You have reached the point of your permanent residence process whereby you can now file for your Adjustment of Status (‘AOS’). This is an application requesting permanent residence status and the issuance of a permanent residence card (‘green card’). As it relates to the employment based permanent residence process, depending on your particular situation you may be filing the I-485 one of three ways:
- along with an I-140 petition being filled by Vanderbilt University on your behalf. You may be represented by an attorney or file without attorney representation;
- along with an I -140 petition you are filing on your own or with a private attorney; or,
- alone, based on an I-140 petition that has already been approved by USCIS
USCIS Forms to Complete:
All USCIS forms needed for this part of the process can be obtained from USCIS Forms From LawLogix. To properly file for AOS the following documents must be completed:
I-765 (optional, but fee is not reduced if you do not file it)
I-131 (optional, but fee is not reduced if you do not file it)
Form I-693(Medical Examination) Form provided and completed By USCIS Civil Surgeon only
All applicants for permanent residence (i.e. filing an I-485 application) are required to have a medical examination. The examination is conducted by a USCIS certified surgeon. The civil surgeon will provide you with a sealed copy of your medical examination. Please do not open the sealed envelope. It must be sent to USCIS sealed and opened envelopes will be rejected. To avoid delays do not tamper with the sealed medical examination. You must use only a USCIS certified civil surgeon. You cannot use your private physician unless your physician is also a USCIS civil surgeon. The civil surgeon is only required to perform the actual physical, medical examination. You can have the additional tests (HIV, syphilis, Tb) and vaccinations done elsewhere such as the Tennessee Health Department or your personal physician. Civil surgeons can also bill these costs to your medical insurance as long as they have a provider relationship with your medical insurer. In addition, if you have your immunization record, you can simply take that with you when you meet the civil surgeon.
Click here for USCIS Civil Surgeon Locator
As part of the permanent residence process, USCIS will take a biometric scan of your fingerprints, face and signature. There is no form to complete for this process but you must pay an additional fee of $80.00. All applicants’ ages 14-79 years are required to have a biometric scan.
Employment Authorization (Form I-765):
Part of the I-485 application includes issuance of an employment authorization document (EAD). If you do not want employment authorization, and wish to continue working under your work visa (H-1B, O-1, E-3) you may. Vanderbilt University will continue to extend your non-immigrant visa status, where permitted by law, until your I-485 is approved and you are issued a permanent resident card. This will allow you to continue working at Vanderbilt and not be fully reliant on the I-485 and EAD for employment. Your family members can also extend their H-4 visa status until the permanent residence is approved.
However, if you need EAD in order to continue working you must file an application to request this employment authorization. Also, if you are seeking employment authorization to allow you to work outside of Vanderbilt University (moonlighting, contract work, honorariums, additional employment), or if one of your family members wants to be able to work in the USA, you, or your family member, must also complete Form I-765.
The questions on the I-765 application are generally self-explanatory except Question #16. That question asks you to state the Eligibility Category (or basis) for employment authorization. Since the I-485 is an adjustment of status application, you should enter (c)(9) in the brackets. Leave the last bracket empty.
International Travel During Permanent Residence Process (Form I-131):
Your current work visa can be used for both work and travel, but a new visa stamp may be needed if the one in your passport has expired. When you travel abroad, please remember to make an appointment with a US Consulate to obtain a new visa, if necessary.
However, if you are a citizen of a country that requires extensive background checks before issuing a new visa stamp, you may want to consider obtaining an advance parole travel document (‘AP travel document’). The AP travel document is valid for one year and allows you to return to the USA without having to obtain a new H-1B visa. To request an AP Travel Document you must complete Form I-131. When you complete the I-131 answer only the sections of the form that pertain to Advance Parole. You can ignore the other sections of the form. Note, also, that if you are in the USA and requesting Advance Parole, the correct "Application Type" in Part 2 is box "d" (I'm applying for advance parole to return to the US after traveling abroad). You do not need to complete anything else in Part 2, once you choose box "d".
Note : USCIS is now issuing employment and travel authorization on a single card for certain applicants filing an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, Form I-485. This card will serve as both an employment authorization and Advance Parole document. Additionally, the new card is also more secure and more durable than the current paper Advance Parole document.
Applicants who file an I-765 and I-131 along with their I-485 application will receive this card. Additional information about this joint Adance Parole and EAD card (AP/EAD) can be found by clicking here: AP/EAD Card.
Additional Documents Required:
Please read the USCIS forms you are completing and provide all documents requested. The documents generally required are as follows:
- Passport biographical data page
- H-1B or non-immigrant visa (or approval notice)
- I-94 document (both sides required)
- Birth Certificate
- Six original passport size photos
- All prior I-20, IAP-66, DS-2019 documents
- All J-1 waiver approvals or waiver recommendation letters
Family members also filing will also have to show proof of their relationship to you (i.e. marriage certificate, birth certificate)
USCIS Fees & Who Is Responsible For Paying:
In July 2007, USCIS instituted a flat fee payment for all I-485 filings. Under the new process, the I-485, I-131, I-765 and biometrics fees are bundled together. The filing of the I-765 (EAD) and the I-131 (Advance Parole) is optional but the fee is NOT reduced if you do not file these applications. Also, all EAD and AP renewals are free until your permanent residence application is approved.
Vanderbilt University is not required to pay the USCIS fees related to the I-485 filing. Your department may choose to pay some or all of these fees, but there is no requirement that they do so. Payment of these fees is the responsibility of the international employee. If your department has agreed to pay all or a portion of these fees, they may reimburse you for the fee once you received the receipt notice from the USCIS. Regardless, the international employee is required to pay the fee up front.
The current fees are as follows:
Applicants ages 14 – 79: $1070.00
Applicants over age 79: $985.00
Applicants under age 14 filing with parent: $635.00
Applicants under 14 filing after parent: $985.00
All fees must be paid by check or money order made payable to: ‘US Citizenship & Immigration Services” or “USCIS”. Filing fees are subject to change so please confirm the fees on the USCIS Check Filing Fees page.
THE INFORMATION PROVIDED HERE IS FOR THE GENERAL GUIDANCE PURPOSES ONLY. NEITHER VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY NOR VISIT IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CONTENT OF YOUR I-485 DOCUMENTS OR FOR THE I-485 FILING ITSELF. VISIT WILL REVIEW YOUR FILE ONLY TO ENSURE COMPLETION OF ALL DOCUMENTS. ALSO, IF YOUR I-485 FILING IS FORWARDED TO USCIS BY VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY, IT IS DONE AS A COURTESY ONLY AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL REPRESENTATION BY VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY OR THE OIS STAFF.
OIS does not maintain a list of immigration attorneys but does have a list of attorneys who most regularly assist Vanderbilt employees with personal immigration matters. If you wish to have legal representative for your I-485 filing(s) you are free to use the immigration attorney of your choice. A list of Nashville-based immigration attorneys can be found through a simple internet search. However, if you would like the names of the immigration attorneys who are known to regularly assist Vanderbilt employees, please contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org . Please note that OIS does not endorse the services of any immigration attorney. Also note that, you will be solely responsible for the legal fees and the contractual relationship with the attorney you retain. If you have specific questions, please contact OIS at (615)343-7467 or email@example.com .