form I-485 with USCIS by following the I-485 Form instructions, and include a legible copy of the immigration judge’s order.
Note: if the case is administratively closed by the immigration judge, jurisdiction over the Form I-485 remains with the immigration judge. USCIS may not adjudicate the Form I-485 in this situation.
If USCIS denies an I-485, you can generally renew your adjustment applications before an immigration judge if you are placed in removal proceedings.
You should then file a copy of the adjustment of status application that was originally filed with USCIS with the immigration court, in addition to all necessary forms for alternative types of relief that the client may be requesting. No new filing or biometric fees need to be paid in renewing proceedings. However, you should update their biometrics and/or the medical exam if either has expired.
III. Procedures after I-485 approval
When an immigration judge has approved an I-485, attorneys should take the following steps to ensure that the client receives his or her I-551, Permanent Resident Card:
1) Request that ICE OCC transfer the file to the appropriate USCIS field office.
2) Schedule an InfoPass appointment, bring the client and the original immigration court order granting adjustment of status to the field office, and request that USCIS issue evidence of lawful status to your client. You should also bring the client’s valid passport, or, in the event that the client does not have a valid passport, bring two passport pictures and photo identification so that USCIS can prepare an I-94 with an ADIT stamp.
3) Request that the A-file be sent to the Texas Card Production office for production of an I-551, Permanent Resident Card.
The USCIS field office will want to have the A-file from ICE to review the immigration judge’s order. Once the USCIS field office is satisfied that the order is the actual order issued by the immigration judge, the file should be transferred for I-551 card production.
If you have questions, feel free to email us.