State Bar of Texas Advanced Immigration Law Conference 2018
Written by: Attorney Liset Lefebvre
The New, Not So New, Form I-485: Emerging and Existing Issues
The posture of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) has changed with the present administration and the time has now come for us to be more aggressive in our arguments and how we present cases to USCIS. As advocates, we must provide a thorough explanation, in our cover letters accompanying our application, how our client is eligible to adjust status, the ground(s) of inadmissibility, if any, and any applicable exception(s). Additionally, we cannot be potted plants during USCIS interviews, we must strongly advocate for our clients by discussing the legal argument at hand with the USCIS officer, applicable case law, and/or asking additional questions of our clients when necessary. In order to guarantee a successful outcome for your client, it is imperative to know each and every question on the new Form I-485 and keep up with new case law, policies and rules.
On June 26, 2017, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) released a new version of Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. Additionally, USCIS also revised the corresponding instructions, and Form I-485 Supplement A and Form I-485 Supplement J, for applicants qualifying for adjustment of status under Section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”), and for certain employment-based adjustment applicants, respectively. Beginning August 25, 2017, USCIS only accepts this new I-485 edition with version date of June 26, 2017.
The new I-485 seeks to assist USCIS officers in identifying inadmissibility and eligibility to adjust status more easily, which is evidenced by the increased number of questions in these categories. Specifically, the former version had approximately 18 questions that elicited about 31 responses, as compared to the new version that includes 91 questions. While USCIS refers to this increase of questions as “[a] comprehensive, updated list of admissibility-related questions….to ensure USCIS officers have the necessary information to better assess the applicant’s admissibility and eligibility,” the new questions on Form I-485 are confusing and filled with legalese that lay people and perhaps some preparers may not comprehend.
Lefebvre Law Firm, PLLC
Immigration & Nationality Law