The I-130 and I-485 one step deserves a checklist
The I-130/485 one step application deserves one because it is so complicated, and as far as affirmative immigration petitions and applications go, the I-130/485 one step is the most form-intensive application there is. Or at least it feels like it
(For those of you wondering what the one step is, the USCIS has a good explanation of concurrent application filing of the I-130 and I-485.)
Completing the forms is a small part of the task:
But just completing the I-130/I-485 form stack is a small part of the overall effort that goes into preparing a successful, thorough one-step application. Here at Bull City Lawyer, as on our Youtube Channel, Immi Great, we believe that there is a lot that lawyers can teach those DIYers out there who may not be able to afford (or bring themselves to trust) immigration lawyers.
If you’re wondering what kind of videos we have on our channel, check out this one:
As with all things, preparation is key, but so is a knowledge of the bureaucratic hurdles/requirements that can lead to rejected, returned, or denied applications. (See, as another example
The tactical aspect of form application is necessary for DIYers to learn:
So in this post, we are laying out for you the actual tactical aspects of form preparation. From screening yourself for eligibility and gathering the right information, to sending off a perfect application.
To help you, we’ve created a couple of infographics that you are free to download right off of our site. If you print these off and keep them with you, they will be good guides for going forth in this process on your own. See them below, or click on the following links to download:
I-130 and I-485 Preparation in 8 Steps:
Step 1: Determine your baseline eligibility
If you are petitioning someone, you are the petitioner. If you are being petitioned for, you are the beneficiary. A petitioner must be a U.S. Citizen. A beneficiary’s last entry must have been legal. If either of these is not true, you may have an issue,
Step 2: Screen Yourself for Red Flags
Before you start the application process the beneficiary and petitioner should screen themselves. Those who are not fluent in the English Language, as well as those with Divorces, Criminal records, and “Yes” answers on Part 8 of the I-485 form should ask for help from an attorney. Part 8 of the I-485, “General Eligibility and Inadmissibility Grounds”, which as of March 2019 comprises questions 1-80b, asks a series of screening questions.
You should print of this part of the form and have the beneficiary go through them, one by one. If the beneficiary does not speak English, and you can’t translate the questions correctly, either hire an interpreter or find someone that can translate for you. Lawyers worth their salt have an interpreter on site.
3. Decide on a Sponsor (and establish if the petitioner qualifies as one or not)
Does the petitioner have enough income or assets to sponsor the beneficiary or beneficiaries? Check the I-864P to find out. Calculate your household size, then find the income you need. If the answer is no, you need a joint sponsor, or other people (not the beneficiary) in your household to contribute income. The I-864P exists online on the USCIS website as a set of updated tables.
There used to be an actual printable form, but that has been phased out. The requirements for 2019 petitioners are below:
4. Gather All of Your Needed Info
There is a lot of information gathering to do before you start. The best way we know how to do it is by having our clients fill out an initial intake form. This tells us and the client what information is missing.
Once you know what information is missing you can set out to find it and gather it into one place. You can download a free intake form that we use for the one-step. A preview image is just below:
5. Fill out the Form Stack
To file properly, you will need to file the following together:
- Cover letter
- Check for $1760.00 or two (2) G-1450 forms (see step 7 below)
- I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
- I-130a, Spouse Petition Supplement (if the beneficiary is a spouse),
- I-485, Adjustment of Status Application
- I-765, Work Permit Application (optional)
- I-131, Advance Parole Application (optional)
- I-864/864A for the petitioner + I-864 for the joint sponsor (if any)
And remember to attach the necessary evidence, found in the instructions of each.
6. Determine Where You Need to Sent the I-130 and I-485 one step packet
Where you send the packet is based on where the Petitioner lives, Check the USCIS site for the correct address. These change often enough that we won’t materialize it in this graphic.
7. PAY THE CORRECT FEE, THE RIGHT WAY
You can either pay with one (1) check, in which case you pay 1760.00 for all forms.
Or, you can pay with two (2) checks, in which case you pay for the I-130 fee, $535.00, on the first check, and the combined I-485 fee and biometrics fees, $1225.00, on the second check.
Or you can pay with two (2) G-1450 Credit Card forms. One form should be for $535.00 and one
The proper formatting of each check is below. Note that if you are paying with two separate checks, the memo line should say “I-130” for the first check and “I-485” for the second check, in addition to having the petitioner’s and beneficiary’s names.
It is necessary for the check to have the name and address of the sender, as in the top left corner of the check below. And, critically, it should be paid to the order of “U.S. Department of Homeland Security”. This spelling should be exactly as pictured in the check below.
8. Send Via Courier
You can send by U.S. Mail or by courier. We never send by U.S. mail in our office, unless we only have an option to send to a P.O Box. FedEx is simply superior. It is faster, loses packages less often, and gives better tracking availability. Don’t skimp on this part of the process.
Beyond this, there is a lot more to know about the actual process. Immediately after sending the packet, however, we can tell you that you should receive a 797C receipt from the USCIS confirming they have accepted the application. If they have not, they will usually send it back in this step of the proceedings, and they will tell you why it was returned.
If you want a bit of a heads up on knowing if they have accepted the packet for processing, keep an eye on your bank account. If you see that the check has been cashed, that means your packet has been accepted.
There is more to talk about, and we will cover more things in future guides. If you found this helpful, please share!