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Tips for Filing the Perfect AOS Application with Legal Assistant, Reagan Volkman

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For this series, we bring you our top tips for filing the perfect family-based adjustment of status application (I-130/485), as well as valuable tips concerning common mistakes to avoid when filing the adjustment of status application, from our in-house family-based legal assistant, Ms. Reagan Volkman. Ms. Volkman has worked with hundreds of clients from all over the world helping them file their adjustment of status packages from beginning to end. With her hard work and dedication, our office has enjoyed an unprecedented approval rate for these petitions.

Tip #1 Ensure accuracy on every form associated with the I-130/485, especially in regards to questions relating to criminal history and/or immigration violations

  • Double check every form to ensure that you have completed each form as thoroughly and accurately as possible, making sure all dates and social security numbers are correct.

REMEMBER: Dates should be written in the (mm/dd/yyyy) format unless otherwise stated on each form;

  • If information is unavailable/not applicable, note such on each form;
  • Review all the yes and no questions listed on pages 3-5 of form I-485. Be very careful when answering these questions and thoroughly explain any “yes” answers. These questions relate to criminal history and immigration violations (such as fraud, willful representation, or removal from the United States);
  • It is strongly advised that you seek counsel from an accredited attorney if you have any criminal history and/or have committed any immigration violations, as these issues may require you to file a waiver before seeking adjustment of status, or make you inadmissible;
  • If you have served in the military in any foreign country and/or have military training you must answer “yes” and provide the relevant information requested. For countries that require military enlistment we recommend to note that the service was ‘mandatory’ in the description;
  • If you have held a J-1 visa in the past, and have been subject to the two-year foreign residence requirement, but did not obtain a waiver, you must answer “yes” and provide the relevant information requested;

Tip #2 Provide Evidence of Lawful Entry

  • Provide as much information pertaining to lawful entry as possible including date of entry, I-94 arrival/departure number, and place of entry;
  • Include a clear copy of the I-94 entry stamp as proof of legal entry;
  • If you are applying for adjustment of status based on 245i you must include a copy of your receipt notice proving that you are a beneficiary of an immigrant visa petition or application for labor certification during the required timeframes. You must also provide documented evidence proving your physical presence in the United States on December 21, 2000;

Tip #3 Ensure that you are submitting all necessary supporting documents with the application

  • Send clear, easy-to-read, and full size copies of all civil and financial documents being submitted with the applications;
  • It is preferable for the applicant and petitioner to send color copies of any passport and visa biographical pages;

Tip #4 Make sure the Petitioner meets the Income Requirement to Sponsor the Green Card Applicant by Reviewing the Affidavit of Support Poverty Guidelines I-864P

  • Triple check the petitioner’s income against the I-864P to ensure that the petitioner meets the income requirements, otherwise the applicant will be required to obtain a joint sponsor;
  • If the petitioner is retired or does not meet the income requirement based on their most recent income taxes, the petitioner may supplement their income with assets. It is strongly advised that the petitioner read the I-864 instructions very carefully to make sure they understand what type of assets may be used and what documentation is necessary;

For more assistance on this subject please click here and here.

Tip #5 Green Card Applicants who entered the United States on a Diplomatic Visa 

  • If you, the green card applicant, entered the United States on a Diplomatic Visa and now wish to adjust your status to permanent resident, you must sign and complete form I-566 Interagency Record of Request in duplicate with original signatures and form I-508 Waiver of Rights, Privileges, Exemptions and Immunities in triplicate with original signatures;
  • Failure to do so will result in delay of receipt of the permanent resident card and a request for evidence requesting this information;

Common Pitfalls to Avoid During Filing:

  • For U.S. visa holders: Make sure that you list the correct visa number on the I-485 rather than the control number (the visa number can be found in the bottom right hand corner of the visa page);
  • Do not just send the most recent tax return as the only financial evidence – also send recent paystubs, wage statements, and verification of current employment;
  • One of the most common reasons for the denial of an adjustment of status application is due to failure to provide documented evidence showing that the petitioner meets the income requirement. Typically, a request for evidence is issued if the petitioner has not provided the necessary information. If the petitioner does not meet the income requirement, a joint sponsor is necessary;
  • Another common reason why these applications are denied is owed to failure to provide evidence of legal entry (I-94 stamp, 245i eligibility, etc.);
  • Include a personal check, money order, or cashier’s check for all filing fees and the necessary passport photographs from the petitioner and beneficiary. Please click here for the I-485 filing fee and the I-130 filing fee;
  • Ensure that you are sending the AOS package to the correct filing address. Typically, the Chicago Lockbox is the appropriate address, however you should verify the filing address on the USCIS website. You may also request this information by contacting the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) by calling toll-free 1-800-375-5283 or 1-800-767-1833 for the deaf or hard of hearing.

For additional questions please contact our office.