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New Form I-485 Triples the Length of Current Form – Applicants for Permanent Residency Must Provide Greater Detail

27 Jun

On June 26, 2017, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (CIS) announced publication of a new Form I-485, which is the form used to apply for permanent resident status (“green card”) in the United States.  The new form is 18 pages and requires applicants to provide greater details regarding previous activities that could trigger a ground of inadmissibility to the United States.

New questions include inquiries into additional criminal grounds of inadmissibility as well as questions regarding prior maintenance of lawful nonimmigrant status and whether the applicant has ever worked without authorization.  Some questions require disclosure if the applicant has a family member that has engaged in certain criminal activity or if the applicant has benefited from such activity.

The new Form I-485 also requires additional detail regarding ethnicity, race, height, weight, hair color and eye color.  Similar detail was required in some prior versions of visa application forms, such as the old Form DS-156, but has not been required on any standard form in recent years.

While the new form requires far more detail than earlier versions of the Form I-485, and should enable a more thorough, “extreme vetting” of applicants pursuant to a recent mandate by the Trump Administration, the new form was originally proposed by CIS under the Obama Administration more than 2 years ago.

The new Form I-485, with revision date of 06/26/2017, is the required form for all adjustment applications filed on or after August 25, 2017.  The earlier Form I-485, with revision date 01/17/2017, may be used until that date.  Applicants who are eligible to file before August 25, 2017, and who wish to use the shorter, less burdensome application form, should work with their Foster immigration attorney to enable filing prior to the August 25th deadline.

Foster will continue to monitor changes in CIS forms and procedures and will provide updates as they become available via future Immigration Updates© and on Foster’s website at www.fosterglobal.com.