Green Card Application Common Mistakes

If you currently reside in the United States on a visa or entered the United States with a visa and you are the parent of a U.S. Citizen or the spouse of a U.S. Citizen and you are considering immigrating, the first step on your journey is the Green Card application, I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. Eligibility for a permanent resident card (Green Card) varies and has a lot of exceptions, so this is a good time to reach out to an attorney. Legal advocates can help consult you on what options may be available and what issues may arise. For instance, if you are the victim of abuse, you have eligibility options.

Once you are sure of your eligibility, you will begin to file Form I-485. Form I-485 has a fairly unpredictable timeline for approval, and a hefty fee. So, you will want to ensure that you avoid common mistakes that could cause delays or result in a denial.

Common Mistakes in Filing Form I-485

1. Unverified eligibility

This is a huge reason to seek legal counsel. Eligibility is a wide topic. You might be eligible through Employment, Family, Refugee/Asylum Status, Marriage, and several other exceptions. Having eligibility is also determined by active immigrant visa status. When determining eligibility, it is really helpful to have a supportive and knowledgeable legal advocate.

2. Missing forms or forgetting to file a form

This will delay the process at best, or make you start over again. Check with UCSIS and make sure you are filing at the correct location also.

3. Forgetting or omitting translation documents

Some offices have multilingual capabilities, but being thorough is the route here.

4. Forgetting to sign all forms

If you miss any signatures, this can delay or compromise your entire application. Having an attorney help you with these can save you money. Your attorney can also act as a notary if need be.

5. Missing deadlines

Follow the advice below to make sure you will receive any potential updates and are on top of your to-do’s.

6. Sending incorrect payment

The application is very long so you do not want to have to do it several times, and it is also expensive. Have an attorney assist you so you pay what you are supposed to the first time.

While Awaiting Your Application Decision

If you have successfully filed your Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status – you should know these tips to follow your status changes.

  • If you move or change address, you have 10 days to update this address with USCIS. Changing address with USPS or forwarding mail is NOT sufficient for this step. You cannot afford to miss out on crucial updates.
  • Visit to view average case processing times depending on your eligibility categories.
  • You can check your case status online, submit a status inquiry, or call the USCIS contact center for answers.
  • If you need to travel outside the U.S. while waiting for your status updates, please review and file Form I-131, Application for travel document, or contact your attorney for guidance.

With the list of necessary requirements for a properly filed application, you can see how crucial it can be to have someone well versed in the bureaucratic process on your side. There is nothing worse than saving up a big chunk of change to take a step like this, and being put on hold because you were not prepared. Let our 18+ years experience in immigration law work in your favor — contact us today to set up a consultation!