The Adjustment of Status for EB2 NIW

Good news: the Adjustment of Status (or I-485) is a much simpler process than the I-140 step. In the I-140 part, you must convince the USCIS officer that you qualify under the National Interest Waiver category (the infamous three Dhanasar prongs!). Now, you only need to submit a lot of documents to prove, among other things, that you have been in good standing with immigration during the entirety of your US journey. Note: This step is only relevant to petitioners already in the United States. If you are abroad, you should follow Consular Processing instead!

You can file for Adjustment of Status concurrently with your I-140 petition, or separately after the I-140 petition has been approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). We have discussed the pros and cons from each option in a separate blog post that you may want to review.

Below is a typical structure for the AOS package. Keep in mind that these are the general contents for most applicants, but your specific case depending on your immigration status may need additional documents. Check the USCIS official website for each form to understand the supporting evidence you need.

For example, for form I-485, go to the official USCIS website for this form and open the PDF “Instructions for form I-485”. Each form has a similar website where you can find the instructions.

Typical structure of Adjustment of Status package (main petitioner)

▷ Adjustment of Status cover letter

A brief letter addressed to the USCIS letting them know you are requesting the AOS and detailing what documentation you are enclosing.

▷ Filing fee for I-485 

As of 2024 this fee is $1,440. Check this other blog post to see the breakdown of the total costs for EB2 NIW green card.

▷ Filled out and signed Form I-485

▷ Documents related to I-485.

The USCIS website for I-485 describes the initial evidence needed when you mail in this form. Essentially, you need to attach:

  1. Two photos. Quoting USCIS “You must submit two recent identical color passport-style photographs of yourself. The photos must have a white to off-white background, be printed on thin paper with a glossy finish, and be unmounted and unretouched. The two recent identical color passport-style photos must be 2 by 2 inches. The photos must be in color with full face, frontal view on a white to off-white background. Head height should measure 1 to 1 3/8 inches from top of hair to bottom of chin, and eye height is between 1 1/8 to 1 3/8 inches from bottom of photo. Your head must be bare unless you are wearing headwear as required by a religious denomination of which you are a member. Using a pencil or felt pen, lightly print your name and A-Number (if any) on the back of the photo.”
  2. Some photo government ID, for example, your passport page
  3. Birth certificate with translation to English if in a foreign language (the translator must provide a translation oath and you can check my petition to see how I did it).
  4. The I-797 Approval Notice for the approved I-140 if you filed it separately
  5. Documentation proving you have never been out of status in the US. Essentially, submit copies of all your current and previous visa stamps and associated documents (I-797 for H visas, I-20 for F visas, DS-2019 for J visas…) and the I-94s for your entries in the US, and Travel history (get your I-94 and Travel History from the official CPB website)
  6. Documentation proving you intend to work on the same occupation specified in Form I-140. According to USCIS: “If you filed Form I-140 as a self-petitioner, you must intend to work in the occupational field specified in the Form I-140. You must provide a signed statement confirming this intent unless you are filing Form I-485 together with your Form I-140.” In my case I added this statement and I informed them I was still employed at the same company and provided the 3 most recent paychecks as proof. This was extra information I volunteered.
  7. Form I-693, Report of medical examination and vaccination record. Since April 2024 medical exams do not expire (as long as they were obtained after November 2023), so it makes sense to enclose the medical exams in a closed envelope in your petition.

▷ Filing fee for I-765 

Unlike in the past, if you want to get a temporary EAD card to work while your adjustment of status is being processed, you must pay a separate fee of $260. This change was implemented on April 1, 2024. This is optional, and you can file an adjustment of status without requesting this temporary benefit.

▷ Filled out and signed form I-765

Check the official USCIS website for this form here.

▷ Documents related to I-765:

  1. Copy of official photo ID, in my case passport page
  2. Two photos, the same way as the ones provided for I-485

▷ Filing fee for I-131

If you want to get a temporary Travel Document (or advanced parole), you must pay a separate fee of $630. This is optional, and you can file an adjustment of status without requesting this temporary benefit.

▷ Filled out and signed form I-131

▷ Documents related to I-131:

  1. Copy of official photo ID, in my case passport page
  2. Two photos, same way as the ones provided for I-485
  3. A copy of any document showing your current status in the United States. In my case, I provided a copy of the passport page with the current H visa. This was a bit redundant because all my immigration history was already attached as evidence for I-485 above. However, I never worry about erring on the side of the abundance of documentation.

Want a model I-485 package?

If you want to see a model Adjustment of Status (AOS) package for an EB-2 NIW petition, click the button below to go to our Downloads section

Filing for Adjustment of Status of dependents (derivate applicants)

Even though only one petitioner per family needs to submit and get approval for the I-140 application, the rest of the family members (or dependents) can adjust their status based on his or her approved I-140 petition. For example, if I was married when I applied for a green card, my hypothetical wife could then submit an adjustment of status and convert her immigration status to lawful resident under my I-140 approval.

So, the first comment here is that each dependent must submit a separate AOS package and include their own payment for the fees. This package is very similar to the main petitioner’s application, with little variations on how the forms are filled out and some extra documentation.

Changes to the main petitioner application

First of all, if you have dependents, you should inform about it on your own I-485 cover letter. Add a line indicating this on your letter.

Additionally, include the documentation that links you to your dependent in your own package. For example, include a marriage certificate (with translation if needed) if your wife is applying for Adjustment of Status. Or/and include a birth certificate (again, with translation to English if in foreign language) if you child needs to adjust status as well. The current necessary evidence can be checked in the official USCIS website for each form.

For example, for form I-485, go to the official USCIS website for this form and open the PDF “Instructions for form I-485”. Each form has a similar website where you can find the instructions.

These family relationships will also be specified in the form I-485 itself (currently in Part 5 and 6, although this is subject to change if a new version of the form is released) where you have to list your current and past marriages and children.

Changes to the derivate applicants’ packages

Then, each dependent will include this documentation in their application as well (marriage certificate or birth certificate) to make sure the family connection is well documented.

Moreover, the dependents will need to fill out certain portions of the forms differently. This is easy to understand just by reading the form itself. Take a look at the below example from form I-485:

Screenshot USCIS website I-485 derivative applicant

In the example above, form I-485 specifies that a dependent needs to provide information about the principal applicant, including name and A-number, date of birth, receipt number, and priority date.

My ultimate tip is to ALWAYS check the USCIS official website for each of the forms and read the Instructions PDF very carefully. Do not trust external websites as they may be outdated, just read the official instructions and check what additional documentation you need to include in your package!


Join my DIY course for EB2 NIW

My EB2 NIW online course include the adjustment of status and it has a specific module full of lectures walking you throughout this part of the process

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